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When shopping for dental insurance plans, it's crucial to evaluate the amount of coverage each plan provides. This will help you decide whether or not it suits your needs and budget.

Because so many dental insurance providers exist in the current market, finding the right one can be difficult. For this reason, we've reviewed and highlighted six of the best plans available.

Dental Insurance Explained

Dental insurance is a type of insurance that covers dental care. The scope of coverage varies from one insurance company to another. For example, a dental insurance plan may cover an individual, a family, or a group, such as employees. 

Insurance companies typically provide coverage for dental services as standalone policies. However, some providers incorporate dental plans in other insurance coverages as or as part of single medical plans. Dental care insurance plans also vary in prices and services covered. 

Types of Dental Plans

A dental insurance plan falls into one of these three categories:

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

A preferred provider organization is a network-based dental insurance plan. In this plan, dental networks determine their fees with a health insurance company. The insurer then creates a dental plan that best suits the clients' needs and the dentists' fees. 

Dental PPO networks comprise a variety of dental specialists. This provides numerous dentists to choose from.

The wide networks also make the dental plans flexible enough to accommodate people with varying dental needs.

Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO)

Dental Health Maintenance Organization dental plans are also network-based. Some restrict users to specific living areas. As a result, they are less costly and tailored for more diverse groups.

DHMOs are payable in monthly or annual premiums and cover various services. Some of the services are free. Other plans may require you to pay part of the dental care costs involved.

Indemnity Dental Plans

Indemnity dental plans are generally cost-effective even though they are pricier. They are less popular than PPO or DHMO dental plans. Under these plans, the insurer pays a percentage of the covered dental procedure cost.

In addition, some of these plans cover preventive care and diagnostic services at low or no cost.

An indemnity dental plan doesn't come with a network. This means you are free to see any dentist of your choice. You will also need to pay the fees upfront and file claims directly with your dental insurance company. 

Dental Insurance Benefits Explained 

The benefits of insurance plans for dental services include:

Manageable Costs of Dental Services

Dental insurance plans reduce the cost of some dental services that may otherwise be outside your immediate budget. They come in handy during emergency cases and cater to minor and major procedures. 

No Costs for Preventive Services

Many plans cover most preventive dental insurance benefits at no cost to you. These services include routine checkups, examinations, teeth cleaning, and teeth X-rays, among others. Some may also provide pediatric preventive dental care for children.

Improved General Health

Your oral health reveals information about your general health. If your dental insurance health plan covers routine checkups, the dentist may check your throat, gums, and mouth for infections and other issues. A professional dentist can detect signs of over 120 diseases by merely examining your mouth. 

How to Purchase Dental Insurance Health Plan

Your employer may offer dental insurance coverage as part of your employment benefit. In this case, you can apply for the dental plan when it becomes available. Then, you can choose dental insurance coverage that works for you. 

The other option is to apply for dental coverage on your own. You can do this if you are not employed or your employer doesn't offer this benefit. You can find dental coverage through the state's health insurance program or through a private insurance company.  

What Does Dental Insurance Cover?

Although dental insurance plans vary, they generally cover:

Preventive Dental Care

Most dental insurance policies cover preventive dental care services at no cost to you. These services include dental examinations, X-rays, and a cleaning every 6 months. Children may also be covered for sealants and fluoride. 

Orthodontic Care

Some dental insurance policies also cover orthodontic treatments. These include braces and clear aligners. These treatments correct malposition teeth and bite lines.

Orthodontic care is costly if paid out-of-pocket. Most dental insurance plans agree to pay a portion of the costs incurred during orthodontic care to help their clients save money.

Restorative Care 

Restorative treatments include tooth extractions, fillings, crowns, bridges, dentures, and more. Many dental insurance plans also cover partial costs incurred during these procedures.

What Doesn’t Dental Insurance Cover?

Dental insurance plans don't cover any dental cosmetic procedures. These include veneers and teeth whitening procedures. They may also not cover the cost of orthodontic appliances. These include braces, aligners, or retainers.

6 Best Dental Insurance Plans

We have compiled a list of the best insurance plans. Criteria are based on their network sizes and how well they accommodate different needs and budgets. 

Here are the six best dental insurance plans:

1. Best Overall: Cigna

Cigna dental insurance has several dental plans for different budgets and needs. It also has a broad network of nationwide dentists. This enables users to seek dental treatment from various locations and still receive coverage.

In addition, Cigna offers up to $1,500 for dental health coverage.

Pros 
  • Offers 15% discount on monthly premiums for any additional member on the same plan
  • Zero copays and deductibles for dental cleaning, routine X-rays, and more
  • Has over 93,000 dentists in more than 297,000 locations across the U.S. 
Cons
  • Some supplemental health insurance policies cannot be combined with the basic health insurance policy 

2. Best for No Waiting Periods: Spirit Dental

Spirit Dental has 16 dental coverage policies and a limit of up to $5,000 after 3 years. In addition, there's no waiting period before coverage. You only pay a $100 deductible per year.

Although Spirit Dental plans have an annual coverage maximum of $750, they cover three dental cleaning services and two dental exams annually.

Pros
  • No waiting period
  • Guaranteed acceptance
  • Covers dental implants and major dental care services
  • You can add vision insurance for an additional $7 a month 
Cons
  • Annual coverage maximum is as low as $750

3. Best Low-Budget Plan: Humana 

Humana provides six policies to its clients. This coverage is best for individuals searching for low-budget dental coverage with basic plans. All six Humana policies cover 100% preventive care costs. Humana has a nationwide network of over 335,000 dentists.

Pros
  • No waiting periods for most dental care plans
  • Wide network of dentists
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Annual coverage maximum is as low as $1,000

4. Best for Seniors: Physicians Mutual Insurance

Physicians Mutual provides dental coverage for seniors and offers three different plans: Preferred Plus, Standard Plus, and Economy Plus.

Users have a 3-month waiting period before acquiring coverage for basic procedures. Physicians Mutual also has a 12-month waiting period for major services. 

However, there's no waiting period for preventive care. And, the plan offers no deductibles. Physicians Mutual insurance also has no lifetime limits on preventive care. 

Pros
  • No cover limit for dental care
  • All three plans pay for the same 350+ procedures but only vary in price
  • Has a network of over 500,000 dentists
  • Offers the option to include vision coverage at a small fee
Cons
  • May not be available in some states 
  • Takes longer to cover major services 

5. Best for Orthodontic Care: Delta Dental

Delta Dental includes orthodontic care for children and adults. These plans cover 100% of preventive care and 50% of orthodontic care.

Delta Dental also has over 152,000 dentists in their network across 50 states.  

Pros
  • No copays for preventive dental care on most plans
  • Large network of providers
  • Includes orthodontic care in some plans
  • All applications accepted
  • High annual maximum of up to $5,000
Cons
  • Some plans are not available in every state
  • Downgrades on crowns and fillings

6. Best for Family Dental Care: UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare has ten dental coverage policies to choose from and a coverage limit of $3,000. The UnitedHealthOne policy best suits families, given that it is tailored for orthodontic and preventive care plans. 

Pros 
  • Individual and family-friendly plans
  • No age limits
  • No waiting periods
  • No deductibles on preventive dental care
  • Extra benefits, such as dental, vision, fitness memberships, and a nurse hotline 
Cons
  • Higher-than-average premiums for PPO plans
  • Low maximum dental benefits of around $1,000 per person

Which Dental Plan is Right for You?

The ideal dental plan for you should cater to your dental needs. It should also fall within your budget. 

Opt for plans that cover preventive services, restorative services, and orthodontic care. Also, choose a dental plan that has a wide range of dentists in their networks.

Last updated on April 9, 2022
4 Sources Cited
Last updated on April 9, 2022
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. American Dental Association. “What are the Different Types of Dental Plans?”
  2. American Student Dental Association. “Understanding Dental Insurance.”
  3. Kelsey National Corporation. “Dental Indemnity Plans.”
  4. American Dental Association. “Paying for Dental Care.”
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