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Dental insurance helps you avoid paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for various types of dental care. You’ll also find that dental insurance premiums are often more affordable than health insurance premiums.
Dental insurance can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs for dental care, depending on the type of coverage you select. Most dental insurance providers contract with dentist offices nationwide to reduce the costs of preventive, basic, and major services.
Most dental insurance plans cover preventive dental services like annual exams and cleanings. Only a select number of dental plans extend coverage to major dental procedures.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the top dental insurance plans for major dental work. Expect to pay a higher premium but receive more significant benefits for major dental care.
Humana serves over 20 million members and a broad network of over 330,000 dentists.1 Choose from plans such as:
The Dental Loyalty Plus PPO plan is best for major dental work. You can visit any dentist you want. There are no waiting periods for any service, so coverage starts immediately.
The Humana Dental Loyalty Plus plan covers the following:
This Humana plan covers preventive services in full. Humana increases benefits with each year you hold dental insurance. Coverage percentages and annual maximums increase by the third year.
Humana covers basic dental services:
Major service coverage is:
In addition, orthodontia for adults and children is subject to a potential discount.2
Annual maximums start at $1,000 per person in the first year, $1,250 in the second, and $1,500 in the third.
Costs vary depending on your age and location. The average nationwide Humana premium is around $40 monthly.
Delta Dental serves over 80 million customers. One of the largest dental insurance companies, it offers DHMO and PPO plans. However, the DeltaCare USA plan is the best choice for major dental work.3
DeltaCare USA features no deductibles or annual maximums. This DHMO plan has the benefit of transparent costs. Fixed copayments allow you to budget precisely for a dental procedure based on the following ranges:
This Delta Dental plan offers broad coverage without waiting periods. You must choose a primary care dentist from a smaller network of providers. However, your monthly premium is lower.
MetLife’s Veterans Affairs Dental Insurance Program (VADIP) plan lets you access over 500,000 dentists.4 You must be enrolled in a Veterans Affairs healthcare program to qualify for this dental insurance policy. There are no waiting periods for preventive, basic, and major dental procedures.
Choose between Basic and High policies within the VADIP. The MetLife Basic policy costs under $35 for individuals, with an annual maximum of $1,300 in the first year. MetLife increases the annual maximum to $1,500 in the second year.
In-network preventive care is of no cost to you. There are no annual deductibles for in-network dental care. Coverage is as follows:
MetLife covers out-of-network care at a lower percentage. The out-of-network is $50 for MetLife’s Basic and High dental insurance policies.
This top-tier policy mirrors the Basic option, adding orthodontic coverage. Premiums are under $75 monthly. Annual maximums are $3,000 in the first year and $3,500 in the second.
MetLife’s High dental insurance policy covers 50% of orthodontic care for young adults under 19. However, you must wait 24 months before coverage kicks in.
Guardian Direct works with over 120,000 dentists.5 This dental insurance carrier offers several plans, but the Achiever and Diamond tiers cover most major dental services.
The Achiever plan starts at $29 monthly and offers the following coverage:
You must wait 12 months before the coverage for major services kicks in. Otherwise, preventive and basic dental services have no waiting period.
The annual maximum increases by $250 yearly. It starts at $1,000 in the first year and increases to $1,500 in the third. In-network care has no deductible, while out-of-network services have a $50 deductible.
Guardian Direct’s Achiever plan covers orthodontics at 50% with a 12-month waiting period for children under 19. Any orthodontic care is subject to a $500 yearly maximum and a $1,000 lifetime maximum. Dental implants have a similar $1,000 lifetime maximum.
If you want the benefits of the Achiever plan with the addition of teeth whitening, the Diamond plan offers 50% coverage. However, there is a 6-month waiting period for this service. Teeth whitening services have a $50 deductible and a $500 yearly maximum.
Guardian Direct Diamond plans start at $37 monthly. Coverage for basic services increases from 70% to 80%. Aside from teeth whitening coverage, this percentage demonstrates the only difference between the Diamond and Achiever plans.
We recommend Ameritas’ Primestar Access plan for major dental work.6 This plan gives you access to over 100,000 dentists and several key benefits, including:
Ameritas’ Primestar Access plan coverage increases in the second year of ownership. This plan covers basic dental services at 65% in the first year and 80% in the second year. Major services begin at 20% and increase to 50% in the second year. Ameritas includes teeth whitening in the major dental services category.
Orthodontic coverage is low at 15% in the first year. However, the second year increases to 50% coverage, with a $1,000 lifetime maximum. Annual maximums are $1,000 in the first year and $2,000 in the second.
Costs range between $30 and $50, depending on your age and living location. Ameritas also reduces coverage for all out-of-network dental care.
In exchange for a monthly or annual premium, dental insurance companies cover a portion of the costs associated with dental care. You can obtain dental insurance from your employer or as an individual.
Dental insurance providers typically cover a percentage of the total cost of care:
Most dental insurance plans include the following features:
You can often receive discounts by bundling your dental and vision insurance plans.
We can break down dental insurance costs into several categories:
Most monthly dental insurance premiums and yearly deductibles are inversely proportional. With higher premiums come lower deductibles and vice versa.
Most dental insurance plans cover the following basic dental procedures:
Dental insurance plans typically classify the following as major dental procedures:
Dental insurance providers typically classify cosmetic procedures as separate services. Services like teeth whitening, orthodontia, and Invisalign treatments may only be partially covered.
Distinguishing between dental insurance plans can be challenging, especially considering available options. Here are a few factors to consider to help you choose the best dental insurance plan for major dental work.
Dental insurance plans typically fall under one of the following categories:7
DHMO and PPO dental insurance plans are typically best for major dental work. DHMO plans can help you find a specialist if necessary, while PPO plans give you more freedom in choosing who you see.
Find premiums and deductibles you can handle that balance well with annual and lifetime maximums. While you may have to pay more upfront, the best dental insurance plans for major work cover most of your costs after this initial amount.
Most dental plans that cover a large portion of major dental work offer preventive coverage. If you don’t want to pay in full for orthodontia, teeth whitening, or Invisalign, seek policies covering these services.
Establishing a relationship with a dentist can help you overcome the fear of the dentist’s chair. However, it’s often easier to find a plan that suits you if you aren’t loyal to a specific dentist's office.
A proactive approach can help you obtain timely dental care coverage. Establishing a policy early on can help you get any waiting periods out of the way and cover more of any future dental care necessary.
Immediate care is often a priority for major dental work. Aim for policies that offer coverage for major services in 6 months or less. Waiting any longer could potentially threaten your overall health with complications due to heart disease or diabetes.8
Look for dental insurance carriers with an excellent customer service team. Coverage for major dental work can get complicated, so it helps to have a dedicated team ready to assist you.
Dental insurance costs anywhere from under $20 to over $100 monthly. Rates will depend on the type of coverage you select, where you live, and if you choose an individual or family plan.
Dental insurance can be worth it for preventive dental services and major dental work. Comprehensive dental insurance plans offer significant coverage for extensive dental work to help reduce your overall out-of-pocket costs.
Dental insurance plans can cover implants if you select the appropriate coverage. Most dental insurance plans that cover major dental work (which includes implants) typically cover up to 50% of the total costs with a specific maximum benefit amount.
Full coverage dental insurance offers superior coverage for most types of dental care. Beyond basic preventive services, full coverage dental insurance extends to major dental procedures like implants, braces, and dentures.
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