A good dental plan can not only benefit your smile - it can help your wallet too.
Many major dental procedures can cost thousands. Even routine preventive cleanings can be more than $100 at a time. Add X-rays or fluoride treatment to the tab, and a routine dental visit can quickly cost hundreds of dollars.
Cue dental insurance: Like health insurance, dental insurance provides you with benefits that help pay for dental costs. And whether you need a longer-term dental plan or short-term dental insurance option to fill gaps in coverage, know that you have plenty of flexible options to choose from.
Picking the right dental plan can help curb expensive health care costs. But before you shop around for the best dental plan for your pearly whites, let's cover some common questions so you know the basics.
Dental insurance can pay for things like annual cleanings, minor oral health fixes, or big-dollar dental claims for crowns and bridges. In general, dental coverage is broken out by preventive, basic and major services:
There are two main types of dentail insurance plans:
Dental Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) dental plans provide dental care for a fixed monthly premium. This type of plan allows you to visit any dentist within the PPO network for reduced service fees. You may go outside of the approved system, but your out-of-pocket costs will increase. This plan works well for those who want to see any dentist who takes their PPO plan.
Dental Maintenance Organization (DMO) plans allow you to see any dentist within the approved network for no fees or for a reduced cost. In some cases, the prices for a DMO dental plan are lower than a PPO plan. However, you can't go outside of the network to receive dental care. This plan works well if you have a preferred dentist within the DMO network and want a lower fixed monthly premium.
Dental insurance coverage can vary, so it’s a good idea to compare different plans to choose what's right for you.
Dental plans typically cover some level (if not all) of cleanings, X-rays, and a percentage of basic services like fillings and major services like root canals. Many dental insurance plans also offer extra non-insurance wellness benefits to increase the value of the plan.
The choice to get dental insurance is ultimately up to you and your budget. But even if your mouth is healthy, dental insurance that covers preventive care at 100% can be valuable to have, especially when unexpected issues arise like filling a cavity or fixing a chipped tooth.
Dental insurance may be right for you if you:
The cost to have dental insurance varies based on your coverage, where you live, and other factors such as:
Affordable dental insurance plans might pay for preventive care but not pay as high of a percentage for major services. If you need thousands of dollars of work done for crowns or a bridge, a higher-cost dental plan might pay for itself.
Overall, monthly premiums range between $39 per month for an individual to $139 per month for a family (for the most part). FAIR Health has a handy calculator for dental costs, which you can use to estimate the cost of specific dental services.
Dental services can get pretty pricey if you don't have insurance:
Yes. You don’t need a job to have dental insurance. As an example, dental insurance for college students is one way someone without traditional employee benefits can keep their oral hygiene in check.
Not all employers offer dental insurance, but you can easily buy a dental insurance plan for yourself if you’re a freelancer or part of the gig economy.
Anyone can shop around and sign up for dental insurance plans online - typically within minutes.
Yes. There is no open enrollment period like there is for health insurance. You can buy dental insurance any time of the year, and coverage typically starts within days of submitting your application.
Note: There may be a waiting period for major services, so it’s smart to review any dental plan you’re interested in to confirm the waiting and coverage periods.
Absolutely. Dental insurance premiums are paid on a monthly basis, so you can cancel at any time. That means you can purchase dental coverage for a set period of time and cancel it with no penalty.
The good news is you don’t have to go too far: You can quickly and easily compare dental plans right here.
Just submit your ZIP code, birthday and gender to get a variety of dental plan options in your area.