Dental braces are one of the best treatment methods for correcting misaligned or crowded teeth or jaws. Braces work by spreading the biting pressure across all your teeth, slowly moving them in the right direction. Once this treatment is complete, patients are usually able to eat more comfortably while also improving how their teeth look and feel. 

If you are considering having this dental procedure in Hong Kong, there are a lot of factors to consider. You have to find an orthodontic specialist as well as learn how braces work and what you can expect from them. Given that orthodontic treatment can be very expensive, financing the treatment is something else you need to give a thought. One question that many people have at this stage is ‘does dental insurance cover braces for kids, teens and adults’?

What Are Your Options for Financing Orthodontics Dental Care?

Orthodontic treatment - which includes braces and other specialized dental care services - can be expensive. 

It is important you know what options are available to help you afford the treatment you need. 

  • Employer sponsored dental insurance 

Many employers offer dental insurance as part of their health care package. In this type of coverage, your employer will decide what services are covered by the dental plan. Orthodontics may not be included at all. In some cases, it will be included but limited to children under the age of 18 (excluding adults).

If this type of coverage is available to you, check with your employer to unearth the fine details. See if there are waiting periods or lifetime maximums. You also need to know if there are certain types of braces that are not covered, or whether you are required to work with an orthodontist who is within your insurer’s network. 

  • Private dental insurance plans

Many health insurance companies now offer individual dental insurance to meet the needs of their clients. Keep in mind though that orthodontics may not be included by default in a private dental plan. You need to carefully evaluate what the coverage can and cannot do before you go ahead and purchase it. Working with a licensed and professional insurance agent can help you make sense out of all the fine details. 

  • Dental discount plans

Dental discount plans (also referred to as savings plans) are not really insurance but allow members to obtain dental services at reduced rates. You only need to contribute a small annual payment to obtain membership, then you can access dental services at a discount from a network of member dentists. Discounts can range from 10% to 20% off adult braces and other orthodontic care services. 

Dental discount plans may be a reasonable option for people who already have dental insurance but no coverage for orthodontic care. 

What Does Dental Insurance Cover in Hong Kong

Dental insurance in Hong Kong is often categorized into two main types of coverage:

Routine dental procedures 

This encompasses the most common dental care services that people receive, including consultation, dental examinations, teeth cleaning, root canals, local anesthesia, X-rays, emergency dental procedures, and simple fillings. 

→ Major dental procedures 

This will typically entail all dental procedures that are considered to be medically necessary, including braces, tooth adjustments, dentures, crowns, root scaling, replacements and other expensive treatments. 

Note: as would be expected, dental plans that cover major procedures are more expensive but also provide a higher level of coverage compared to routine dental plans. 

Considerations for Choosing the Best Dental Insurance That Covers Braces for Adults

While reviewing your options for dental coverage in Hong Kong, it is important to take note of the following factors. 

  • Waiting period - most - if not all - dental plans that are included in your medical insurance plan will have a waiting period before treatment can be covered. These waiting periods range from 3 months to 12 months depending on the specifics of the policy. The point of a waiting period - from the insurer’s perspective - is to reduce the risk.  
  • Coverage - different plans may cover varying treatments. For example, a medical policy that has dental coverage may cover common dental treatments but not braces. Knowing what you can expect from a specific policy will help you make the right decision. 
  • Cosmetic treatments - most plans will cover procedures that are considered to be a medical necessity. By default, this excludes cosmetic treatments. For example, if you need braces to correct a slightly crooked tooth, this may be considered cosmetic and thus will not be covered. Read the entire documentation of the policy to see what is or isn’t covered. 
  • Limits - different policies will have rules limiting how much coverage you can get. These may include a limit on expensive dental treatments, lifetime limits specifying how much in treatment expenses you can claim through the life of the plan, or restrictions on the number of yearly visits to your dentist. 

Shopping for dental insurance that covers braces for adults is not that hard if you know what you want. Start by making sure the plan you are interested in includes orthodontic care. Plan limitations, yearly costs, and waiting periods are all important factors to consider. Check to see whether there are any additional costs that may be a part of your treatment. Working with a network orthodontist may open up discounts for the orthodontic care services you receive. 

Contact a licensed Trusted Union insurance adviser to learn more about how to find the best dental insurance plan for your orthodontic health needs. 

Questions to Ask When Comparing Orthodontic Coverage

If your dental plan does not include orthodontic treatment, here are some questions you can ask to make sure that you find the right coverage. 

  • How much of the orthodontist’s fees are covered for braces?
  • Does the plan have a maximum annual limit on orthodontic coverage? If so, does this limit match your needs?
  • Does the plan have a maximum limit for orthodontic coverage? If so, does this limit suit your needs?
  • Is there a waiting period? If so, how long do you have to wait before you can receive coverage for orthodontic treatment?
  • Does the insurance plan have restrictions on the type of dental braces you can get?
  • Does the plan allow you to use your existing orthodontist for braces? Or are there specific network orthodontists that you must use?
  • How much are the deductibles and how are they assessed for braces?

Orthodontic Treatment & Coverage FAQs

Are braces effective for adults? 

Most people who need dental braces get them during their early teenage years (ideally between the age of 9 and 14), but adults can also benefit from wearing braces. The goal is to properly align your teeth and jaws in order to achieve an even bite and pleasing smile. There are numerous orthodontic specialists in Hong Kong who can perform an excellent procedure to give you the straight teeth and beautiful smile that you deserve even as an adult. Furthermore, more and more Hong Kong dental plans have adult coverage for orthodontic services. 

How much do braces for adults cost in Hong Kong?

The cost of dental care in Hong Kong is on the higher side. Government-provided emergency dental services - which are only available for extraction and pain relief - are available at designated clinics. Most people have no option than to turn to private clinics, which can be very expensive particularly when you are looking for specialized services such as orthodontics. The cost of braces and other dental services can vary from HK$30,000 to $150,000 based on the severity of the case, appliances used, and specialists involved. 

Will insurance cover braces for adults?

If you are an adult and looking to have your teeth realigned, adult braces may be the right choice to give you a better smile while improving your teeth, mouth, gum, and jaw health. However, this specialized dental service is expensive. Finding dental insurance that covers braces for adults can also be difficult. Major health insurance plans typically do not include dental coverage. This means that you would need to purchase your dental insurance plan separately. When it comes to specialized dental services such as braces and orthodontics, it is important to know what your dental insurance covers and what different coverage exists for both children and adults. Some employer-sponsored dental insurance plans cover orthodontics but come with age restrictions that exclude adults. If you realize that you do not have sufficient orthodontic coverage in your existing plan, you can supplement it with a specialized dental insurance plan. 

Is it worth getting orthodontic insurance in Hong Kong?

Orthodontic insurance provides many benefits. People turn to orthodontic treatment not just for braces but also for other problems that may occur later in life. These may include teeth that move or shift with age, requiring new orthodontic work. Orthodontic dental insurance plans ensure that you and your family can afford treatment should you need specialized orthodontic care in Hong Kong. Benefits are usually paid out over the course of your treatment, which averages at about 24 months.