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Can I use a dental savings plan with insurance? 

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Dental insurance, specifically PPO plans – typically have a spending limit of $1,000–$1,500 per year, though it can be higher. Once your dental bills reach that amount, you need to pay out of your pocket for dental care until the next plan year. And you’ll need to continue to pay your monthly premiums as well. 

If you typically only need preventive care, such as checkups and cleanings, along with a minor procedure or two – you probably won’t come close to hitting your annual spending limit unless a dental emergency happens. Just one unexpected restorative procedure, like a root canal and crown, can quickly max out your dental insurance coverage for the rest of your plan year. For example, the average cost for a crown is $750–$2,000 per tooth, and the cost of a root canal is $750-$1,000+ per tooth, making it easy to exhaust your dental insurance coverage.  

So, what do you do when you need dental care and your insurance is over its spending limit? A dental savings plan can often help.  

Understanding dental insurance 

Dental insurance typically operates on a premium-based model where you pay a monthly or annual fee in exchange for coverage. This coverage often includes a percentage of the costs for various dental services, categorized typically as preventive, basic, and major. Preventive services include cleanings, exams, and x-rays; basic services would be procedures such as fillings and uncomplicated extractions, while major services include more complex treatments to replace teeth such as crowns, bridges, dental implants and dentures.  

But it’s important to know that dental insurance often has annual spending maximums, deductibles, waiting periods, and restrictions on treatments for pre-existing conditions. 

How do dental savings plans work? 

Dental savings plans, sometimes called dental discount plans, are an alternative to traditional dental insurance. They operate on a membership-based model. By paying an annual membership fee, plan members can access reduced rates on a wide range of dental services from a large network of participating dentists. Plan members report saving an average of 50%* on their dental care.  

Unlike dental insurance, dental savings plans do not have deductibles, waiting periods, or annual limits. Plan members receive a discount at the time of treatment, so there’s no claims to file or approval processes either. 

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

Use our calculator below >

Can I combine dental insurance and a dental savings plan? 

You cannot use both simultaneously for the same procedure. For example, you can’t apply a discount from a dental savings plan to a service that’s already being paid for by your insurance to reduce your out-of-pocket cost further. 

However, there are ways to leverage your dental savings plan and your dental insurance to maximize your dental care savings. Here’s how: 

  • You can use your dental savings plan to get dental care after you’ve reached your annual maximum spending limit.  
  • Your dental plan membership can reduce the costs of treatment that dental insurance typically doesn’t fully pay for. As an example, if your insurance has a low, lifetime maximum for orthodontic care, a dental savings plan can be used instead to reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Make sure to choose a dental savings plan that includes orthodontia discounts if this example applies to you. 
  • Your dental savings plan can also be used to save on procedures that may not be covered by dental insurance at all. These typically include cosmetic treatments such as tooth whitening and overlays, and dental implants.  
  • You can also use your dental savings plan to reduce the cost of procedures that are subject to a waiting period under your dental insurance. The waiting period for major procedures can be 6-12 months for a newly purchased insurance plan. Dental savings plans can help you avoid delaying the care you need. 
  • As noted above, you can’t use dental insurance and a dental savings plan to reduce the cost of the same procedure. But you can use it on different procedures in the same treatment plan.  

Your dentist can help you determine how to best use your insurance and your dental savings plan, and it’s best to check your insurance policy for any restrictions. 

How can I choose the right dental plan for me? 

The quickest way to find the perfect dental plan for your needs is with our online dental plan finder, just answer a few questions and you’ll see the plans that best meet your requirements. If you opt for a dental savings plan, you can easily join that plan online and start saving at any participating dentist within 1-3 business days. Use our calculator below for a quick peek at how much you can save or give us a call at 1-833-735-0399

*Discount Health Program consumer and provider surveys indicate average savings of 50%. Savings may vary by provider, location, and plan.  
All cost averages obtained from DentalPlans.com procedure search tool, and independent research. 

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