Your guide to adult braces

Your Guide to Adult Braces

October 9, 2019

From middle school to retirement, you want to feel confident about your smile at every stage of life. Thanks to adult braces, it’s never too late for the smile you always wanted. In fact, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in five orthodontic patients is an adult. But before taking the plunge, you need to know the facts, including the cost of adult braces, the different types of adult braces available, and how to find dental insurance that covers braces.

Here are some answers to common questions about adult braces, the costs versus the benefits, and the different types of insurance that cover braces.

The Cost of Adult Braces Versus the Benefits

Even if you sign up for dental insurance that covers braces, you will most likely have some out-of-pocket costs. I’ll break down those costs in a minute, but first it helps to understand the purpose and benefits of adult braces.

Although a set of straight, white teeth is an undeniable confidence boost, adult braces aren’t just for cosmetic reasons. Orthodontists also use adult braces to correct a misaligned bite, adjust your jaw position, or make space for crowded teeth. Left untreated, these issues potentially cause problems later in life. Crowded and crooked teeth are harder to clean, leading to tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. In some cases, an uneven bite interferes with eating and speaking and causes abnormal wear and tear on your teeth.

Given these potential problems, shouldering the cost of adult braces now may actually save you future dental work — and money — later in life. Your dentist or orthodontist can help you weigh the cost of adult braces with the benefits of treatment.

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How Much Do Adult Braces Cost?

Every smile is unique, and so is every orthodontic treatment plan. The cost of adult braces varies depending on the severity of the treatment, how long it takes to complete, and what area of the country you live in. It’s hard to know exactly how much your adult braces will cost without talking to an orthodontist. However, many dental benefits plans, including ours, make the cost of adult braces more affordable by offering some orthodontic coverage.

For example, let’s say your dental insurance covers part of the cost of adult braces. Let's also say that your orthodontic lifetime maximum is $2,000, and your specific plan covers orthodontia at 50%. This means that after your deductible is met, your insurance company potentially covers half the cost of your adult braces, up to the amount of $2,000. In this scenario, you would be responsible for paying the remainder of costs out of pocket.

From a different perspective, let’s say your orthodontist charges you $4,000 for your total orthodontic treatment and you have already satisfied your deductible. In this example, your plan would potentially pay $2,000 for your treatment, and you would potentially pay $2,000.

Note: The above information is only a high level example. If you're looking to find out the exact cost of adult braces, you should first check with your dental insurance provider to understand your plan's specific coverage for adult braces.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Braces?

Many dental benefits plans offer some orthodontic coverage for adults, although insurance coverage for braces depends on your specific plan.

If you have a Delta Dental benefits plan, it’s easy to find out if your dental insurance covers braces. Simply activate or sign into your MySmile® account and review your “Coverage Overview.”

You may also give us a call at 1-800-554-1907. If you have an adult braces cost estimate from your orthodontist, call us so we can calculate your out-of-pocket costs for braces.

Four Types of Adult Braces

If you opt for adult braces, your orthodontist helps you identify the best choice for your teeth. Together, you will likely weigh several factors including your lifestyle, the scale of your treatment needs, the relative cost for each type of adult braces, and whether your dental insurance covers braces. However, here are the four most common types of adult braces:

Metal braces

When we picture the traditional braces of our childhoods, most adults picture metal braces. Composed of brackets, wires and bands, adult metal braces move teeth through gradual adjustments to the wires. But metal braces have come a long way in the last few decades; they are smaller, sleeker and less intrusive, making them a reasonable option for adults.

Ceremic braces

Ceramic braces are like metal braces, except the brackets are clear, making them less noticeable than their metal counterparts.

Invisible Aligners

Invisible aligners are a popular option for adult braces, because they are clear in color and removable. Over the course of treatment, your orthodontist fits you for several sets of custom clear aligners that gradually shift your teeth. A word of caution: when considering the cost of adult braces, you might be tempted to choose a mail-order DIY invisible aligner. Before going this route, research the risk factors and consult your dentist.

Lingual braces

Lingual braces are placed on the back of the teeth, offering a more discreet look. Lingual braces usually come with the highest cost of all adult braces options.

Find an Orthodontist for Your Adult Braces

If you have Delta Dental insurance that covers braces, search for an in-network orthodontist near you by signing into your MySmile® account.

Shopping for dental coverage? We offer 5 individual plans designed to meet any smile's needs or budget.

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Last Update: October 9, 2019