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Is Dental Insurance Worth It?

Last modified: Jul 25, 2023

For those looking for financial and medical protection when they visit the dentist and need dental work done, in an emergency or not, it’s useful to have the right dental insurance coverage. 

There are various types of dental insurance, and costs vary depending on age, location, and more. 

Therefore, understanding the ins and outs of dental insurance will help you decide if it’s worth it.

What Is Dental Insurance?

Dental insurance covers your dental work, emergency or not. Without dental insurance, you will have to pay for all procedures out of pocket.

Seeking insurance before you attend the dentist will ensure you can obtain the best deal and get the right coverage for your procedures. Because even if you have access to free dental care, you might still be obliged to pay fees. 

Dental Insurance Explained

It’s important to note that not all dental insurance policies are the same. For example, some will cover only basic procedures, while others will cover emergencies worldwide.

How to Get Dental Insurance

You can find a multitude of the best dental insurance policies online, where you can choose the right plan for your needs.

There are different types of plans you can go for:

  • Employer-sponsored plans

Many employers will offer you complimentary dental insurance as a part of employee benefits from the company. 

  • Individual/family plans

Should you need to obtain the insurance yourself or find a better deal as a family, there is plenty of individual or family plans. 

  • Comprehensive coverage

A comprehensive insurance plan may be best for those seeking coverage for more dental procedures (as opposed to basic care). It can cover various procedures: from bridges to root canals.

How Does Dental Insurance Work?

Getting dental insurance will help lower the cost of your dental care. This is how it works:

  1. Pay a premium. You will need to pay a premium for dental insurance covered by you or your employer. 
  2. Pay the dentist first. Most dental insurance plans require you to pay the dentist first before getting the money back from the insurer.
  3. Choose a primary dentist. You might be required to choose a primary dentist for your plan to work. Or, you might need to use practitioners within a certain network of practices to be eligible for the coverage. Keep this in mind before using various dentists, as you might not be covered by all.
  4. Limited coverage. Some dental insurance plans might only cover you for a specific period of time. For instance, your plan might only cover you for 12 treatments.
  5. Deductibles. Some dental insurance plans will involve deductibles, which must be paid before your plan kicks in.

Is Dental Insurance Worth It?

For those wondering if it is cheaper to have dental insurance than pay cash, it really depends on your needs. 

Insurance may cover you should something go wrong with your treatment, which might result in needing further treatment. 

However, in some cases, such as standard check-ups, it might cost you less to pay cash as opposed to a monthly insurance policy fee. 

What Does Dental Insurance Cover?

There are various dental insurance coverage plans available. 

Knowing what the dental insurance plan covers before you buy it is essential to make sure you won’t get into financial trouble when trying to take good care of your oral health. 

There is full coverage dental insurance available, which includes:

  • Basic care: teeth polishing, check-ups, and X-rays
  • Dental treatment: all kinds of treatment from fillings and root canals to dentures and crowns
  • Orthodontic treatment: maintainers, braces, and other teeth straightening devices
  • Emergency care: urgent treatment can be covered in full coverage plans 
  • Dental injuries: may be covered under a full coverage insurance plan
  • Oral cancer services: may be covered by some plans

Note that it’s best to check what your plan includes and tailor it to your needs to get the most out of it. 

Dental insurance is not covered by health insurance as it is an entirely different coverage. 

What Does Normal Dental Insurance Cover?

Should patients choose a standard insurance cover plan, it will likely cover:

  • Routine work: check-ups, cleaning, and standard procedures.
  • Emergency treatment: urgent dental care.

Again, read through the terms and conditions to know exactly what is covered, as each plan is different. 

What Does Dental Insurance Not Cover?

As noted, dental insurance plans differ from practice to practice. 

In general, dental insurance does not cover cosmetic dental procedures such as veneers and teeth whitening, as these types of treatments are not considered medically necessary.

Dental Insurance for Dentures, Braces, and Bridges

Dentures, braces, and bridges are other types of dental treatment that are not deemed medically necessary. However, dentists will advise these treatments (more so than cosmetic work) to enhance the appearance and function of your teeth. So, you can find insurance plans that cover them. 

The best dental insurance for major denture work can be obtained from Delta Dental, where you can find full coverage dental plans with no waiting period. You can start your treatment right away and be covered from the get-go.

Cost of Dental Insurance

The average cost of dental insurance is around $360 per year. However, plans vary depending on the coverage you choose, so prices differ between $15 to $50 a month. 

Furthermore, the average cost might differ for certain groups of people due to age and/or location:

  • Seniors: around $29 per month.
  • Employees: between $14 and $30 per month.
  • Family of four: $112 per month. 

Examples of the average price difference depending on location:

  • Canada: between $30 and $60 per month.
  • California: between $20 and $50 per month.

The average cost of dental insurance truly does depend on age, location, employment, and group discounts.

Dental Insurance for Retirement

For those wondering if dental insurance is worth it in retirement, the answer is yes. Every senior will need just as much dental care as a younger individual. 

The best dental insurance for those in retirement will be any that includes dentures, bridges, preventative, and emergency care. 

In Conclusion

Now you know the answer to the question, “Is dental insurance worth it?” and can decide for yourself whether or not to obtain it. 

Although you might not need constant dental care, it is good to have coverage when you need it. In addition, most plans include emergency coverage, which could be useful at any time. It will save you money when paying for your dental care and treatments in the future.

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