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It’s no secret that orthodontic treatment is expensive. A quick Google search for the average cost of Invisalign or braces will have most people looking for financial help. For some, that help comes in the form of insurance. But every insurance provider and every plan is different. Some include orthodontic benefits while others do not. Understanding the details of your specific plan will help you know how much you may have to pay.
Dental Insurance Plans For Braces
If you have Delta Dental, there’s a chance you’ll get coverage for clear aligners or braces, but it depends on your plan and treatment. Before you dive in, read this guide to learn more about the Delta coating and how to use it.
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What are those amazing orthodontic prices we mentioned? These can vary greatly depending on the severity of your condition, your dentist or orthodontist’s rates, and the type of treatment you choose.
On average, your Invisalign treatment will cost anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000. This is quite a wide range, but only because the price depends on several influencing factors. The severity of your condition, the length of treatment, the dentist’s experience, and even where you live can affect your final price. Read our guide to the true cost of Invisalign to learn more.
Although Invisalign pioneered the treatment of clear aligners, they are no longer the only manufacturer. ClearCorrect entered the scene in 2006 and has been a worthy competitor ever since. They charge less in lab fees than Invisalign, so their prices can be a bit lower, often in the $3,000-$5,000 range (although as high as $8,000 is possible). Then there’s SureSmile, which offers an affordable, customizable alternative that typically costs $2,000 to $6,000, and 3M Clarity, which makes some of the most powerful aligners that often cost $3,000 to $8,000.
While Invisalign needs to be inserted in a dentist or orthodontist’s office, at-home aligners allow you to complete the treatment in (you guessed it) at home. A remote dentist will design your treatment and you will receive all your aligners in the mail, then follow your treatment plan to gradually move your teeth.
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The attractiveness of homemade clear aligners is largely due to their affordability. They are often thousands less expensive than in-office clear aligner treatments, averaging around $1,200 to $2,500. Unlike in-office options, home aligners have a fixed rate. The only difference is which company you choose. For example, SmileDirectClub is always $2,050 and AlignerCo is always $1,145.
Our top provider is Byte, which costs $1,999 for standard treatment and $2,399 for Byte At-Night. They don’t have the lowest price on the market, but their treatment plans last only four months on average, and they offer a lifetime guarantee on your smile. In addition, Byte will guide you through the entire insurance process, from initial coverage checks to claims and everything else you may need, making it a lot easier. Check out our guide to insurance coverage with Byte to find out more.
The most time-tested orthodontic treatment can also be one of the most expensive. Traditional braces typically cost between $4,000 and $6,000, although that price depends on several factors (see our guide to the true cost of braces). As with Invisalign, the exact amount depends on the severity of your condition, your orthodontist’s rates, and where you live.
It also depends on the type of braces chosen. You have several options: traditional braces, lingual braces (which sit behind the teeth), and clear/ceramic braces. Special braces (lingual, transparent) often cost more than traditional braces. Lingual braces, for example, can cost up to $10,000.
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Most plans cover 100% of your preventative procedures, such as cleanings. They may also fully cover major procedures such as fillings, gum disease and root canal treatments, or they may cover a higher percentage of the price. Major procedures like crowns and bridges are usually covered at a lower rate, sometimes around 50%. Plans rarely cover cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening, veneers, and shaping. Of course, the percentages for each category depend on your specific plan.
Notably, some providers consider clear aligners and braces to be cosmetic forms of treatment, while others classify them as major procedures. Some plans will include orthodontic benefits that can help cover the cost of braces, aligners or other procedures, while others will not.
Different providers and plans cover different procedures, so you shouldn’t assume you’ll get coverage for your treatment just because you have orthodontic benefits. In addition, sometimes such coverage has an age limit, an annual limit or a lifetime limit.
Orthodontic coverage isn’t something you have to buy separately—it’s just included with certain Delta Dental plans. There are two ways to enroll in an eligible Delta Dental plan: through your employer or by purchasing an individual plan.
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The most common way to get dental insurance in the US is through your employer or your spouse’s. This option has several advantages, the biggest of which is that the cost of your premiums is deducted directly from your paycheck, preventing this income from being taxed. In many cases, employers will also help pay the cost, reducing your expenses.
Employer-sponsored dental plans also have disadvantages. Top of the list? You are limited by the plans your company offers. If their plans don’t cover orthodontics or have other unfavorable terms, you either shop around or take the deal.
Another problem with employer-sponsored dental plans is the open enrollment period. This means that you need to wait for a certain time of year to take out the policy. Finally, your employer may not offer dental insurance at all.
If you don’t have an employer-sponsored dental plan option, or the ones offered don’t meet your needs, you can get an individual plan. Delta Dental offers individual plans in most states, but before you commit, compare their rates and terms with those of other insurance companies.
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We’ve partnered with DentalInsurance.com to make this process as easy as possible. Click the button below and enter your zip code for a curated list of dental plans available in your area.
If you have any questions or need help finding the perfect plan (such as one that deals with braces/aligners), you can call the support line and get help from their knowledgeable and friendly staff.
Some Delta plans cover Invisalign treatment, but others do not. Delta PPO and Premier plans may cover a portion of the cost or provide an allowance for treatment. The amount they cover depends on the tariff plan, but for children and adults it can be around 50%. You will likely need to see a dentist or orthodontist in the Delta network to get coverage.
Because ClearCorrect, SureSmile and 3M Clarity Aligners are similar to Invisalign, they may also qualify for partial coverage depending on your plan. Six Month Smiles usually treats milder cases, so it is more often seen as a cosmetic procedure, but not always! You will have to contact the company and your dentist to find out.
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The scope of braces is a little wider. Many plans—DeltaCare USA or Delta PPO—will provide some coverage for braces. Some plans offer more coverage for children than for adults, while others have a lifetime limit, although these vary by plan. So, you’ll need to check your plan details to see how much you’ll have to pay out of pocket.
Lingual braces and clear braces belong to the same group because they are used to treat the same conditions. However, Six Month Smiles usually treats milder, cosmetic cases, so these may not be covered. Contact Delta to find out.
Keep in mind that you must be treated by a dentist or orthodontist in the Delta network to receive the full amount of coverage.
Delta Dental said their plans will not cover at-home clear aligners. If you have a Delta plan, you shouldn’t expect help paying for home care.
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In fact, SmileDirectClub went to court over this issue, suing Delta Dental Plans Association, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, and Delta Dental of California for refusing to cover home aligners even though they cover other teledentistry practices.
Delta calls at-home aligners a “do-it-yourself treatment,” but that’s not entirely accurate. Popular aligner providers, including Byte and SmileDirectClub, assign a state-licensed dentist or orthodontist to develop treatment plans and follow-up on a case-by-case basis. On the other hand, do-it-yourself orthodontics is a concern when people use household items like rubber bands or custom-designed 3D aligners to move teeth without the help of a dentist, and this can cause serious damage.
However, Delta Dental is currently standing firm on this issue, so you won’t get in-home coverage on one of their plans until they change their policy.
For in-office treatments like braces and Invisalign at your dentist or orthodontist’s office