Many companies that offer benefits offer a dental plan as well. These dental plans are often very minimal and only cover very specific procedures. Most commonly cover routine checkups, cleanings, and fillings. But what about orthodontics?
Orthodontics, sadly, are usually thought of by insurance providers as purely aesthetic, thus not in the realm of health and treatment. The truth is, of course, often quite the opposite. Orthodontics can be both preventative, as straight teeth are easier to clean thus future caries are minimized, as well as functional, as correcting bite alignment can prevent or cure TMJ syndrome, which left untreated can cause whole-body problems such as poor posture, headaches, neck pain, and balance issues. Even those who opt for braces for purely aesthetic reasons undoubtedly still receive the positive health benefits of well-aligned teeth and a healthier bite.
But wait, what about children?
Oddly, the NHS covers orthodontic treatment up to the age of 18 when a dentist feels the treatment would be functional or preventative. Why the exact same condition is classified as functional at 18 but aesthetic at 19 remains something of a mystery.
For adult treatment, adding additional insurance for the year or two the orthodontic treatment takes might not be cost effective. Fortunately, many orthodontic offices offer monthly payment plans to try and make up for the lack of general insurance coverage in this area.
For those who have children, however, adding additional coverage to your existing plan might make financial sense. Though the NHS does cover some treatments, their website points out that the waiting list is really rather long, and currently a wide variety of plans are on the market at very competitive prices. For some, additional family dental insurance may be worth the extra investment.
Thinking towards tomorrow
If your reasons for orthodontic treatment are functional or preventative, consider talking to your insurance representative or corporate benefits office. Every voice can help draw attention to the non-aesthetic properties of treatment which, in an ideal world, might eventually result in a change of attitude towards procedures that without question improve overall health whether you’re 18 or 81.