If you have undergone orthodontic treatment with braces, or if you are preparing to have your child fitted with braces, you know how expensive it can be. Costs of braces vary widely depending on the type of braces selected and the experience of the orthodontist. If your dental insurance covers the cost of braces, consider yourself lucky. If your basic dental plan does not cover braces, there is hope: you can purchase additional insurance to help cover the cost of braces and other orthodontic treatments.
If your current dental insurance does not cover the cost of orthodontics, you can purchase supplementary orthodontic treatment insurance. In many cases, you can purchase this through your dental insurance provider. Dental insurance for orthodontic care works like regular health or dental insurance: you must pay a monthly or annual premium. In return, the insurance carrier will cover the cost of a certain amount of orthodontic care. In some cases, the dental insurance company will pay for up to one-half of orthodontic treatment.
Many patients wonder why they need to pay for orthodontic insurance on top of regular dental insurance, or why regular dental insurance does not cover the cost of orthodontic treatment. The reason for this is simple: orthodontic treatment is very expensive, far more so than basic dental care. Also, many insurance companies view orthodontia as "elective" or non-necessary care, which is why orthodontic treatment is rarely covered by basic dental insurance. A recent study shows that the average person spends roughly $200 a year on dental care, while one year of orthodontics can easily cost thousands of dollars. Orthodontists are more specialized than general dentists, so a visit with them costs more. Furthermore, the equipment involved in orthodontics, such as braces and retainers, needs to be custom-made in many cases, which drives up the cost.
If you are interested in orthodontics, the first thing you need to do is to find out whether your dental insurance covers it and what your maximum benefits are per year. If you don't have orthodontic coverage, ask your orthodontist's office staff which plans they honor before researching supplementary insurance.
Braces are expensive, but the resulting beautiful smile that comes with them is often well worth it. Work with your orthodontist to develop a smile makeover plan that will meet your personal and financial needs.