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How To Choose The Best Dental Insurance

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Choosing dental insurance is a big decision, just like choosing a dentist. But, while one or two visits to a dentist will likely be enough for you to figure out whether you and the practice are a good fit, you may not discover whether your dental insurance is right for you until you really need coverage. Online tools and resources are making it easier to choose the right dental plan for you, whether that be traditional insurance or a dental savings plan. Here’s where to start:    

Understanding dental insurance  

Unlike health insurance, which people rely on to pick up the costs when they are faced with big healthcare bills, dental insurance primarily focuses on covering low-cost, preventive treatments. Most plans will cover 100% of the cost of preventative care such as cleanings, checkups and x-rays, 80% of basic treatments such as fillings, and 50% of more complex and costly procedures such as root canals and crowns. And typically, you will need to be a member of a dental insurance plan for at least a year before coverage for the costlier procedures kicks in, and up to six months for some basic restorative services.  

The typical cost of an individual dental insurance policy is $47 a month, ($565 annually) according to Forbes Advisor analysis of dental insurance premiums. If you pay out of pocket for two checkups and cleanings and a set of X-rays, your cost, on average, will be around $375-$400*. So, with dental insurance, you’re basically pre-paying for your essential preventive care, with a little assurance built in that if you need a couple of fillings, or chip a tooth, you’re also covered.  

You can buy dental insurance from an independent insurance agent, from an online marketplace such as DentalPlans.com that offers the widest selection of dental insurance and dental savings plans, or from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces.  

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

Use our calculator below >

Dental insurance out-of-pocket maximums, limits and deductibles

Many dental insurance policies set a cap on coverage, typically ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 annually. Once that limit is reached, any additional dental expenses throughout the plan year must be paid out of pocket. Given that the average cost of a root canal and crown totals $2,210, it’s easy to exhaust your yearly dental allowance. 
Additionally, most dental insurance plans have a deductible, an amount the insured must pay out-of-pocket before the insurance starts covering costs. Typically, deductibles amount to $50 annually for individuals and $150 for families. However, if you opt for an insurance bundle on the ACA marketplace, combining health and pediatric dental coverage, it’s crucial to ensure that the dental plan deductible remains distinct from the health insurance deductible. Health insurance plans often have significantly higher deductibles, sometimes reaching several thousand dollars, before coverage kicks in. Therefore, it’s beneficial to have a separate deductible for dental care, particularly if your medical expenses are unlikely to reach such high thresholds before requiring dental treatment. 

What kind of dental insurance is best?  

Ask your dentist what insurance plans the office accepts and recommends. If you don’t have a dentist, or you don’t mind going to a new dentist, shop for a plan that offers the coverage that you need. If you visit DentalPlans.com, you’ll find tools that make it easy to find the dental insurance and savings options that best fit your needs.   

Websites such as Consumer Advocate can also help make it easier to find the right dental insurance coverage. Consumer Advocate ranks dental insurance and dental discount plans based on the following criteria: the number of dentists in the plan’s network, the savings that you can expect from a plan, the cost of coverage (your premium), the annual maximum cap, and the dental treatments that a plan covers.  

Dental insurance that covers everything?  

Rather than looking for full coverage dental insurance, you might want to focus on finding dental insurance that fits your needs. Your dentist may be able to help you choose, as they know your dental health status and have insight into the insurance coverage that’s accepted by their practice.   

If braces, dentures or dental bridges are something you or a loved one does or will need, make sure the insurance plan that you choose covers them. And check to make sure that the amount of coverage offered makes sense to you – $1000 coverage specifically for braces may be just what you’re looking for in a dental insurance plan, or may not meet your health and/or financial needs at all.  

Be aware that dental insurance may not offer comprehensive coverage major restorative processes such as a full set of quality dentures, and cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening, veneers or dental implants aren’t covered by many traditional insurance policies. If you need a significant amount of restorative work, are ready to address long-term dental problems, or (as noted above) don’t want to wait a year before you can get that missing tooth replaced under your insurance plan, you may wish to look at a dental savings plan.  

What are the differences between dental savings plans and dental insurance?  

Dental savings plans are an affordable alternative to dental insurance that enables people to save an average of 50%* on their dental care. Plan members pay an annual fee to save on virtually any procedure, at any participating dentist nationwide. These plans activate within 72 hours, have no annual limits, and often include savings on procedures that insurance may not cover, such as cosmetic dental care and dental implants. While dental insurance often has deductibles and waiting periods for costly procedures, dental savings plans do not.  
The simplest way to compare and choose the right dental plan for you is at DentalPlans.com – the largest marketplace for both dental savings plans and dental insurance. Connect with the DentalPlans.com team at 1-833-735-0399 or use our online dental plan finder to get matched with your perfect dental plan in minutes.  Want a quick peek at how much you can save with a dental savings plan? Use our calculator below now. 

*Discount Health Program consumer and provider surveys indicate average savings of 50%. Savings may vary by provider, location, and plan.   

Let’s see what you can save.

See how quickly your dental savings plan can pay for itself. We automatically add preventive care.

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