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Dental insurance is an insurance policy that covers most of the costs associated with dental care.
Many dental insurance plans cover some portion of the cost of dental procedures like oral surgery, preventive care services, crowns, fillings, and root canals. They allow people to properly budget for maintaining a healthy smile.
The dental costs to be covered typically vary depending on the dental insurance plan. For example, some dental insurance plans do not cover cosmetic procedures such as whitening and veneers.
Dental plan benefits differ depending on age. For adults in the U.S.:
Most dental insurance plans are straightforward. Some dental insurances are part of medical insurance plans, while others work as a stand-alone policy.
A dental insurance waiting period is how long new members must wait before getting full coverage for certain dental procedures. Waiting periods vary depending on an individual’s plan.
They can range from months to over a year. These periods mean some dental procedures (like major services) may not be covered immediately.
Dental insurance waiting periods are particularly for major dental work and basic services. Almost all dental plans cover preventive services, like cleanings and X-rays, right away.
Some dental insurance plans have no waiting periods. However, waiting periods might benefit you because they help minimize dental insurance costs.3
Some insurance plans have a 6-month waiting period to prevent patients from receiving costly dental services immediately. Without a waiting period, new members can drop dental coverage shortly after receiving costly dental treatment, increasing premiums for both parties.
Typically, waiting periods are for major dental work and basic services. You and your family can still receive dental services like examinations and x-rays, as dental plans for these preventive procedures typically do not require waiting periods.
If you're looking for a dental insurance plan with no waiting period, here are some recommendations:
Spirit Dental offers eight policies with no waiting period. There are also more than 111,000 providers that accept this insurance. This means that it's easier for you to find affordable dental care in your area.
It's also easy to get a quote on Spirit's website and see the benefits of each policy. Spirit Dental is highly recommended because they offer a calendar year annual maximum of up to $5,000.
Humana offers various dental insurance plans with no waiting period. They don't require any waiting period for preventative services. You can receive these treatments without delay.
If you subscribe to their plans for longer, you can receive up to 50% coverage for major services. These major services include oral surgery, dentures, and crowns.
Humana also has 335,000 dentist and specialist locations across the U.S., making it easier to find affordable dental care.
Ameritas has more than 425,000 participating providers in their network. They specialize in orthodontics, which is difficult to find in typical dental insurance plans.
If you need braces or other orthodontic procedures, Ameritas will help cover their costs. Dental insurance policies at Ameritas start at 85% but drop to 50% after one year.
Denali Dental offers great coverage for preventative care. Their policy includes four cleanings and two exams annually, which is more than any other dental insurance company.
According to their website, you will get coverage on the 1st and 15th of the month. In addition, Denali Dental offers the option of increasing annual maximums. They also offer a $6000 annual maximum for their plans.
With UnitedHealthcare, you can receive excellent coverage for different dental procedures. This company doesn't require any waiting period for basic care and preventative care.
With UnitedHealthcare's affordable monthly premiums, you don't have to worry about paying out-of-pocket expenses. The dental plans are available in most states, but their features will vary depending on your zip code.
If you want dental insurance that offers dental benefits immediately, seek those with no waiting periods, such as DHMO plans or dental insurance for veterans.6
Below are some options for those seeking dental insurance with no waiting period:
While Dental Preferred Provider Organization (DPPO) plans usually involve waiting periods, most Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) plans don’t involve that.
DHMO is a type of plan where a dentist agrees to render services to a patient as an in-network provider at a reduced cost. This type of plan usually has no maximum and no deductible.
The Veterans Affairs Dental Insurance Program (VADIP) allows providers to offer veterans special dental insurance plans with no waiting periods.
About two-thirds of American citizens obtained private dental coverage. About 90 percent obtained their benefits through an employer or other group programs like the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).5
Dental insurance plans offered by some employers do not have waiting periods. Contact your workplace HR department and find out if your employer’s group plan lets you enjoy your coverage immediately.
Eligibility for dental insurance with no waiting period will depend on the insurance plan and company.
Some insurance companies might waive waiting periods for certain services if you have an existing dental insurance plan for 12 or more consecutive months.
Dental plans with no waiting periods are ideal for patients who need to undergo major dental work or those putting off dental health care due to costs.
You can choose a dental insurance plan based on the dentists you can afford or want to work with. For instance, you can choose one of the less expensive dental plans. This works if you already have a dentist you want to work with that is part of the insurance company network.
If you don’t have any dentist in mind, you can choose any dentist in the insurance company network. You also have the option of opting for a less expensive plan.
If you are seeing a dentist who is not in the dental insurance company's network, you can still get out-of-network insurance coverage with dental benefits. However, you might have to pay significantly more to see the dentist than one registered with the dental insurance network.
Some alternatives to dental insurance include
Dental savings plans work like membership subscriptions, where you pay for one-year access to dental services at significantly reduced rates.
Benefits of dental savings plans include affordability to meet your needs and budgets, no paperwork, and no caps or limits.
You can also opt for discount dental plans such as Delta Dental Patient Direct, which has no paperwork to file and no waiting period. This plan only requires that an enrollee pays the discounted fee to the dentist at the time of treatment.2
Prevention is always better than fixing an existing condition. Taking care of your teeth and gums is one way to cut dental costs.
Brush your teeth twice daily, floss before bed, and rinse with mouthwash. Also, make sure you get professional dental cleanings twice a year.
Like charitable organizations, charitable dental clinics will enable you to get dental care at a low cost. The clinic can be provided by your community or staffed by dentist volunteers.
Some dental practices offer patients an in-office plan that takes a certain percentage off services. They also give you a set amount of treatments that are included each year (like two cleanings and two exams).
You will find different health centers offering dental services in different parts of the country.
Visiting health centers that receive funding from the federal government might help you cut costs as they usually charge affordable rates.4
Dental insurance with no waiting periods offers coverage for dental procedures immediately. You can choose from various insurance companies and networks to find the best fit for your budget and needs.
If you can't get insurance, consider alternative options like discount dental plans.
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