Straight teeth and beautiful smiles aren’t just cosmetic. More and more, meaningful dental health and upkeep are becoming understood as an integral part of a complete health regimen—for children and adults alike. Orthodontia, however, can be quite pricey, and finding dental insurance that covers braces for adults can be a challenge.

The run-down on dental insurance

Most major health insurance companies have limited orthodontic coverage under some of their plans, but many of their policies do not cover any orthodontic treatments at all. For those under 18, dental insurance is considered an essential health service and is covered by most plans, but insurance companies are not obligated to provide dental insurance to adults. Currently, providers fulfill their obligation to minors by offering an option to purchase dental insurance which meets Affordable Care Act (ACA) criteria, but whether you purchase it is up to you. This remains in place presently, even amid confusion and upheaval with regard to the ACA. Still, some of these plans cover the full cost of topical fluoride, sealants, and preventive care, but the patient’s parents remain partly responsible for fillings.

Brace yourself: the limits of orthodontic coverage

For children, dental insurance that covers braces may be required in certain states, but this is often dependent on the specifics of the situation. For example, braces are more likely to be covered if they’re needed to help a child chew properly rather than simply to improve their appearance. While some dental insurance plans cover orthodontics for adults, coverage typically fails to extend to cases where treatment is sought after for purely cosmetic reasons. For this reason, some choose to opt for a plastic alternative to metal braces known as Invisalign. While this tends to be slightly more expensive, some dental insurance policies will cover a portion of the cost.

Finding the right plan

If you discover that your current policy doesn’t cover orthodontics, it’s probably time to supplement it with a more inclusive plan. Certain Medicare Advantage plans that cover dental may be purchased as an alternative to Original Medicare, but it’s important to do your research first. Discount plans or dental savings plans, while not considered dental insurance, allow you to access dental services (including adult orthodontia and cosmetic procedures) from network dentists at significantly lower prices. Unsurprisingly, these programs are becoming more popular. A discount plan may be a good choice if you already have dental insurance but no orthodontic coverage, or if you have reached your plan’s maximum annual or lifetime payout.

To learn more about the best route to coverage for all your dental and orthodontic needs, call a licensed agent at 855-881-0430. We’re happy to help!