How to Get the Best Dental Insurance

Choosing an insurance policy can be a lengthy and stressful process. With so many providers and offers on the market, it is often difficult to know which will provide you with the best solution for your personal preferences and afford comprehensive coverage to you and your family.

Finding the right dental insurance can be a particularly tricky endeavor as the terms and regulations surrounding this type are so different when compared to regular health insurance. From coverage limits to out-of-pocket expenses, dental insurance comes in many forms and varieties. To simplify your search, we have put together a complete guide to help you in choosing the best dental insurance for your own individual needs.

What Is Dental Insurance?


dental check up

A Breakdown

In a general sense, dental insurance costs far less in terms of premiums than regular insurance, but this is predominately due to the fact that the policies mainly cover inexpensive precautionary dental visits and treatments. A vast number of dental plans completely cover the costs of any preventative measures like checkups, x-rays, and cleanings. Many cover 80% of general treatments like fillings and 50% of in-depth, expensive procedures like crowns or root canals.


In looking for the best dental insurance, you will need to be aware that most plans only cover more expensive procedures after you have been a member for at least a year. If you are only seeking coverage as an individual, you can usually expect your dental insurance plan to come to an annual fee of $350. Premiums are a bit higher for families, coming in at around $550.


While these may seem to be steep costs for merely precautionary measures, it is important to bear in mind that uninsured costs for the usual bi-annual checkups and x-rays would come to approximately $375 to $400. It is better to be prepared and insured than to have any unwelcome surprises down the road.

Policy Elements

In choosing the best dental insurance, it is important to know that unlike regular health insurance, dental policies do not have substantial coverage limits after you have paid out your deductible. In fact, there is an annual coverage limit that typically comes in at around $1000 to $1500 per year, with a deductible of $50 to $100. While basic exams and x-rays are mostly or entirely covered, as are a fair chunk of more in-depth procedures, there are a few that may not be covered at all.


Procedures like cosmetic dentistry or orthodontia will not be covered. In choosing the best dental insurance, it is crucial to pick a policy that will not place treatment parameters so tightly that you will feel obliged to delay necessary treatment. It is important to be aware of what coverage are allowed so that you can plan accordingly to select the best dental insurance option for you and any dependent family members.

Factors to Look Out For


Finding the Best Dental Insurance


Individual vs. Group Coverage

The first thing you should be aware of when choosing dental insurance is whether you are going to need group or individual coverage. Group policies are typically part of your coverage benefits with your employer, or other programs like AARP, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act marketplace policies. The group plans can be far less expensive than individual ones and sometimes have better coverage options. However, the main thing to look out for is whether or not the group plan sponsored by your employer, for example, has sky-high premiums that will make the policy an unviable option for you.

When it comes to individual policies, you may be looking into this option if you are self-employed or chose to opt out of group-sponsored coverage selections. Individual polices do tend to come at a steeper cost and often with fewer benefit offerings. They also typically entail waiting periods if you are looking to have a major dental procedure, so this is definitely a factor to be aware of. The best way to navigate these offerings is to take a look at the policy specifics and price quotes on a particular insurance company's website. You can also talk to an insurance agent with any questions.

Limits and Deductibles

Another element to look out for when choosing the best dental insurance is tight policy limits and exorbitant deductibles. As we touched on previously, most dental policies tap out their annual coverage limits around $1000 to $1500. This means that any dental costs beyond those limits will need to be paid out-of-pocket. As most crowns cost anywhere from $750 to $1200 and one implant starts around $1500, those limits can be used up before you know it.

The majority of insurance plans have deductibles for your out-of-pocket expenses that must be paid before their actual coverage kicks in. These are usually minimal at around $50 per person and $150 for a family. Be wary of any deductibles that go too far above these numbers. Another point to look out for is relevant if you are looking to purchase an insurance “bundle”, combining your health and dental policies. The issue here, is that sometimes the deductibles are not separated.

Health insurance plans usually have thousands of dollars of deductibles before policy coverage activates, which could be very bad news for your dental care if deductibles are combined. As a rule of thumb, unless you are going to be having substantial foreseen medical expenses that would whittle down your deductible, keep your dental policy separate, just to be safe.


dental concept insurance

A Breakdown

In a general sense, dental insurance costs far less in terms of premiums than regular insurance, but this is predominately due to the fact that the policies mainly cover inexpensive precautionary dental visits and treatments. A vast number of dental plans completely cover the costs of any preventative measures like checkups, x-rays, and cleanings. Many cover 80% of general treatments like fillings and 50% of in-depth, expensive procedures like crowns or root canals.


In looking for the best dental insurance, you will need to be aware that most plans only cover more expensive procedures after you have been a member for at least a year. If you are only seeking coverage as an individual, you can usually expect your dental insurance plan to come to an annual fee of $350. Premiums are a bit higher for families, coming in at around $550.


While these may seem to be steep costs for merely precautionary measures, it is important to bear in mind that uninsured costs for the usual bi-annual checkups and x-rays would come to approximately $375 to $400. It is better to be prepared and insured than to have any unwelcome surprises down the road.

Unforeseen Costs

A final factor to look out for when choosing the best dental insurance is to identify what exactly is covered in the policy you are examining. For example, if you or your child are going to be needing braces or bridges, make sure the plan offers coverage for these procedures. The coverage amount that meets another person’s needs might be insufficient for you, so take a look to make sure the amounts fit in with your individual situation.


Large-scale restorative treatments or procedures are often covered minimally or not at all across the board. As such, if you are going to be needing substantial restorative procedures performed, you may want to consider a dental savings plan. For individuals who do not have insurance, and do not mind paying an annual fee for a discount of 10% to 60% off typical plan rates, this could be a viable alternative. Otherwise, it is usually best to locate the best dental insurance offering that works for you to ensure you stay covered year round.

Know Your Budget

The first step to finding the best dental insurance for you and/or your family is to know your budget. This is an individual decision and requires you to examine exactly how much money you are able to spend in a given month for your dental plan.

If you are satisfied with paying higher premiums in order to receive a lower deductible, you would choose a far different policy than if you preferred a large deductible and minimal monthly payments. Look into individual PPO plans that usually have more affordable rate offerings. Discounted dental plans are an option as well.

Check Providers

The next crucial element to remember when choosing dental insurance is what providers are included in your network. It is always a good idea to make sure you have a long list of the providers approved for coverage within your dental plan so that you have multiple options to choose from.


This allows you to select a dentist that fits with your needs and preferences rather than being forced to select one simply because of network limitations. Alternatively, if you have a family dentist you have been going to for some time and would like to continue seeking treatment from, a list will help you ascertain whether they are a covered provider or not.

Note Exclusions

We briefly touched upon the importance of knowing what your policy covers and what it does not, but this point cannot be stressed enough. If your teeth are not in mint condition or you have had issues with them in the past, make sure your policy does not exclude crucial procedures that you could anticipate needing down the road. If something is excluded, you might need to move on and look at a different plan with higher coverage limits.


One of the simplest ways to help of choosing an insurance plan is to read the policy carefully before making your final selection. Low premiums do not always equal an optimal policy, so read and reread before applying your signature and locking yourself into a plan that does not meet your personal needs.

dentist

Final Thoughts

It takes consideration and effort to choose the best dental insurance. Pay attention to the policy details and ask questions if you are not sure what something means. You can find much of the necessary information on insurers' websites, but it is never a bad idea to consult an insurance professional for curated guidance. Take the time to do your research. In taking these steps and assessing your own unique situation and healthcare needs, you will be able to select the best dental insurance plan to provide you comprehensive care to maintain your oral health.