Updated on February 1, 2024
13 min read

Best Dental Insurance for Kids

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A child’s oral health correlates with their quality of life and overall health. Common dental issues, like cavities, can interfere with developing habits such as speaking and eating.1

As your child grows, their teeth will change frequently. You’ll need to take them to the dentist regularly to:2

  • Ensure their mouth is developing normally
  • Prevent problems like tooth decay
  • Teach them to care for their teeth

Dental insurance can help you access affordable, regular dental care for your children. Oral healthcare is an essential health benefit. Insurance can reduce costs for routine and emergency care.

Choosing a plan for your child can be confusing. We’ve researched the best pediatric dental insurance to help you make the best choice. 

Top 5 Dental Insurance Plans for Kids

We’ve picked our top five pediatric dental plans based on the following criteria:

  • Cost of premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance
  • Key features or benefits
  • Restrictions and waiting periods
  • Availability of in-network providers

You and your child’s needs may vary. We’ve selected a few dental plans that stand out for different reasons. Always investigate the details of a plan more closely to see if it’s right for your family.

1. Best for Growing Families — Humana

Humana is a major insurance carrier in the U.S. We recommend it for families because its plans offer dental coverage that expands as children age. They have different needs at different ages, so Humana keeps you covered as your family grows.

Humana Dental offers three plans with different price points and coverage. For a family plan, we recommend the Loyalty Plus tier. 

Some key features of Loyalty Plus include:

  • No copays
  • No waiting periods
  • Increasing annual benefit maximum (starts at $1,000 per person per year and increases to $1,500 by year three)
  • The percentage paid for basic and major services increases until year 3
  • Provider network of 335,000 providers nationwide
  • Premium starts at $28/month

2. Best for Budget — Guardian Dental

You can still access adequate dental insurance with a tighter budget. Guardian Dental is our top choice for affordable plans. 

They have four plan options at different price points. Their cheapest plan, the Starter, has a monthly premium of $15. However, we believe the best family dental plan comes with the Achiever plan at $29 a month.

On Guardian Dental’s Achiever plan, you get:

  • Increasing annual maximums up to year 3 (exceptions for orthodontia and dental implants)
  • $0 deductible for in-network preventative care
  • No waiting period for preventive or basic care
  • 50% coverage on orthodontia (after a 12-month waiting period)

3. Best for Supplemental Coverage — Delta Dental

Delta Dental is a popular insurance provider that exclusively offers dental plans. We think it’s ideal if you already have health insurance and need to add a separate dental plan.

Another advantage of Delta Dental is its wide variety of plans, including PPO, HMO, managed fee for service, and discount plans. 

We suggest the Delta Dental PPO Plus Premier, which offers:

  • An extensive provider network
  • A family aggregate deductible
  • Orthodontic coverage
  • 100% coverage of child-specific preventive care

However, the monthly premium for this plan may be higher than the other options. 


4. Best for Veterans — MetLife


MetLife sells many types of insurance: life, home and auto, disability, vision, and dental. You can purchase a dental plan directly from them or receive MetLife through your employer.

We like MetLife for veterans and their families because they offer a veteran-specific plan. Their Veteran Dental Plan offers a Standard and High option, depending on your budget. 

We recommend the High option for families since it only covers orthodontia. It also offers:

  • No-cost preventative care
  • A $3,000 annual maximum per person
  • $0 deductible for in-network basic, intermediate, and major services
  • Orthodontia coverage at 50% for members aged 19 and under

The drawback of the plan is that the waiting period for orthodontia is exceptionally long, at 24 months. However, there are no waiting periods for any other services.

5. Best for Flexibility — UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is a major insurance carrier that provides health insurance, dental, and vision. We think it’s the most flexible option because you can bundle plans together or buy dental coverage as a supplement.

Another advantage of UnitedHealthcare is how widely accepted it is. The carrier has a vast network of providers across the country.

For dental insurance, you can choose from four tiers of plans. We recommend one of the Primary Preferred plans because it includes major services, such as oral surgery. 

It also features:

  • 100% coverage for preventative care
  • Increasing coverage in the first three years
  • $1,000 annual maximum
  • Option to use any provider in the country

The major drawback of a UnitedHealthcare dental plan is that none of them include orthodontic services. If you anticipate your child needing braces, you should shop at a different provider.

Calculate your dental savings now with a DentalPlans plan. Visit DentalPlans.

What is the Average Cost of Dental Insurance for Kids?

The monthly premium for dental insurance ranges from $15 to $70. 

It depends on several factors, including:

  • What the plan offers
  • Which insurance provider you choose
  • Where you live
  • What type of policy you have

Your monthly premium isn’t the only out-of-pocket expense. Other costs will be associated with your insurance plan:

  • Deductible — The deductible is how much you must pay out of pocket before your benefits kick in. It’s often around $50 for an individual or $150 for families.
  • Copay — Some plans have a copay or an upfront fee for when you access a service. The amount varies widely between $10 for basic services to hundreds of dollars for major procedures.
  • Coinsurance — After you meet your deductible, you’ll be responsible for coinsurance, or a percentage of the cost. Coinsurance typically ranges between 20% and 60% for basic services.
  • Annual Maximum — Most plans have an annual maximum benefit or the amount they’re willing to cover in a year. The maximum ranges between $1,000 and $1,500 per person. It may change depending on how long you’ve had the plan.
Monthly PremiumDeductibleCopayCoinsuranceAnnual Maximum
Humana$18 to $44+$50 per individual, $150 per familyN/A0% for preventative, 20-50% for basic after deductible, 50-80% for major $1,000 to $1,500 per person
Guardian Dental$15 to $37+$0 for preventative, $50 for all other dental services$0 for preventative; other copays may apply0-20% for preventative, 20-50% for basic, 50% for major$500 to $1,500 per person
Delta Dental$24.21 to $61$50 per individual, $150 per family$0 for most basic services; other copays may apply0% for preventative and emergency, 20-50% for basic, up to 50% for major and orthodontiaNo maximum on most services; $1,000 per person on specialty services
MetLife for Veterans $26 to $180$0 in networkN/A0% for preventative and basic, 50-70% for major, 50% for orthodontia $1,000 to $3,500 per person
United Healthcare$23.50 to $46.11+$50 per personN/A0% for preventative, 35% for basic after 1st year, 50% for major after 1st year$1,000 per person

Why is Dental Insurance Important for Kids?

Oral health directly impacts overall health for people of all ages.3 Children may be especially vulnerable since their mouths are still developing.

According to the American Dental Association, children should visit the dentist by age one or when their first baby tooth emerges.4 

Without proper dental attention, children may face oral health issues that interfere with their quality of life. Tooth decay, also called dental caries or cavities, is the most common dental disease in early childhood. 

Left untreated, tooth decay can lead to:5

  • Pain and infections
  • Trouble speaking, eating, playing, and learning
  • Abscesses that can spread through the body

Both routine and emergency services can be expensive. Dental insurance can make accessing care for your child more affordable. Studies show that people with insurance are 17% more likely to access dental care than people without it.6

Consider purchasing pediatric dental insurance if it enables you to get your family the care they need.

Tired of paying full price for dental work? Save with Discount Dental Plans. Learn more here or call (833) 704-2246

What to Look for in Kids’ Dental Insurance?

With so many choices on the market, it’s essential to understand how to evaluate dental insurance plans. You should look at several key features of each plan:

Coverage

You’ll want a plan that covers everything your child might need. Preventative and diagnostic care and basic services (cavity fillings, tooth extractions) are necessary for children of all ages.

Provider Network

Ensure that providers in your area accept the insurance. If you want to visit a pediatric or family dentist, do specific searches for specialty providers in the network.

Cost

Evaluate the monthly premium, copays, coinsurance, and other related expenses. 

Waiting Periods

Some insurance plans have waiting periods that must pass before you can access dental benefits. 

Preventative services are usually immediately accessible, with waiting periods for major services or orthodontia. If you need a particular benefit fast, check the related waiting period.

Maximum Benefit Limits

Most plans have an annual maximum benefit or the amount the provider will spend on a person in a year. Double-check the annual maximum if you expect to need significant or expensive services in a year.

Orthodontia or Oral Surgery

If you have teenagers, you may need to consider adding benefits for orthodontia (braces or clear aligners) and oral surgery (wisdom teeth removal). Not every dental plan covers these services, so check the details carefully.

Best Alternative: Dental Savings Plans for Kids

Dental insurance plans aren’t the only way to save money and ensure access to dental care for your children. One alternative is buying a dental savings plan (or a dental discount plan).

With dental insurance, there’s a monthly premium to have part or all of the costs of care covered by your insurance carrier. On a dental savings plan, you pay a monthly or annual fee to get discounts on services from participating providers. There are no copays, coinsurance, or annual maximums.

A dental discount plan can save you money if insurance is out of your budget. It’s also a smart option if you don’t anticipate visiting the dental office frequently in a year.

How Dental Savings Plans Work

You can purchase a dental savings plan online at DentalPlans.com or directly from other carriers. Signing yourself or your family up for one is simple. You’ll have an annual or monthly fee, typically $100 to $200 yearly. 

Once you join, you can access discounted services at any provider who accepts the plan. A participating provider will charge you a flat rate, usually 10 to 60% off their normal rate. You’ll pay them directly instead of going through an insurance carrier.

Dental savings plans are affordable because they require a low annual fee to get discounts when needed. You may save money on an insurance plan’s monthly premium. 

Other positives about dental discount plans include:

  • No waiting periods to access care
  • No limits on what you can spend
  • No restrictions on what type of services apply

Top Dental Savings Plans for Kids

Dental discount plans can help you save money. However, evaluating each plan’s details for its features and benefits is crucial. 

We’ve rounded up the three best dental savings plans for families with children. We’ve chosen them for the variety of plans, discount percentages, and network of participating providers.

1. DentalPlans.com

We recommend using DentalPlans.com to find your perfect dental discount plan. It’s a tool that helps match you with a plan with everything you need.

You can search for plans by:

  • Location
  • Your preferred dentist
  • Desired savings
  • Procedures or services you need

Their website is easy to use. You can compare plans side by side and use their savings calculator to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

DentalPlans.com boasts that their members save an average of 58% on dental work nationwide. 

2. Careington Dental Savings Plan

Careington Dental Savings Plans is another provider of discount plans. They have three tiers of plans to choose from. 

Their most basic plan, the Care POS, starts at $179 yearly for families and offers 20-50% off dental services. The mid-tier plan, the 500 Series, starts at $209 annually for families, with a 20-60% discount range.

Careington’s most sophisticated plan is the 500 Series Plus. It starts at $229 annually for families with 20-60% off services. Additionally, it includes:

  • Telemedicine visits at no extra cost
  • Discounts on prescription medication
  • Discounts on Lasik

You can use Careington’s search tool to find the plans available in your area. You can also search their provider network if you have a preferred dental health practitioner.

3. Aetna Dental Access Plan

Aetna is a primary insurance provider in the US that also offers dental savings plans. Their dental-exclusive plan is called Aetna Dental Access. It starts at $179 per year for families.

The benefits of Aetna Dental Access include:

  • 15 to 50% off most dental services
  • 241,000 participating providers nationwide
  • Savings on braces and cosmetic dentistry
  • Access for full-time student dependents up to age 25

A few states don’t qualify for Aetna Dental Access, including CA, MT, SD, VA, and WA.

You can also purchase a dental savings plan from Aetna that bundles vision or prescription medication benefits.

Dental Insurance vs. Dental Savings Plans for Kids

Dental insurance and dental savings plans are excellent options for affordable dental health care for children. They each have their advantages and drawbacks.

Comparing each option can help you better understand your child’s dental needs.

Dental Insurance for KidsDental Savings Plans for Kids
Averages $15 to $70 a monthAverages $100 to $200 a year
Limits annual maximum insurance will coverNo annual limit on discounts
Preventative care typically covered in fullDiscounted rate for preventative care
Basic or major services covered 20 to 50%Get 15 to 60% off all services
Orthodontia not always coveredOrthodontia qualifies for discounts
Waiting periods may apply for some servicesNo waiting periods for any services

Get the dental care you need at a price you can afford. Find your DentalPlans savings now.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does dental insurance typically cost for kids?

Dental insurance typically costs between $15 and $70 a month. The monthly premium may be higher for families than individuals. 

Other expenses associated with pediatric dental insurance include copays, coinsurance, and deductibles.

What is the best age to add a child to dental insurance?

You should take your child to the dentist around one year old or when their first baby tooth comes in. If you want to use insurance for these visits, add them to your plan before they turn one.

Does Medicaid cover dental for kids?

Yes, Medicaid covers dental for children. If your child is on Medicaid, they will receive preventative care, treatment for pain or infection, and restorative tooth care.

Is dental insurance for kids worth it?

If dental insurance will help you access dental care for your family, it’s worth it. You can also explore dental savings plans as an alternative. 

Does dental insurance cover braces?

Not all plans cover orthodontic treatment like braces. You must specifically select a plan that includes orthodontia. It may cost more than other plans that don’t include it.

Summary

Dental insurance can help you access affordable dental care for your family. Children need ongoing attention as their oral health develops and changes.

Many insurance carriers provide dental plans for families. Our five best plans immediately give you access to preventative care for free. They offer other benefits for major services and orthodontia, low monthly premiums, and broad provider networks.

Every dental insurance plan is different. You must research each plan’s details and choose which makes the most sense for your family. Dental savings plans can make a good alternative if insurance isn’t appropriate for your needs.

Ready for Affordable Dental Care?

DentalPlans makes finding affordable dental care simple. Compare top plans, know your exact costs, and find the perfect dentist near you.

Discover Your Dental Savings Plan Now.

Last updated on February 1, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 1, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Children’s Oral Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2022. 
  2. Why early childhood dental visits are important.” The Center for Pediatric Dentistry, University of Washington, 2023. 
  3. Evans, C. “The Connection Between Oral Health and Overall Health and Well-Being.” The U.S. Oral Health Workforce in the Coming Decade: Workshop Summary, National Library of Medicine, 2009.
  4. Taking care of your child’s smile.” Journal of the American Dental Association, American Dental Association, 2014.
  5. Cavities.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2021.
  6. Black, M. “Nearly Half of Insured Americans Skip Dental Visits, Procedures Due to Cost.” Value Penguin, 2021.
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