Not everybody has dental insurance although it’s often offered by your employer together with the health insurance. A dental insurance covers costs for necessary dental treatments so that you don’t have to pay for them yourself. However, there are many important things to consider before you choose a dental insurance.

The American Dental Association states that still more than half of the US population has no dental insurance coverage. The first source to find out more or get more information about it is your employer. It’s the same in Canada where the public health care system doesn’t cover dental treatments either. Canadians and Americans either have to pay the bills of their dentist themselves or get some kind of dental insurance.

There are many different dental insurance providers and it pays to take a closer look. The first thing you will notice is that most insurance companies have a yearly maximum they are willing to pay. Usually it’s just $1,000 but it should cover the most important and most necessary treatments. If you spend more than $1,000 a year then you have to pay the difference yourself.

With some companies you can’t choose the dentist yourself but have to go to a dentist who is in their network of contracted dentists. If you have a favorite dentists then make sure he is either supported by the insurance or you choose an insurance where you can choose any dentist you want.

Important differences can also be found in the UCR (Usual Customary and Reasonable). The UCR shows you if the insurance has maximum amounts it is willing to pay for certain dental procedures. If for instance the UCR says that for a filling $100 will be paid but your dentist charges $150, then you will have to pay the $50 difference yourself. Insurances which support only certain dentists in their network shouldn’t charge the difference but companies where you can choose the dentist yourself could charge for it.

Another important part in dental insurances is the range of dental procedures covered. Many insurance companies just cover basic, preventive and restorative treatments. The third “major” category which would include crowns, dentures or bridges for example are not covered. Make sure you choose a company with “major” coverage if this is important to you.

When it comes to cosmetic dentistry then very few companies cover the costs for it. Insurance companies simply only cover treatments for which they see clear physical need for it. Cosmetic treatments like tooth whitening or porcelain veneers therefore must be paid by yourself.

What are some of the major differences between dental insurance and discount dental plans?

Some of the characteristics of Dental Insurance include:

  • Limitations, deductibles and annual maximums
  • Waiting periods for major dental procedures
  • Tedious and time-consuming written claims process
  • Limitations/exclusions on pre-existing conditions
  • Certain dental specialties, such as cosmetic dentistry, are rarely covered
  • Consumers pay expensive monthly premiums for defined coverage
  • Typically inaccessible to individuals and families unless provided by their employer

Some of the characteristics of Discount Dental Plans include:

  • No annual limits, members enjoy discounts on most dental services all year long
  • Most plans activate within 1 - 3 business days
  • No tiresome paperwork hassles, plan membership card is presented for discounts on most dental services
  • No health restrictions
  • Select plans include discounts on dental specialties, including cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics
  • Consumers pay affordable membership fees for access to a network of providers offering discounts on most dental procedures
  • Available directly to individuals, families, businesses and groups

In short, discount dental plans are an affordable and easy-to-use alternative to dental insurance, and offer plan members significant savings on most dental procedures.