Does Medical Take Care of Braces? Explained

Have you ever been told by your dentist that you or your child needs braces? If so, you may be wondering whether medical insurance will cover the cost of treatment. With the average cost of braces ranging from $3,000 to $7,000, it’s no wonder why many patients are concerned about the financial burden that comes with this orthodontic treatment. So, does medical take care of braces? Let’s explore.

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, there are two types of insurance that may be involved: dental and medical. In general, dental insurance is more likely to cover the cost of braces, while medical insurance may only cover it under certain circumstances. The specifics of coverage will depend on your insurance provider and policy, but it’s always a good idea to check with your insurance provider before beginning any orthodontic treatment.

While medical insurance may not always cover the cost of braces, it’s important to understand that orthodontic treatment can have a significant impact on your overall health. Correcting tooth and jaw alignment can improve your ability to speak, chew, and even breathe. Additionally, straighter teeth are easier to clean and maintain, reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. So, while the financial cost of braces may be a concern, the long-term health benefits should not be overlooked.

Types of Braces

Braces are orthodontic appliances that help in correcting the position of teeth and jaws. There are various types of braces available, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

  • Metal Braces: These are the most common type of braces and are made of high-grade stainless steel. They are affordable and effective in correcting even the most complex dental issues. However, they are the most noticeable type of braces.
  • Ceramic Braces: These are similar to metal braces, but the brackets are made of clear or tooth-colored ceramic material, making them less noticeable. They are more expensive than traditional metal braces.
  • Lingual Braces: These are similar to metal braces, but the brackets and wires are placed on the back of the teeth, making them virtually invisible. They are very effective but require more maintenance and can be uncomfortable initially.
  • Invisalign: These are clear plastic aligners that are custom-made for each patient. They are removable, making it easier to maintain good oral hygiene and eat comfortably. However, they are more expensive and may not be suitable for complex dental issues.

Choosing the right type of braces depends on various factors, including the patient’s dental issues, budget, and preferences. An orthodontist can evaluate the patient’s dental condition and recommend the most suitable type of braces.

The Process of Getting Braces

Braces are a common orthodontic treatment used to align and straighten teeth. The process of getting braces typically involves several steps, including consultation, examination, and placement.

  • Consultation: The first step in getting braces is to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist. During this appointment, the orthodontist will evaluate your teeth and recommend the best course of treatment based on your specific needs. They may also take X-rays, photographs, and impressions of your teeth to create a treatment plan.
  • Examination: Before braces can be placed, you will need to have a comprehensive dental exam to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy enough for the procedure. This may involve dental cleaning, X-rays, and other diagnostic tests to detect any underlying dental issues that could affect treatment.
  • Placement: Once you are deemed a good candidate for braces, the actual placement process can begin. This typically involves the application of brackets and wires to your teeth, which are then adjusted over time to gradually shift your teeth into their desired position. The process of placing braces typically takes around 1-2 hours, depending on the complexity of your case.

Aftercare for Braces

After your braces are placed, it’s important to take good care of them to ensure the best possible results. This may involve regular brushing and flossing, avoiding certain foods that could damage the braces, and wearing any additional appliances recommended by your orthodontist to maximize treatment results.

Pros and Cons of Braces

While braces can be highly effective at realigning teeth and improving the appearance of your smile, they do come with certain drawbacks and limitations. Some potential pros and cons of braces include:

Pros Cons
Can correct a wide range of orthodontic issues May be uncomfortable or painful
Can significantly improve the appearance of your smile Can be difficult to clean and maintain
Has a proven track record of success May be costly or require payment plans

Ultimately, whether or not braces are the right choice for your dental needs will depend on a variety of factors, including your oral health, treatment goals, and overall budget. By working closely with an experienced orthodontist, you can determine whether braces or another type of orthodontic treatment is the best option for your unique needs.

Caring for Braces at Home

Having braces requires more attention to oral hygiene than normal teeth. You need to be more careful while brushing, flossing and eating to avoid any damage. In this article, let’s discuss some tips on how you can care for braces at home.

  • Brushing – Brushing your teeth twice a day is a must, especially after meals, and before bedtime. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and look for ones that are specifically designed for braces. Gently brush in a circular motion and be sure to brush every part of your teeth, including the front, back, and tops of your teeth. Additionally, you can use special interdental brushes to clean around the brackets and wires.
  • Flossing – Flossing with braces may be challenging, but it’s essential. You can use a floss threader to get the floss between the teeth and below the wire easily. Move the floss up and down slowly and carefully to remove plaque and food particles from your teeth.
  • Mouthwash – Mouthwash is an excellent way to keep your mouth healthy and free from bacteria. Rinse with a mouthwash that contains fluoride to keep your teeth strong and healthy. Swish the mouthwash around your mouth for 30 seconds and spit it out.

Dietary Considerations

While you have braces, you also need to be mindful of what you eat. Avoid hard, crunchy, sticky and chewy foods that can damage your braces. Here are some foods you need to avoid:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Sticky candy like gummies, taffy, caramel, etc.
  • Corn on the cob and raw apples
  • Hard crusty bread and pizza crust

Emergency Care

Even with the best care, sometimes accidents happen. If you experience any of the following problems, contact your orthodontist immediately:

  • Loose or broken brackets, wires or bands
  • Poking wires or brackets that cause irritation
  • Mouth sores, cuts or bruises

It’s essential to take care of your braces properly to ensure that you have a healthy smile and the best possible outcome after the treatment. Remember to schedule regular visits to your orthodontist for check-ups and adjustments to your braces.

Brushing Flossing Mouthwash
Brush twice a day Floss with a threader Rinse for 30 sec
Use a soft-bristled brush Move the floss up and down Use mouthwash with fluoride
Brush every part of your teeth Use interdental brushes Spit it out after rinsing

Make sure to follow the tips and recommendations of your orthodontist for complete care of your braces.

How often to visit the orthodontist

When undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is essential to maintain regular appointments with your orthodontist to ensure the progress of your treatment plan and monitor any changes in your oral health. The frequency of visits to your orthodontist may vary depending on several factors such as the complexity of your treatment and the stage of your orthodontic journey.

  • Every 4-6 Weeks: For regular braces, patients are typically required to visit their orthodontist every four to six weeks. During these appointments, your orthodontist will check the progress of your treatment, adjust your braces, and ensure you are following proper oral hygiene practices.
  • Every 8-12 Weeks: Patients with Invisalign or clear aligners may not need to visit their orthodontist as frequently, with appointments every 8-12 weeks. However, it is still vital to maintain regular check-ins with your orthodontist to ensure that your aligners fit correctly and to monitor any changes in your teeth and gums.
  • As Needed: In some cases, orthodontic emergencies may arise, such as a broken bracket or wire. Patients experiencing severe pain or discomfort should contact their orthodontist immediately and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

It is also important to note that maintaining regular appointments with your general dentist is crucial during orthodontic treatment. Your dentist can help identify any potential oral health issues and ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy before, during, and after your orthodontic treatment. With proper care and treatment, you can achieve a beautiful, healthy, and functional smile that lasts a lifetime.

The Importance of Regular Orthodontic Visits

Regular orthodontic visits are essential to ensure the success of your treatment and maintain optimal oral health. During each appointment, your orthodontist will assess the progress of your treatment plan and adjust your braces or aligners as necessary.

These visits also provide an opportunity for your orthodontist to detect any potential issues before they become more severe. By catching and addressing any problems early on, your orthodontic treatment timeline may be shortened, and you can minimize the risk of complications or additional dental work in the future.

Additionally, regular appointments give you the opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions you may have with your orthodontist. For example, you may need to modify your orthodontic care routine or inquire about the best foods to eat or avoid, and your orthodontist can provide the necessary guidance to support your treatment progress.

Overall, regular orthodontic visits are vital for ensuring the success of your treatment plan and maintaining optimal oral health. With open communication and consistent care, you can achieve a beautiful, healthy, and functional smile.

Orthodontic Visits During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes in the way we approach our daily lives, including regular dental care. Many orthodontists have taken extra precautions to ensure the safety of their patients and staff by implementing enhanced infection control measures and reducing patient volume.

If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment during the pandemic, it is essential to follow the guidelines set by your orthodontist or dental office regarding appointments and in-office safety protocols. Additionally, it is critical to practice excellent oral hygiene habits at home to minimize the risk of complications or emergency visits to your orthodontist.

Orthodontic Visit Tips During the Pandemic
Wear a mask to your appointment.
Follow hand hygiene practices, including washing your hands before and after your appointment.
Practice social distancing in the waiting room.
Reschedule your appointment if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

By staying informed and following the necessary precautions, you can continue to maintain your orthodontic treatment progress while prioritizing your health and safety during these unprecedented times.

Foods to Avoid While Wearing Braces

Braces are designed to straighten teeth and align the bite for a beautiful smile. However, it is essential to take special care while eating with braces to avoid damaging the brackets or wires. Here are some examples of foods to steer clear of:

  • Chewy foods, such as caramels, taffy, and gummies, can bend or break wires and damage brackets.
  • Sticky, sugary foods like candy or gum can stick to the teeth and braces, promoting bacteria growth and increasing the risk of cavities or tooth decay.
  • Hard and crunchy foods like popcorn, chips, and nuts can break brackets and wires or shift teeth out of position. Raw vegetables and fruits are also culprits for causing damage.
  • Biting into tough meats like steak or jerky can knock braces out of alignment while damaging the wires and brackets.
  • Beverages like soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juices contain high amounts of sugar and acids, which can erode tooth enamel and cause discoloration around the brackets and wires.

Tips for Eating with Braces

It is essential to maintain a healthy diet while wearing braces to ensure they stay in good condition, and teeth are healthy. Here are some tips for eating with braces:

  • Choose soft and easy-to-chew or mashed foods, such as soups, mashed potatoes, or fish, to prevent damage to wires or brackets.
  • Use a straw while drinking sugary or fizzy beverages to minimize contact with the braces and reduce the risk of staining or tooth decay.
  • Rinse the mouth with water to remove any food particles that may be stuck between the braces or wires after eating. Use a soft-bristled brush to clean the brackets and wires gently.

Foods that Promote Oral Health

Eating healthy and nutrient-rich foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, leafy greens, and fruits is crucial for maintaining oral health while wearing braces. These types of foods strengthen teeth and promote healthy gums, making them less susceptible to cavities and other dental problems.


Braces are an investment in your smile and overall dental health. Protect your orthodontic appliances by avoiding the above foods and focusing on a healthy, well-balanced diet. Talk to your orthodontist for more information on how to care for your braces and teeth while undergoing treatment.

Dealing with discomfort from braces

Braces can often cause discomfort or pain, especially soon after they are first put on or tightened. However, there are several ways to alleviate this discomfort and make the braces-wearing experience more comfortable.

  • Wax: Braces can rub and irritate the inside of the mouth, causing sores. Dental wax can be applied to the brackets and wires to provide a smooth surface and decrease discomfort. This wax is safe to eat or swallow and should be reapplied as needed throughout the day.
  • Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help relieve pain caused by braces. However, it is important to follow the recommended dosage and consult a dentist or doctor before taking any medication.
  • Cold compress: If the mouth is sore from rubbing against the braces, a cold compress can help reduce swelling and numb the area. A washcloth or small bag of ice wrapped in a towel can be applied to the outside of the mouth for 10-15 minutes at a time.

In addition to these remedies, there are a few tips to help alleviate discomfort from braces:

  • Eat soft foods: Crunchy or hard foods can exacerbate discomfort from braces. Soft foods, such as soups, smoothies, or mashed potatoes, can be easier to eat and reduce irritation of the mouth.
  • Use a straw: If the mouth is sore from rubbing against the braces, using a straw can help reduce contact and discomfort.
  • Practice good oral hygiene: Good oral hygiene is especially important when wearing braces, as food particles can easily become trapped in the brackets and wires. Regular brushing and flossing can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Overall, it is normal to experience discomfort or pain when first getting braces or after adjustments. However, there are several ways to alleviate this discomfort and make the braces-wearing experience more comfortable.

Symptom Possible cause Remedy
Sores or cuts on cheek or tongue Braces rubbing against mouth Apply dental wax to brackets and wires
General discomfort or pressure Braces adjustment Take over-the-counter pain medication as recommended
Swollen or sore gums Difficulty brushing or flossing around braces Use a waterpik or interdental brush to remove food particles, rinse with salt water

It is important to contact a dentist or orthodontist if discomfort or pain persists or is severe.

Adjusting to life with braces

Adjusting to life with braces can be a daunting task, but with a little patience and some tips, it can become much easier. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • It is normal to feel some discomfort for a few days after getting braces. To alleviate the discomfort, try eating soft foods such as soup, mashed potatoes, and yogurt.
  • It may take some time to get used to speaking with braces. Practice speaking aloud and focus on enunciating each word clearly.
  • Be prepared to spend a little extra time on your oral hygiene routine. Braces can make brushing and flossing a little more difficult, but it’s important to keep your teeth and braces clean to prevent cavities and other dental problems.

It’s also important to avoid certain types of foods that can damage or get stuck in your braces. Here is a list of foods to avoid:

Foods to Avoid Alternatives
Chewy candy (like gummies or taffy) Soft fruits like bananas or applesauce
Popcorn Soft snacks like cheese puffs or popcorn without kernels
Hard candy Soft moist cookies or desserts

Finally, make sure to keep up with your regularly scheduled orthodontic appointments. Your orthodontist will need to make adjustments to your braces periodically to ensure that they are working properly and that your teeth are moving as they should.

With a little patience and dedication, adjusting to life with braces can be a breeze. Remember to take care of your teeth and braces and to enjoy the journey to a beautiful, healthy smile.

Does Medical Take Care of Braces FAQs

Q: Will medical insurance cover the cost of braces?
A: It depends on the insurance plan. Some plans provide coverage for orthodontic treatment, including braces, while others do not. It’s important to check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage.

Q: Can I use my flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to pay for braces?
A: Yes, you can use your FSA or HSA to cover the cost of braces. This can help you save money on your out-of-pocket expenses for orthodontic treatment.

Q: Do I need a referral from my dentist to see an orthodontist for braces?
A: It depends on your insurance plan. Some plans require a referral from a dentist or primary care physician, while others do not. Even if a referral is not necessary, it’s always a good idea to consult with your dentist or orthodontist before starting braces treatment.

Q: How long does the orthodontic treatment with braces usually take?
A: The duration of braces treatment varies depending on the individual’s age, the complexity of the case, and other factors. In general, treatment can range from 1-3 years.

Q: Are there any alternatives to traditional braces?
A: Yes, there are alternative orthodontic treatments, such as clear aligners, that can help straighten teeth without metal brackets and wires.

Q: Can I eat normally with braces?
A: While there are some restrictions on the types of foods you can eat with braces, you can still enjoy a wide variety of foods. It’s important to avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods that can damage the braces or get stuck in them.

Q: How often do I need to see my orthodontist during braces treatment?
A: Typically, orthodontic appointments are scheduled every 4-8 weeks, depending on the stage of treatment and the individual’s progress.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for reading our FAQs about medical coverage for braces. We hope this information has been useful in helping you understand the financial aspect of braces treatment. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule a consultation with one of our orthodontists, please visit us again soon!

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