Benefits administrator blog from Delta Dental

Tag: orthodontics

5 common questions about adult orthodontics

Adult orthodontics has become a popular benefit enhancement in recent years. Adults are opting for orthodontic treatments at higher numbers than ever before, and the number seeking treatment is expected to grow in the next decade.

If your plan covers adult orthodontics, your employees will have different questions than they would if they were seeking treatment for their kids. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about adult orthodontics.

Why would an adult need braces?

Braces can help to treat problems that weren’t treated when employees were younger. An adult with an overbite or underbite, crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw may benefit from orthodontic treatment. Left untreated, these issues may contribute to serious conditions such as tooth decay, headaches and earaches, chewing issues and gum disease.

Are adult orthodontics more expensive than treatment for kids?

The cost of braces depends on your plan. A pre-treatment estimate can provide employees a good sense of how much the costs will be before treatment begins. All employees need to do is ask their orthodontist’s office to submit a pre-treatment estimate to Delta Dental.

Members can also use the Cost Estimator to get a sense of how much their orthodontic treatment will cost.

Can employees visit any orthodontist? How can they find an orthodontist?

Employees with a Delta Dental PPO™ plan can see any licensed orthodontist, and they’ll usually save the most when they choose a Delta Dental orthodontist. To find one, employees can use the online dentist directory to search for dentists in the Delta Dental PPO network and then filter their results to orthodontists.

Employees with a DeltaCare® USA plan must see their chosen DeltaCare USA dentist for care or get a referral to a specialist for their care to be covered by their plan. If they’ve already begun orthodontic treatment outside of the DeltaCare USA network and have been banded, most plans allow them to continue that treatment with the same coverage and copayments as their previous plan. If banding has not yet taken place, the employee must visit a DeltaCare USA orthodontist and pay the copayments listed in their DeltaCare USA plan booklet.

Is Invisalign a covered benefit?

Yes. If your plan includes adult orthodontic coverage, “invisible aligners” like Invisalign are covered as a standard benefit. For plans where alternative appliances aren’t covered, Delta Dental usually covers some of the costs of orthodontic treatment, which can help to reduce employees’ overall expenses.

What kind of orthodontic coverage is included in Delta Dental plans?

As with costs, coverage varies, but most Delta Dental plans include:

  • Pre-orthodontic treatment visit
  • Exam and start-up records
  • X‑rays
  • Orthodontist-recommended tooth extractions
  • Comprehensive orthodontic treatment
  • Post-treatment records

Plans usually cover one set of post-treatment retainers. For two-phase orthodontic treatment plans, retainers are usually covered after each phase.

Adult orthodontics aren’t commonplace yet, but they don’t have to be confusing! With these questions answered, your employees will be better able to decide if orthodontic treatment is right for them.

5 ways to build a dental benefits package that employees will love

In the midst of the Great Resignation, benefits are more important than ever for attracting and retaining employees. About 37% of employees would rather receive more substantial benefits than additional salaries or bonuses. To create a dental benefits package that stands out and gets your company amazing applicants, consider these five plan enhancements.

1. Lower your plan’s deductible for individuals and families

Lower deductibles are appealing to employees for a variety of reasons. They’re easier for employees to hit, meaning they’re more likely to have their plan pay for their dental treatments, and employees who frequently reach their deductibles are more likely to save. The same is true for family deductibles.

Delta Dental PPO™ plans generally do have deductibles or maximums, but they can be adjusted depending on the wants and needs of your organization. Another option is DeltaCare® USA plans, which are particularly appealing for this reason — they don’t have deductibles or maximums.

2. Add a D&P waiver

With Delta Dental’s D&P Maximum Waiver® feature, the costs of covered diagnostic and preventive services (D&P) don’t accrue against a plan’s yearly maximum. Covered services typically include regular exams, x‑rays and cleanings.

Employees can then spend their coverage dollars on other needed dental services. D&P waivers are effective immediately, renew automatically and don’t require extra work from the employee or group to track remaining dollar amounts.

For more information, check out this flyer (PDF) or contact us.

3. Provide orthodontic coverage for all ages

The number of adults seeing orthodontists is at an all-time high, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, and that means the pool of prospective orthodontic patients is wider than it’s ever been.

Without coverage, prospective orthodontic patients can expect to pay between $3,000 and 6,000 dollars depending on their age. Delta Dental plans can help cut these costs in half. Orthodontic coverage is available under all DeltaCare USA group plans and can be optionally included in any Delta Dental PPO plan. Instead of limiting orthodontic benefits to dependents under 19, consider offering orthodontic benefits to children and adults.

4. Add implant coverage

The majority of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth, and by age 74 more than a quarter of adults have lost all their permanent teeth.

One treatment for a lost tooth is an implant. Implants are an appealing option because they closely resemble real teeth, they’re permanent and comfortable, and they slow down the bone loss caused by losing a tooth. However, they can be expensive for patients without coverage. A single implant can cost up to $3,000 to $5,000.

Delta Dental offers several different options for implant coverage for groups. Implant coverage is available under Delta Dental PPO and some DeltaCare USA group plans.

5. Offer expanded coverage to employees with chronic conditions

Serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes and HIV/AIDS effect millions of Americans each year and people with these conditions are more likely to have oral health related problems as a result. With SmileWay® Wellness Benefits, you can add expanded coverage for your employees with chronic illnesses and make your plan more attractive.

If your company chooses to make this benefit available, your employees who have been diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis or stroke can receive 100% coverage for additional cleanings and gum treatment.

This optional benefit is only available for Delta Dental PPO plans, and your eligible employees must opt in to receive the additional coverage. These benefits can help keep your employees smiling and healthy, and healthy workers are a win-win for your company!


Having a competitive benefits package is key to recruiting and retaining valuable employees in a labor market that is replete with resignations. When you’re evaluating your benefits package, consider enhancing your company’s offerings. An appealing benefits package can be the edge you need to attract prospective employees.

Orthodontics are becoming a more important benefit for employees

Brace yourself — National Orthodontic Health Month is here! When it comes to choosing dental benefits to attract and maintain top-tier talent, orthodontic coverage is essential. Here’s a deeper dive into orthodontic coverage and the value it brings to you and your employees.

More people are interested in braces

Braces do more than give people a pretty smile. By ensuring proper alignment of the teeth, orthodontics can make it easier to bite, chew and speak. Misaligned teeth are also harder to clean and can wear in unusual ways. Minor untreated issues can lead to more serious problems further down the road, and that can mean increased utilization costs for your business. Far from being a luxury, orthodontic treatment can be essential to proper dental health.

When you imagine your average person with braces, you probably picture a teenager whose parents want them to have a beautiful smile. While most of the over 4 million people in the United States who are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment are teens, over 25% of current patients are adults, and these numbers are expected to grow. The number of adults seeing orthodontists is at an all-time high, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, and that means the pool of prospective ortho patients is wider than it’s ever been. Even childless adults may be interested in these benefits, such as the young professionals in the job market.

Employees expect to see dental insurance among their benefits, and orthodontic coverage can help your plans stand out from competitors. Fortunately, Delta Dental plans offer such coverage at affordable price points.

What kind of coverage does Delta Dental offer?

Without insurance, prospective orthodontic patients can expect to pay between $3,000 and 6,000 dollars depending on their age. Delta Dental plans can help cut these costs in half. That’s why Delta Dental’s been recognized as the best overall dental insurance for braces in 2021.

Orthodontic coverage is available under both Delta Dental PPO™ and DeltaCare® USA:

  • Delta Dental PPO plans vary by group and may include orthodontic coverage. You can choose to limit orthodontic coverage to children under 19 or cover orthodontics for both children and adults. Coverage is usually subject to a lifetime orthodontic maximum per person.
  • All DeltaCare USA plans cover orthodontics at set copayments, with no maximums or deductibles.

While specifics vary depending on your plan, coverage usually includes:

  • Pre-orthodontic treatment visits
  • Exam and start-up records
  • X‑rays
  • Orthodontist-recommended tooth extractions
  • Comprehensive orthodontic treatment
  • Post-treatment records
  • Orthodontic takeover for treatment that’s already in progress

Plans generally don’t cover the following:

  • Orthodontic treatment for children delivered in two phases
  • Appliances to correct harmful habits (like thumb-sucking)
  • Jaw surgery to facilitate orthodontic treatment
  • Treatment to prepare for other non-covered surgical procedures

Alternative appliances like Invisalign, mail-order appliances and teleorthodontistry generally aren’t, but Delta Dental usually still covers some of the orthodontic treatment costs, such as x‑rays and exams.

Want to help your employees understand their out-of-pocket costs? For PPO plans, encourage your employees to ask their orthodontist for a pre-treatment estimate. DeltaCare USA members can check their plan booklet for their copayments.

From children to adults, the interest in orthodontics is only growing, especially among adults. You won’t want to miss out on delivering benefits that employees love — and expect. Consider adding orthodontic coverage to your plan — or expanding the orthodontic coverage you currently offer.

With Delta Dental’s plans, your employees can find the orthodontic coverage they’re looking for at a price point they can afford, and that’s a great reason to smile.

Tackling orthodontics

With football season just around the corner, it seems fitting to tackle a popular, yet often misunderstood topic — orthodontics. If you’re offering your employees orthodontic coverage, make sure you’re up to speed on your dental benefits game.

If you don’t already offer orthodontic benefits, you might consider coverage at renewal, as it can be an attractive benefit if you’re trying to build or retain your workforce. A recent study shows that 88% of employees take “better health, dental and vision insurance” into consideration when choosing a job.

The Xs and Os

Generally, here’s what our plans cover*:

  • Pre-orthodontic treatment visit
  • Pre- and post-treatment records
  • Extractions for orthodontics
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Retention

The MVP

Our copay orthodontics game is strong! Compared to typical copay products (similar to DHMOs), DeltaCare® USA is leading the league, with features like:

  • A variety of treatment levels — interceptive orthodontics for children, limited orthodontics for children and adults, and comprehensive orthodontics for children and adults*
  • A unique orthodontic takeover provision that allows enrollees to continue active treatment with their current orthodontist — even if the provider is not in our DeltaCare USA network
  • Extractions for orthodontic treatment that could save enrollees hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket

If you currently offer orthodontic coverage, review the playbooks for Delta Dental PPOTM and DeltaCare USA plans and pass them on to your employees. For specifics, you can review your group contract and enrollees should log in to Online Services (or review their plan booklet) to confirm coverage.

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* Your benefits may differ from the general information provided here. Review your group contract for specific details regarding coverage under your plan.

Orthodontics: The original brackets

In the spirit of March Madness, let’s talk brackets. The dental kind! If you’re offering your employees orthodontic coverage, make sure you’re up to speed on your dental benefits game.

If you don’t already offer orthodontic benefits, you might consider coverage at renewal, as it can be an attractive benefit if you’re trying to build or retain your workforce. A recent study shows that 88% of employees take “better health, dental and vision insurance” into consideration when choosing a job.

The Xs and Os

Generally, here’s what our plans cover*:

  • Pre-orthodontic treatment visit
  • Pre- and post-treatment records
  • Extractions for orthodontics
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Retention

The MVP

Our copay orthodontics game is strong! Compared to typical DHMO-type products, DeltaCare® USA is leading the league, with features like:

  • A variety of treatment levels — interceptive orthodontics for children, limited orthodontics for children and adults, and comprehensive orthodontics for children and adults*
  • A unique orthodontic takeover provision that allows enrollees to continue active treatment with their current orthodontist — even if the provider is not in our DeltaCare USA network
  • Extractions for orthodontic treatment that could save enrollees hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket

If you currently offer orthodontic coverage, review the playbooks for Delta Dental PPOSM and DeltaCare USA plans and pass them on to your employees. For specifics, you can review your group contract and enrollees should log in to Online Services (or review their plan booklet) to confirm coverage.

 

* Your benefits may differ from the general information provided here. Review your group contract for specific details regarding coverage under your plan.

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