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Dental care is a vital component of our lives, and dental insurance plays an important role in ensuring access to quality oral healthcare as it partially covers dental expenses, protects against excessive costs and reduces out-of-pocket costs. Discover all you should know about dental insurance in this article.

What is Dental Insurance?

Dental insurance may be able to partially cover the cost of procedures and treatments. Its purpose is to protect against excessive dental costs and reduce the amount of money that patients must pay out-of-pocket for their care.

Types of Dental Insurance Plans

There are several types of dental insurance plans available, each with its features and benefits. Here are some common types:

#1. Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO)

PPO plans allow you to choose from a network of dentists who have agreed to provide services at discounted rates. You have the flexibility to see dentists outside the network, but the out-of-pocket costs may be higher.

#2. Dental Health Maintenance Organizations (DHMO)/Capitation Plans

DHMO plans require you to choose a primary dentist from a network of providers. You must receive all your dental care from this dentist or obtain a referral for specialist care. DHMO plans often have lower premiums but may have more restrictions on provider choice.

#3. Indemnity Plans

Indemnity plans offer the most flexibility in terms of provider choice. You can see any dentist, and the plan will reimburse a percentage of the cost of covered services. However, you may have to pay upfront and submit claims for reimbursement.

#4. Direct Reimbursement (DR)

DR” plans reimburse you directly for a percentage of the cost of covered services, regardless of the dentist you choose. This type of plan typically does not have networks or restrictions on provider choice.

#5. Dental Discount Plans

Dental discount plans are not traditional insurance plans but provide discounts on dental services. You pay an annual fee to access a network of dentists who have agreed to offer discounted rates. The discount is applied at the time of service. These plans do not involve reimbursement or claims.

#6. Exclusive Provider Organizations (EPO)

EPO plans require you to choose a dentist from a specific network and only receive dental care from that provider. If you seek care outside the network, it may not be covered. EPO plans typically have lower premiums but limited provider choice.

#7. Point of Service (POS)

POS-type plans combine features of PPO and DHMO plans. You can choose a primary dentist from a network and receive services at a lower cost. However, you also have the option to see dentists outside the network, but the out-of-pocket costs may be higher.

#8. Managed Fee-for-Service Plans

These plans, also known as traditional or indemnity plans, allow you to choose any dentist and receive reimbursement for a percentage of the cost of covered services. You may need to pay upfront and submit claims for reimbursement.

#9. Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Dental Plans

Health insurance plans, often offered by employers or government programs, may include dental coverage as part of an HMO plan, which typically requires a primary care dentist from a network and may have restrictions on outside-network access.

#10. Dental Savings Plans

Dental savings plans offer discounted dental services through an annual membership fee, rather than a network fee, which provides access to participating dentists. These plans are suitable for those without traditional dental insurance and can be an alternative.

What Does Dental Insurance Cover?

Dental insurance coverage varies depending on the specific plan you have. 

However, common aspects of dental insurance coverage include

#1. Preventive Care

Dental insurance plans cover preventive services such as regular check-ups, cleanings, and X-rays. These services are important for maintaining good oral health and preventing dental problems.

#2. Basic Restorative Care

Dental insurance plans often cover basic restorative procedures such as fillings, simple extractions, and root canals. These procedures are aimed at treating dental issues and restoring the function of teeth.

#3. Major Restorative Care

Some dental insurance plans provide coverage for major restorative procedures, which are more complex and extensive. These may include crowns, bridges, dentures, implants, and complex extractions.

#4. Cosmetic Dentistry

Some dental insurance plans offer coverage for certain cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening or veneers. However, it’s important to note that cosmetic procedures are often considered elective and may have limitations or exclusions.

#5. Periodontal Care

Dental insurance plans may cover periodontal care, which focuses on the health of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. This can include treatments for gum disease, scaling and root planing, and periodontal maintenance.

#6. Oral Surgery

Dental insurance plans may cover oral surgery procedures, such as tooth extractions (including wisdom teeth), removal of impacted teeth, or other surgical interventions.

#7. Endodontic Treatment

Dental insurance plans may cover endodontic treatments, which include root canal therapy and other procedures that address issues with the dental pulp and nerve of the tooth.

#8. Prosthodontic Care

Some dental insurance plans provide coverage for prosthodontic care, which involves the restoration and replacement of missing teeth using methods like crowns, bridges, dentures, and dental implants.

#9. Emergency Dental Care

Dental insurance plans often cover emergency dental care, which may include treatment for dental injuries or severe toothaches. This coverage is designed to provide timely access to care when urgent dental needs arise.

#10. Orthognathic Surgery

In some cases, dental insurance plans may cover orthognathic surgery, which is a corrective jaw surgery procedure to address functional or structural issues with the jaw and bite alignment.

How To Get Dental Insurance

To get a dental insurance plan, consider coverage details like copayments, deductibles, waiting periods, and limitations, while also considering your dental care needs and budget to find an affordable plan.

Steps On How To Get Dental Insurance

#1. Check if you have Access to Dental Coverage Through your Employer

Many employers offer dental insurance as part of their employee benefits package. Check with your HR department to see if dental insurance is available to you and what options are offered.

#2. Explore the Health Insurance Marketplace

If you don’t have access to dental insurance through your employer, you can explore the Health Insurance Marketplace. Dental coverage is available for children as an essential health benefit, but it is not required for adults. 

#3. Research Private Dental Insurance Providers

Various private dental insurance providers offer individual and family dental insurance plans. Research different providers and compare their coverage options, premiums, deductibles, and network of dentists to find a plan that fits your needs and budget.

#4. Consider your Dental Care Needs

Assess your dental care needs and priorities. Determine if you need coverage for routine preventive care, such as exams and cleanings, or if you require coverage for more extensive procedures like fillings, root canals, or orthodontic treatment. 

#5. Review Plan Details

Carefully review the details of each dental insurance plan you are considering. Look for information on coverage, copayments, deductibles, annual maximums, waiting periods, and any exclusions or limitations. Make sure the plan covers the specific dental services you anticipate needing.

#6. Consider Provider Networks

Some dental insurance plans have networks of dentists who have agreed to provide services at discounted rates. If you have a preferred dentist, check if they are in-network with the plan you are considering. 

#7. Compare Costs

Compare the costs associated with each dental insurance plan, including monthly premiums, copayments, deductibles, and any out-of-pocket expenses. Consider your budget and how much you are willing to pay for dental coverage.

#8. Enroll in a Dental Insurance Plan

Once you have evaluated your options and selected a dental insurance plan that meets your needs, you can enroll in the plan. The enrollment process may vary depending on the provider or marketplace you choose.

#9. Discount Dental Plans

Consider dental discount plans, which are not traditional insurance plans but provide discounts on dental services. You pay an annual fee to access a network of dentists who offer discounted rates at the time of service.

#10. Medicare Advantage Plans

If you are a senior on Medicare, you can explore Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) that include dental benefits. These plans often cover routine dental care, such as cleanings, fillings, and dentures.

Best Dental Insurance

The best dental insurance plan depends on your specific requirements, financial constraints, and geographical location.

Best Dental Insurance Providers

Here are some dental insurance providers that are considered among the best

#1. Cigna

Cigna is recognized as one of the best dental insurance companies overall. They offer dental coverage in all 50 states, have a dental coverage limit of up to $1,500, and provide three low-deductible plans.

#2. Renaissance Dental

Renaissance Dental is also one of the best overall dental insurance companies. They offer comprehensive coverage and have no waiting periods for preventative services. 

#3. Spirit Dental

Spirit Dental is known for offering dental insurance plans with no waiting periods. They provide coverage for preventive, basic, and major dental services.

#4. Guardian Direct

Guardian Direct is recognized for providing coverage for major dental work. They offer a high reimbursement limit and comprehensive coverage.

#5. Delta Dental

Delta Dental is known for its coverage of braces. They offer plans that provide coverage for orthodontic treatment.

#6. UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare offers dental insurance plans suitable for families. They provide coverage for a range of dental services.

#7. Smart Health Dental

Smart Health Dental is recognized as a good option for seniors. They offer dental insurance plans tailored to the needs of seniors.

#8.  Aetna

 Aetna offers a range of dental insurance plans with different coverage options. They have a large network of dentists and provide coverage for preventive care, basic services, and major procedures.

#9. Humana

Humana offers individual and family dental insurance plans with budget-friendly premiums and low office visit copays. They also provide discounts on dental care and other services, like vision and prescription coverage.

#10. MetLife

MetLife offers dental insurance plans, including managed care plans and dental HMO plans. They provide coverage for preventive care, basic services, and major procedures.

What Is the Best Dental Insurance to Have?

Determining the best dental insurance plan to have depends on individual needs, budget, and location. Some recognized dental insurance companies include Cigna, Renaissance Dental, Spirit Dental, Guardian Direct, Delta Dental, and UnitedHealthcare. Factors like coverage, premiums, deductibles, and network providers should be considered. It’s important to review details, such as coverage limits, waiting periods, cost-sharing models, and specific dental procedures when selecting a dental insurance plan. 

What Is the Most Common Type of Dental Insurance?

The most common types of dental insurance plans are Dental Preferred Provider Organization (DPPO), Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO), Dental Indemnity, Dental Exclusive Provider Organization (DEPO), and Dental Point of Service (DPOS). DPPO plans allow you to choose any dentist, while DHMO plans require you to choose a primary care dentist within a network. Dental indemnity plans offer flexibility in choosing dentists, while DEPO plans have a smaller network. DPOS! plans combine features of DPPO and DHMO plans. 

What are The Cons Of Dental Insurance?

The cons of dental insurance include high costs, limited coverage for certain procedures, exclusions and waiting periods, network limitations, and administrative hassles. Dental insurance can be expensive, with copayments and out-of-pocket expenses. Some plans have restrictions on coverage and may require waiting periods. Network limitations can restrict the choice of dentists, and dealing with insurance paperwork can be time-consuming. 

Is Cigna Insurance Good Insurance?

Cigna Insurance has a mixed reputation, with some positive aspects like a comprehensive website and 24/7 customer service, but also some consumer complaints above the industry average. Cigna offers customizable group health insurance options and is rated as mid- to high-performing by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Do Most Americans Have Dental Insurance?

A significant portion of Americans do not have dental insurance. Estimates suggest that around 76.5 million adults in the United States lack dental insurance.  Most importantly, while 77% of Americans have dental benefits, it doesn’t mean they have comprehensive dental insurance coverage. Medicare does not cover dental care, and most state Medicaid programs only cover dental care for children. 

Does Cigna Dental Insurance Cover Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Cigna dental insurance may cover wisdom teeth removal, but the coverage can vary depending on the specific plan. Its Dental 1500 Plan includes an allowance for local anesthesia and wisdom tooth extraction. 

What Is The Difference Between Delta Dental Ppo And Deltacare USA?

Delta Dental PPO and DeltaCare USA are two different dental insurance options offered by Delta Dental. Delta Dental PPO allows you to visit any dentist, offers greater flexibility, and has a larger network. DeltaCare USA operates as a dental health maintenance organization (DHMO), requires a primary care dentist, and offers lower-cost services with a more limited network. The coverage, cost, referrals, and specialist access vary between the two options. Review the specific details of each plan and consider personal needs when choosing between them. 

Is Cobra Dental Insurance Worth It?

The decision of whether COBRA dental insurance is worth it depends on individual circumstances. Factors to consider include the cost of COBRA coverage, availability of individual insurance plans, and eligibility for Medicaid. It may be more cost-effective to explore other options such as individual plans or Medicaid. Additionally, if dental benefits were not extensively used, COBRA may not be necessary. 

Why Do So Many People Not Have Dental Insurance?

Many people do not have dental insurance due to factors such as lack of coverage for routine dental care under Medicare, affordability issues, limited access to public insurance programs like Medicaid, job loss or change, and lack of awareness about available options. Geographic disparities and cultural factors can also contribute to the lack of dental insurance coverage. 

Why Is Dental Care So Unaffordable?

The high cost of dental care can be attributed to high overhead costs, education and training expenses for dentists, the complexity of procedures, the involvement of insurance companies, limited competition in some areas, technological advancements, and the distinction between preventive and restorative care. These factors contribute to the overall expenses of running a dental practice and can result in higher prices for patients. However, it’s essential to prioritize regular check-ups and preventive care to maintain oral health and explore options such as dental insurance, discount plans, and community clinics to make dental care more affordable.


Dental insurance plans aim to provide timely access to care for dental emergencies. To get dental insurance, check if your employer offers coverage, explore the Health Insurance Marketplace, research private providers, assess your dental care needs, and review plan details. Consider coverage details like copayments, deductibles, waiting periods, and limitations, while also considering your budget and dental care needs. The best dental insurance plan depends on your needs, financial constraints, and location.


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