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Is AARP Dental Insurance Coverage Worth It?

A dentist shows a patient his x-rays

AARP provides its members access to three members-only dental insurance plans. These plans are administered by Delta Dental Insurance Company and are designed to meet the typical dental care needs of people aged 50+; However, the plans also offer excellent coverage for plan members’ eligible dependents.

An AARP® Dental Insurance Plans features comprehensive coverage, and the slightly higher-than-average cost of the plans reflects this. These plans are a solid choice for those whose dental care needs extend beyond regular cleanings and checkups.

Is an AARP® Dental Insurance Plan Worth It?

Delta Dental offers three plan options designed for AARP members. Two are PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans, and the other, DeltaCare USA, is similar to a typical DHMO (Dental Health Maintenance Organization) plan.

AARP DeltaCare USA Plan

You pay much less for a DeltaCare USA plan (about half the cost, but see the complete cost breakdown below), and there is no waiting period, annual deductible or annual spending limit. It’s a copay plan, which means you pay a flat fee to the dentist – with a coinsurance plan, you’d pay a percentage of the cost of treatment.

DeltaCare USA has distinct advantages like DHMO plans but is also less flexible than a PPO plan.

For example, you have to choose a dentist from the DeltaCare USA Contract Dentists network, or one will be assigned to you. To change your dentist, you must call customer service, and the switch would be valid the following month. If you want to see a specialist, you will need to get a referral from your primary dentist and then approval from Delta Dental.

Dental emergency? If it’s after business hours and your dentist and Delta Dental customer care are unavailable, you’re only covered for $100 for treatment specifically to address dental pain. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait until you can reach someone at Delta Dental to get approval to see another dentist.


PPO plans are widely accepted at dental practices nationwide. Plan members will save more when they see in-network dentists but can choose to go out-of-network. There is no referral required to see a specialist.

Delta Dental offers AARP members two PPO plans,, called Plan A and Plan B. Covered benefits, waiting periods and most other aspects of the plan are identical. Plan A is more expensive (see cost breakdown below) but has a higher annual maximum and a lower deductible.

The deductible is what you pay out of pocket every year before your coverage begins, and the annual limit is the amount of dental costs that you’re covered for. Once you reach the limit, you pay out of pocket for the rest of the year.

Plan A has a deductible of $40 and an annual limit of $1500; Plan B has a $90 deductible and an annual limit of $1000.

How Much Does an AARP® Dental Insurance Plan Cost?

Plan prices vary. Check the AARP® Dental Insurance Plan website for specifics of plans available near you. But as an example, dental plans in Florida, zip code 33135 (Miami): 

Individual $32.72 a month $72.10 $50.58
Two People $53.40 $142.49 $99.50
Family $78.59 $216.67 $141.39

At least one enrolled family member must be an active AARP member to qualify for an AARP® Dental Insurance Plan. Coverage is offered for Individuals, and their eligible family members. For example: spouse or domestic partner, or an unmarried dependent child aged 26 or under), or a Family. A “dependent child” can include unmarried grandchildren, stepchildren, adopted children and foster children.

See how much you can save with a dental savings plan.

Use our calculator below >

What does an AARP® Dental Insurance Plan cover?

Coverage varies according to the type of plan you choose, and there may be variances in the plans offered in your state. In general, basic, preventive, and restorative dental coverage is very comprehensive in the AARP® Dental Insurance Plan.

If you opt for a PPO plan, basic and preventive are covered as soon as you meet your deductible. There is, however, a 12-month waiting period before you are covered for restorative care, which includes crowns, inlays, and onlays, bridges, dentures, dental implants, Periodontics treatment (for gum disease) or treatment for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD). The waiting period is enforced even if you have had continuous dental coverage from another provider. And if you switch to another AARP® PPO dental insurance plan, your waiting period begins again.

With the DHMO plan, as noted above, there is no waiting period. Basic, preventive, and restorative care (as well as orthodontics/braces) are covered right from the start. Depending on when you enroll, your plan may not activate for over a month. For example, joining after the 21st of August means your plan doesn’t activate until October.

It is very important to carefully review plan documentation, specifically the “Certificate of Coverage,” “Limitations and Exclusions,” and “Plan Brochure” associated with any dental insurance plan before you make a purchase. AARP does a great job of making this information readily available at the bottom of each plan page on the Delta Dental website. The information provided above is a synopsis and should not be used to make a purchasing decision without carefully reviewing all plan documentation.

You can also see which dentists near you are in the plans’ networks, something that you should check prior to purchasing. You can see reviews of the dentists on social media just by clicking the “number of dentists near you” option. Checking reviews is especially critical if you’re choosing the DHMO plan option, since the network is smaller than the PPO one, and DHMO members must see an in-network dentist.

What Discounts Do I Get with an AARP® Dental Insurance Plan?

With an AARP® PPO Dental Insurance Plan, you pay a percentage of the dentist’s network negotiated rate:


Your cost

Exams and x-rays

Free with Plan A, 20% with Plan B


Free with Plan A, 20% with Plan B (3x annually)


20% of the in-network dentist’s fee

Root canals


Tooth removal



50% (after 1 year)


50% (after 1 year)

Complete dentures

50% (after 1 year)

TMJD Treatment

50% (after 1 year)

Orthodontics are not covered by either PPO plan. The DHMO plan covers orthodontics.

With the AARP® DHMO dental insurance plan, you pay a flat fee to your Contract Dentist. The complete list of fees is available on the AARP Dental Insurance Plan site. Below are sample fees for treatment in the 10025 zip code (NYC).


Your cost

Exams and x-rays



$5 (2x annually)


$8 – $95

Root Canal

$125 – $365


$235 – $395

Complete dentures

$365 – $385

TMJD Treatment

Not covered


$2,100 per adult

$1,900 per child

Dental Discounts – Better than AARP?

The AARP® DHMO dental insurance plans offers excellent savings on dental, making it a good choice if you are comfortable with the restrictions and happy with the dentists who accept the plan near you.

It’s difficult to beat the savings offered by the AARP® PPO dental insurance plan, as the coverage is extensive, and the savings are significant. The areas that might cause concern is the waiting period for restorative care, the annual limit, and the relatively high cost of the plans.

If you don’t want to or can’t wait for dental care, you can opt instead to join a dental savings plan. These plans are an alternative to traditional dental insurance. You get discounts of 10-60% on your dental care (the percentage varies according to procedure and the plan you join). You could use your dental savings plan to reduce the cost of restorative care within 72 hours of purchasing the plan. You pay the discounted rate directly to any of the 140,000+ participating dentists nationwide.

And there are no annual limits with a dental savings plan. The average yearly cost of a dental savings plan is $99 for an individual and $199 for a family.  Yes, that’s the annual cost – not the monthly cost!

Find out more about the advantages of dental savings plans for seniors today.


AARP® Dental Insurance Plan, administered by Delta Dental Insurance Company, insured by Dentegra Insurance Company, Delta Dental Insurance Company or affiliate companies.

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