June 12, 2012 in Features, Health

Downside of braces? Obviously, the cost

By The Spokesman-Review
 

No matter the route of treatment, braces are never cheap – which is why many adults missed out as kids.

Depending on the type of hardware, who’s installing it and the complexity of the case, a full set of braces typically costs anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 in Spokane.

Braces are never completely covered by dental insurance. But for more adults, they’re at least partially paid for.

“I would say probably around 60 percent have orthodontic benefits, and anymore that includes the adults,” said Bob Varner, secretary-treasurer of the American Association of Orthodontists. “Adults used to be excluded,” the benefit reserved for children and adolescents.

Ron Inge, dental director for Delta Dental/ Washington Dental Service, said the extension of coverage to adults happened industrywide over the past decade or so.

It’s partly a result of better understanding of the connections between oral health and overall health, he said: Patients with healthier mouths are healthier in general.

Depending on the patient’s employer, Delta Dental typically covers $1,000 to $2,000 of the cost of braces for adults, Inge said.

It still leaves a lot to pay out of pocket. But at least it’s something, noted Sue Pinkerton, a treatment coordinator at Combs Orthodontics in Spokane.

“We’re always so thrilled for the adults that have the insurance coverage,” she said.


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