Does Dental Insurance Cover Orthodontics? #1

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Are you confused about how Dental Insurance & Orthodontics work?

Are you still asking if dental insurance covers orthodontics? Studies show that 58% of dental insurance plans in the US offer some level of orthodontic coverage to correct your misaligned tooth.

We are here to offer expert guides on your specific plan, cost-saving tips, and age variations towards coverage and equip you with the knowledge to pursue your perfect smile confidently.

Let’s get started!

Does Dental Insurance Cover Orthodontics?

Dental insurance plans provide full coverage for certain orthodontic treatments for individuals under the age of 18. It is available but less common for adults as it is seen as a cosmetic rather than a restorative need. However, coverage still depends on your specific insurance plans, treatment type, coverage limitations, dentist recommendations, or individual circumstances that need to be navigated carefully.

We have explained everything in a very simple way in this article, so can you understand and make an informed decision regarding your dental health.

How Often Do You Think Does Dental Insurance Cover X-rays?

Understanding How Dental Insurance Offers Coverage According to the Type of Orthodontics Treatment

While many dental insurance plans do offer some form of orthodontic coverage, it is crucial to understand the nuances. Check your specific plan details to uncover what treatment types and limitations exist.

Here’s a breakdown of the types of Braces dental insurance covers under orthodontics:

  • Metal Braces:

Metal Braces are steel brackets and wires that are attached to your tooth with a rubber band. They are often the most fully insurance-covered option. They are effective and affordable which leads to you finding substantial coverage in basic plans.

  • Ceramic Braces:

If discretion is your priority, ceramic braces blend in seamlessly with your teeth. However, their higher cost might mean your plan covers a smaller portion compared to metal braces.

  • Invisalign:

The transparent trays of Invisalign offer an almost invisible alternative. While gaining popularity, Invisalign coverage can vary significantly across plans. Be prepared for limited or even no coverage in some cases.

You may love to know whether dental insurance covers Sealant…

How Does Age Considerations Affect Dental Insurance Coverage For Orthodontics?

Age plays a significant role in navigating orthodontic coverage, so let’s go into how your years might impact your insurance benefit:

#1. Childhood/Teenage Focus:

The good news is that many dental insurance plans, prioritize orthodontic coverage for children and teenagers. This makes sense, as early intervention can prevent future dental problems and promote proper jaw development.

Orthodontics Coverage for children/teens often includes:

  • Traditional metal braces: Metal braces use stainless steel bands, brackets, and wires to gently shift your teeth over time. It is covered partially or fully.
  • Ceramic braces: It is more discreet than metal, but coverage might be limited compared to traditional options.
  • Early intervention treatments: Appliances that guide jaw growth for younger children may be fully covered.

#2. Limited Options for Adults:

Adulthood can be trickier when it comes to orthodontic coverage. Finding plans that cover adult braces often requires more searching and careful consideration. Here’s what you might encounter:

  • Limited coverage: Some plans cover a portion of adult orthodontics, often with a significantly lower maximum benefit compared to child coverage.
  • Exclusions: Certain plans might completely exclude adult orthodontics, considering it cosmetic rather than medically necessary.
  • Specific treatment restrictions: Coverage might be limited to specific treatments like Invisalign or less visible options like lingual braces.

Read Also: Does Dental Insurance Cover Gum Grafts?

Key Factors Influencing Your Dental Insurance Coverage For Orthodontics

We have seen that dental insurance offers orthodontics coverage for dependent children and coverage can also be influenced by other factors.

Below are the factors that affect dental insurance coverage for Orthodontics:

  • Plan type
  • Age
  • Treatment types
  • Location and provider network
  • Individual needs and dentist recommendations

#1. Plan Type:

  • PPO (Preferred Provider Organization):

These plans usually offer you the most flexibility in choosing an orthodontist, but coverage amounts for orthodontics can vary significantly.

  • HMO (Health Maintenance Organization):

 HMO plans typically involve a smaller network of orthodontists and may require referrals from your dentist. However, they often have a set of coverage amounts for orthodontics.

#2. Age:

  • Children:

Many dental insurance plans offer more comprehensive coverage for orthodontic treatment for children and teens. This is because it is often considered medically necessary to address jaw development issues and prevent future problems. This age restriction is also the same in family plans.

  • Adults:

Adult orthodontic coverage might be less generous or even excluded altogether. Some plans view adult orthodontics as primarily cosmetic, leading to potentially limited coverage. Only 32% of plans fully cover adult orthodontics.

However, there are still options like flexible payment plans and financing arrangements to help you achieve your smile goals.

#3. Treatment Type:

  • Braces:

Braces like traditional metal or clear ceramic braces are often covered at a higher percentage than any other option, though some plans might only cover specific types. 

  • Invisalign:

These clear aligners may be covered at a different percentage than traditional braces, or even excluded entirely depending on the plan and its focus on traditional vs. innovative treatments. Be sure to check your plan details for the specifics.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Orthodontics? - Type
Dental insurance plans provide full coverage for certain orthodontic treatments for individuals under the age of 18.

#4. Location and Provider Network:

  • Location:

Coverage can vary depending on your geographic location. Some regions might have a higher concentration of in-network orthodontists who offer better coverage options.

  • Provider Network:

Staying within your plan’s network of orthodontists usually maximizes your coverage. Out-of-network providers might be covered at a lower rate or not covered at all.

#5. Individual Needs and Dentist Recommendations:

  • Treatment Complexity:

Simple orthodontic cases might be fully covered by your plan, while more complex cases involving jaw surgery or other procedures might have limited or no coverage.

  • Dentist Recommendations:

Ultimately, your dentist’s assessment of your individual needs and recommended treatment plan will play a crucial role in determining what your insurance will cover. Be sure to have an open and honest conversation with your dentist about your financial concerns.

What Can You Do As An Adult Seeking Orthodontic Treatment?

Here is what you can do as an adult seeking orthodontic treatment:

  • Shop around
  • Negotiate with your dentist
  • Explore financing options

1. Shop Around:

You can compare plans offered by different employers or individual providers. Look for ones with adult orthodontic coverage or higher lifetime maximum benefits.

2. Negotiate with your dentist:

Some dentists offer reduced rates for cash payments, potentially making self-pay more affordable than relying on limited insurance coverage.

3. Explore financing options:

Consider dental financing plans or loans to spread out the cost of treatment.

Dental Insurance Coverage Amounts and Limitations For Orthodontic Treatment

The following coverage amounts and limitations for orthodontics treatments:

1. Orthodontics Coverage Percentages:

Most dental insurance plans offer partial coverage, typically ranging from 50% to 80% of the total cost of orthodontic treatment. You shouldn’t expect your insurance to fully fund your orthodontic treatment. This means you will be responsible for the remaining percentage out of your pocket.

2. Annual and lifetime maximums:

Many plans have annual maximums, which limit the amount they will contribute towards orthodontic services within a year. Some even have lifetime maximums, imposing a total cap on orthodontic benefits throughout your entire insured life.

3. Treatment duration:

The duration of your treatment significantly impacts your out-of-pocket costs. Plans might cap their coverage based on a predetermined treatment length, meaning you could face additional expenses if your treatment takes longer than anticipated.

Common Exclusions To Orthodontics Coverage

Not everything falls under the orthodontic coverage in your dental insurance plan.

Here are some common exclusions you should be aware of:

  • Retainers:

While braces or Invisalign straighten your teeth, retainers maintain their new positions. Unfortunately, retainers often fall outside the scope of orthodontics coverage, leaving you solely responsible for their cost.

  • Cosmetic procedures:

If your orthodontist recommends procedures solely for aesthetic reasons, like tooth reshaping or gum contouring, your insurance likely won’t cover them. These are categorized as cosmetic procedures and they fall outside the realm of medically necessary orthodontic treatment.

  • Pre-existing conditions:

Pre-existing dental issues that necessitate orthodontic treatment might not be covered. Insurance companies can argue that these conditions are not directly related to the plan’s inception and therefore they aren’t eligible for coverage.

How to Maximize Your Orthodontic Coverage

Here are very helpful expert tips to help you maximize your orthodontics dental insurance coverage:

1. Review Your Plan Details:

Every dental insurance plan is unique. Cracking the code starts with a thorough examination of your policy documents. Look for:

  • Orthodontic coverage: Does your plan include it at all? Some plans solely focus on preventive and basic care.
  • Benefit type: Are there dollar limits or percentage-based coverage? For instance, a plan might cover 50% of eligible expenses up to a set amount.
  • Age restrictions: Some plans offer orthodontic coverage only for children and teenagers, while others extend it to adults.
  • Treatment limitations: Are there specific types of braces (metal, ceramic, Invisalign) covered? Do retainers fall under the coverage umbrella?

2. Consult Your Dentist:

Your dentist is your orthodontic partner. Schedule a consultation session to discuss your individual needs and treatment options. They can help you:

  • Evaluate your teeth and determine the severity of your misalignment.
  • Recommend the most appropriate treatment plan based on your specific case and budget.
  • Estimate treatment costs and break down how your insurance might play a role.

3. Compare Plans Before Enrolling:

If you are switching insurance providers or enrolling for the first time, prioritize orthodontic coverage, especially if you’re considering braces in the future.

When comparing plans, keep in mind:

  • Orthodontic coverage details: Compare the extent of coverage (percentage, dollar limits) and age restrictions.
  • Premiums: Evaluate the overall cost of the plan versus the potential savings on future orthodontic treatment.
  • Network restrictions: Some plans limit coverage to in-network orthodontists. Consider your preferred provider’s network affiliation.

The Importance of Orthodontics in Dental Care

Beyond the undeniable confidence boost that comes with a smile, straight teeth, and other orthodontic treatments, it offers numerous benefits for your oral health:

1. Improved bite and chewing:

Misaligned teeth can make chewing difficult and uncomfortable, potentially leading to jaw pain and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues. Orthodontics can correct these problems, making chewing effortless.

2. Enhanced gum health:

Crooked teeth create crevices where food and bacteria can easily accumulate, increasing the risk of gum disease. Straight teeth offer smoother surfaces, making them easier to clean and reducing gum inflammation.

3. Speech clarity:

Certain misalignments can affect speech pronunciation. Orthodontic treatment can improve speech clarity and confidence.

4. Prevention of future dental problems:

Severely misaligned teeth can wear down unevenly, leading to premature tooth decay and even tooth loss. Correcting the alignment can prevent these issues and preserve your oral health for life.

One major dental insurance companies that offers coverage for orthodontics treatments is Cigna

Frequently Asked Questions

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h3″ question-0=”Does dental insurance cover orthodontics?” answer-0=”Absolutely, Yes! Dental insurance covers orthodontics for individuals under the age of 18 and this coverage can range from 50% to 80%. Also note that other factors determine dental insurance coverage for orthodontics which include your specific plan, treatment type, location, and individual needs or dentist recommendations” image-0=”” headline-1=”h3″ question-1=”How much does my insurance cover for braces?” answer-1=”Coverage amounts vary across different plans. Some might offer a fixed dollar amount, while others cover a percentage of eligible expenses. You will likely find details like coverage limits and percentages in your policy documents. For children, dental insurance can cover 50%-80% of your orthodontics cost. Remember, and specific treatment types like Invisalign or retainers might have separate coverage conditions.” image-1=”” headline-2=”h3″ question-2=”Does my age affect my orthodontic coverage?” answer-2=”Yes, age can be a factor. Many plans offer orthodontic coverage only for children and teenagers, while others extend it to adults as well. Check your policy for age restrictions or inquire with your insurance provider for clarity.” image-2=”” headline-3=”h3″ question-3=”What if I need a specific type of braces, like Invisalign?” answer-3=”Not all plans cover all types of braces. While traditional metal braces are often covered, some plans might have limitations for ceramic braces, Invisalign, or lingual braces. Read your policy details carefully or ask your dentist and insurance provider about specific coverage for your preferred treatment option.” image-3=”” headline-4=”h3″ question-4=”Should I choose a dental plan based on its orthodontic coverage?” answer-4=”Orthodontic coverage can be a valuable factor, especially if you’re considering braces in the future. However, weighing other aspects like premiums, network restrictions, and overall coverage for preventive and basic care is crucial. Compare different plans and prioritize based on your individual needs and budget.” image-4=”” count=”5″ html=”true” css_class=””]

Important Recommendation


Dental insurance for orthodontics can be tricky, especially for adults, understanding age considerations and available options can empower you to chart a course towards a more confident smile.

Don’t hesitate to research, compare, and seek professional advice your dream smile might be closer than you think!

Thank you for the read, we hope to see you soon!

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