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No Dental Insurance, and Need to See a Dentist? 

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 In this article: 

  • Do you need dental insurance to see a dentist?
  • What to do if you have a dental emergency and can’t afford a dentist 
  • Can you buy insurance to pay for dental care you need now?
  • Why a dental savings plan is the best choice for dental emergencies 
  • How to find out how much a dental treatment will cost 
  • How to get good, inexpensive dental care 

What do you do when you don’t have dental insurance and you need to see a dentist fast? First, take a deep breath. While dental insurance can certainly ease the financial burden of dental care, it is not always the best or most affordable option for everyone. And if you’re currently uninsured, dental insurance is not going to help when you are facing an unexpected oral health issue. In this article, we look at options to help make emergency dental care affordable quickly and easily and answer some common questions about dental insurance and emergency dental care.  

Do I need insurance to see a dentist? 

You do not need dental insurance to see a dentist. But without insurance – or an alternative option like a dental savings plan – you are responsible for paying the full cost of your dental care out-of-pocket, which can be a significant expense, especially for more complex treatments.  

How can I pay for expensive emergency dental care without insurance? 

A dental savings plan is your best option here. These plans aren’t insurance, and plan members enjoy unique advantages beyond getting discounts on virtually all dental procedures.  

One of the biggest differences between dental savings plans and dental insurance is that you can access discounts on costly dental treatments within 72 hours of joining a plan. Some plans even have emergency activation and can be used within 24 hours of joining. The discounts are significant – plan members report saving an average of 50%* on their dental care.  

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

Use our calculator below >

Are dentists happy to accept dental savings plans?  

140,000+ dental practices nationwide accept dental savings plans – that’s around 70% of all dentists in the U.S. Like all health care professionals, dentists are accustomed to offering reduced rates for care to patients who are plan members of savings plans or have insurance.  

Additionally, both patients and dental practices enjoy the simplicity of dental savings plans – patients pay the dentist directly at the time of care, there is no paperwork to file, no approvals to obtain, and no annual limits or reimbursements to worry about.  

How do I find out how much a dental treatment will cost? 

Typically, a discussion of costs comes right after the initial examination. Your dentist will usually provide you with a document called a “treatment plan” which is a detailed breakdown of the expected expenses. If you have a dental savings plan, your plan documentation may also show your discount. (If you purchased a plan from DentalPlans.com, you can also call the customer support team, and ask for this information up front.) 

You can and should discuss any cost concerns with the dental office’s billing department or the dentist themselves. It’s important to be upfront with your dental care provider about your insurance status and financial situation. This allows you and your dentist to make informed decisions about your dental care and helps you avoid unexpected financial burdens.  

Purchasing dental insurance when you know you need expensive procedures may not help reduce the cost of the treatment you currently require. Dental insurance may not fully activate immediately for treatments beyond preventive/basic care, and rarely pays for dental problems present before you purchased insurance. Unlike dental insurance, a dental savings plan can be used to save on treatment for existing dental health concerns.  

How do I find inexpensive dental care? 

Here’s an important thing to know: Getting regular preventative care is the best way to save money in the long run. Regular check-ups can help catch issues early before they become major (and costly) problems. Good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly, can also keep your dental bills in check. 

If dental care is completely unaffordable for you right now, and you are dealing with a dental emergency that requires immediate medical attention due to pain, risk of infection, or potential for further complications, go to the nearest emergency room or urgent care clinic.  

If your dental concern does not require immediate treatment but you do need to see a dentist very soon, a dental savings plan will reduce the costs of your treatment. And there are additional advantages, beyond savings:  

You don’t have to worry about annual spending limits. Most dental insurance plans typically limit you to $1,000-$1,500 annually. After you hit that cap (and you can easily exceed it with one root canal and crown) you pay out of pocket until your plan resets. Dental savings plans have no annual limits, you can use your plan to save at the dentist all year long.  

You often get additional savings. Many dental savings plans include – at no additional cost – savings on prescription medicines, eye and hearing care, eyeglasses/contact lenses, and chiropractic services. Select plans include savings on telehealth, wellness services, and other healthy lifestyle offerings.  

You don’t have to wait. As noted above, unlike dental insurance, there are no waiting periods before you can use your dental savings plan to save on dental care. Many dental insurance plans may make you wait for 6-12 months before you can save on restorative treatments such as root canals, crowns, dental bridges, and dentures. And it may never cover dental implants or cosmetic dental care. 

Ultimately, there are plans that fit every dental care need and budget. Want help choosing a plan quickly so you can get the dental care you need right now? Give us a call at 1-833-735-0399 or use our calculator below for a quick look at how much you can save.


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

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