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  • Home Knowledge Center What Dental Insurance Covers Orthodontics?

    What Dental Insurance Covers Orthodontics?

    Orthodontia helps straighten your teeth and align your bite. While these techniques are common, they can be very expensive. Not all types of dental insurance include coverage for orthodontic services, so it’s important that you read your dental plan materials carefully.

    Take a look at what is considered an orthodontic service and how orthodontic treatments may be covered by your dental plan.

    What are orthodontic services?

    Orthodontic services are used to straighten teeth and correct your bite. These treatments may be for either health- or cosmetic-related reasons. Orthodontists treat patients of all ages, though they frequently care for children and adolescents. Your child’s dentist may recommend that they see an orthodontist sooner rather than later to help correct teeth and alignment issues when their permanent teeth come in. Orthodontic care is frequently part of kids' oral health.

    Orthodontic services may include the following treatments:

    Traditional braces

    Standard metal braces are still the most popular type of braces. Patients can choose different colored elastic bands to make them more unique.

    Clear braces

    Patients might also choose braces that have clear brackets. These braces function in the same way as traditional braces but may appear less noticeable.

    Clear aligners

    Clear aligners (such as Invisalign®) are a clear set of custom-fitted trays that help straighten teeth. The trays fit closely to your teeth and are removable. Patients may choose clear aligners if they’re looking for an orthodontic treatment that’s less easy to see than traditional braces.


    Retainers are used in post-braces care to help keep teeth aligned. While the end result of braces is straighter teeth, retainers help teeth get settled into their new position.

    How do I know if I need Invisalign or braces?

    Are you happy with your smile? If you have an overbite, underbite, overlapping (or generally crowded) teeth, an orthodontist can come up with a treatment plan to help straighten your teeth. This plan may include braces, clear aligners such as Invisalign, or other types of dental appliances. Be sure to check your specific plan documents to see if Invisalign is covered.

    How do I choose the right dental insurance plan for orthodontic care?

    If you know you are in need of orthodontic services and treatments, or may need them in the future, here are steps to help you choose dental insurance.

    1. Confirm the dental insurance plan provides orthodontic coverage

    You can review the dental plan materials to learn about covered and non-covered services, such as braces and other orthodontic treatments. Full-coverage dental insurance plans, for instance, often include orthodontic insurance coverage.

    2. Review the dental plan’s network

    Most dental plans come with a network of dental providers and orthodontists. Make sure that if there’s a certain orthodontist you want to see that they participate in your plan’s network. You’ll save money when you stay in-network.

    3. Check the dental insurance plan for any coverage limits

    Your dental plan may have a maximum or exclusions on the amount you spend on orthodontic services. For example, you may only have a certain amount of money you can spend per year and be covered for orthodontics, or there may be a waiting period between dental treatments. Many plans also apply a lifetime maximum to orthodontic treatment, if this coverage is included with the dental insurance plan.

    4. Learn if you’re eligible for orthodontic services discounts

    If a dental plan doesn’t cover orthodontic services, you may still be eligible for discounts on these types of services. Discounts might require you to use an orthodontist in your plan’s network. Contact the dental plan or insurance provider for details.

    Need dental coverage?

    Cigna HealthcareSM offers a variety of affordable dental plans, from basic plans that cover preventive care to plans that help cover major dental care.
    Explore our dental plans

    How do I find a dental insurance that covers orthodontics?

    If you do not currently have a dental plan, you can get dental coverage in one of two ways:

    • Purchase through your employer - If you have an employer that offers dental you can choose a dental plan as part of your benefits.
    • Purchase your own dental plan - If you do not have employer coverage, you can buy one on your own through a health insurance carrier that sells individual and family dental insurance plans, or through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

    With any type of plan, be sure to review how your dental insurance works to check if orthodontic coverage is included. There are usually limits, and not every plan includes coverage for braces and other orthodontic services. For example, a plan may cover braces for children but not for adults.

    How can I save costs on orthodontic services and treatments?

    Orthodontic treatments can be very expensive. Here are a few ways to potentially reduce costs.

    First, make sure your orthodontic coverage is in place and you satisfy any waiting periods before treatment begins. Make sure you clearly understand the details of your dental plan so you don’t have to pay for unexpected costs.

    Knowing exactly what treatments you need will help you find dental insurance that covers braces. While many dental plans include coverage for braces, be aware of any additional costs that may be a part of your treatment. Once your orthodontic treatment begins, closely follow the terms of your plan so that you can take advantage of any discounts you’re qualified for under your dental insurance plan.


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