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What Is Orthodontic Insurance?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 17, 2024
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Orthodontic insurance is a special type of dental insurance that covers orthodontist procedures such as getting braces. This type of insurance is either offered as a package with dental insurance that covers other common dental procedures or separately as a plan that exclusively offers insurance for orthodontic costs. The primary reason for getting orthodontic insurance is that the price of braces is very high, and that can be multiplied in a family with several children. Like other types of medical and dental insurance, orthodontic protection will pay a portion of all fees in return for a monthly or yearly premium.

There are two types of orthodontic protection: a dental insurance package and orthodontic insurance by itself. Finding an exclusive orthodontic plan is typically more difficult, because insurance companies want to make money. If someone gets this type of protection, it is usually because orthodontic care is needed and the person thinks the insurance can help him save money. He will likely cancel the plan after the orthodontic procedure is paid for.

More often, orthodontic protection is coupled with a full dental insurance package. This offers more value to the insurance seeker and lessens the chance of him canceling the insurance as soon as the procedure is finished. With this type of insurance, most common orthodontic practices — especially braces — are covered by insurance. Depending on the package, other procedures also may be covered.

The cost of braces is very high, which is why people seek out orthodontic insurance. Compared to other dental procedures, braces can cost at least 10 times what most people spend on annual dental costs. In families where many children need braces, the orthodontic costs can become overwhelming. This also leads to families refusing to see an orthodontist, which can lead to further dental problems later in life. Those with insurance are more likely to see an orthodontist and get their teeth and bite corrected.

Much like any other type of insurance, orthodontic insurance may cover all or part of the orthodontic costs. The average insurance covers up to 50 percent of the overall cost. Most insurance companies place a threshold on the annual amount of orthodontic care that will be covered, and this threshold should be kept in mind to maximize the insurance’s effectiveness.

Monthly or yearly premiums must be paid for the orthodontic insurance to remain active. The premium is often linked to the amount of protection, along with risk factors such as a high number of children that may need braces. These risks may be assessed by asking to see the family’s dental history or by requesting that an orthodontist look at the family’s teeth. The more protection offered by the insurance company, the higher the premium is likely to be.

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