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Best Dental Insurance Companies

Dental insurance plans cover a percentage of dental care expenses in exchange for a monthly premium. Dental insurance companies separate dental care services and benefits into various categories, and both dental offices and dental insurance companies have established fees for these services.

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Delta Dental
Read 366 Reviews

Delta Dental has over 60 years of experience covering individuals, groups and employers. The company is one of America's largest insurance companies, providing coverage to more than 59 million people.

Aetna Health Insurance
Read 997 Reviews

Aetna is a large health insurance company founded in 1853 in Hartford, Connecticut. The provide individuals, employers, healthcare professionals and other customers with healthcare and medical services.

Cigna Health Insurance
Read 906 Reviews

Cigna is an insurance company that works with 35,000 employees to provide healthcare products and services to more than 75 million customers. They exist in 30 countries and have been working with patients for over 200 years.

Humana Health Insurance
Read 1,239 Reviews

Based in Kentucky, Humana Health Insurance has over 50 years of experience offering dental plans. No underwriting or pre-enrollment checks are required to qualify for coverage through its network of more than 130,000 dentists.

DentalPlans.com
Read 108 Reviews

DentalPlans.com was formed in 1999 to give more people access to high-quality dental care through multiple plans. Dentists within each plan provide discounts on their services, eliminating the need for insurance companies.

Metlife Dental Insurance
Read 120 Reviews

Founded in 1868 and headquartered in New York, MetLife provides competitively priced dental insurance plans to individuals and families. The company has over 190,000 dentist office locations in its nationwide network.

United Healthcare Dental Insurance
Read 56 Reviews

United Healthcare is one of America's largest providers of individual and family dental insurance plans. It has been recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the top-ranking companies in the insurance and managed care sector.

Aetna Dental Insurance
Read 25 Reviews

Dental benefits and dental insurance plans are available for individuals and families, plus employers, organizations and health care professionals. Features and availability of dental plans vary by location.

DentalWorks
Read 54 Reviews

Since 1989, DentalWorks has built a large network of dentists across 13 states. The company's affiliated dentists are preferred providers for many major dental insurance plans, including Humana and Delta Dental.

Aflac Dental Insurance
Read 26 Reviews

Founded in 1955 and headquartered in Columbus, Aflac provides supplemental insurance coverage for a variety of diagnostic and preventive dental care services, with no pre-certification requirements, deductibles or networks.

How much is dental insurance?

On average, dental insurance costs $14–$30 per month for an individual or $27–$56 per month for a family. In addition to a monthly premium payment, there is usually a co-payment at each visit and a coinsurance responsibility. Your dental insurance plan might include two routine cleanings, which can cut down on additional dental procedures throughout the year.

  • Deductible: This is a specific dollar amount customers have to pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company begins making payments for any claims. It is not part of the copayment.
  • Copayment: This is a fixed amount paid at the time of the dentist’s visit. It is a separate charge and not applied toward your deductible, which you need to reach before insurance kicks in.
  • Coinsurance: Given as a percentage, coinsurance is what the client has to pay after satisfying the co-payment and/or deductible for the plan. This can vary for different services.
  • Maximum out-of-pocket cost: Maximum out-of-pocket cost represents the total amount policyholders will have to pay for dental care throughout the year.

What does dental insurance cover?

Dental insurance coverage

In general, dental insurance plans cover preventive care and basic procedures. It is important to sign up for a dental insurance plan that covers any procedures needed in the near future. So, it is crucial to check the benefits and services offered before choosing the best dental insurance plan for your needs.

  • Preventive care/exams: There is usually coverage for preventive care services such as routine oral examinations, periodontal examinations, X-rays, general cleanings, topical fluoride treatment and sealants.
  • Basic procedures: Basic procedures, such as emergency care, extractions, fillings, space maintainers, minor oral surgery and crowns, are sometimes covered. For good coverage of basic procedures, consumers may need to pay more.
  • Major procedures: Generally, only top-of-the-line coverage handles major services. Common major procedures that are covered by more comprehensive dental insurance plans include crowns, bridgework, dentures, periodontal cleanings, gum therapies and root canals.

Dental insurance exclusions

From gold crowns to failure to keep an appointment, dental insurance companies always write in a list of exclusions. You’re responsible for reading and understanding what’s on your insurer’s list.

  • Cosmetic dentistry: Teeth whitening, bonding, enamel shaping and contouring, dental implants and orthodontics are some examples of cosmetic services that are typically not covered by plans.
  • Annual maximum benefit: The maximum benefit refers to the highest dollar amount the dental insurance firm will pay per family member per year. It is usually a part of PPO plans. This is a very important consideration as the cost of major oral surgery, once the maximum annual benefit exceeded, could fall mainly the patient's responsibility with such a plan.
  • Specialties: Basic dental plans typically exclude orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics and prosthodontics.
  • Discounted rates: Discounts passed along by in-network dentists may not be available in some states.
  • Standalone dental: Depending on the state in which you live, some insurers will not let you buy dental coverage unless you are also covered by one of the insurer’s medical plans.
  • Special circumstances: Dental insurance companies even exclude services that may be needed due to special circumstances, among which may include losses from armed conflict, self-inflicted injuries and infections.
  • Waiting periods: Some basic dental services may incur a six-month waiting period and some major services may incur a 12-month waiting period.

What are the different types of dental plans?

Traditional plans

Also known as indemnity or fee-for-service plans, traditional dental insurance involves the patient paying a percentage of the total cost and the insurance company paying the rest. These plans usually have a co-payment, deductible and maximum out-of-pocket cost. You may have to pay for services up front, file your own claims and wait for the insurance carrier to reimburse you, but this type of plan offers the largest choice of dentists. Indemnity plans are usually pricier than other plans.

DPO/PPO plans

Dental Plan Organization/Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans utilize an in-network list of dentists to provide services to patients at a negotiated reduced rate, and patients pay a percentage of that reduced rate. Each plan usually requires first meeting a deductible. These plans come with an annual maximum benefit.

DHMO/Pre-paid plans

Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) plans also utilize an in-network list of dentists to offer services to patients at a negotiated discounted price. Generally, patients only see one dentist for oral health needs and can be referred for specialty care. With a DHMO plan, there may or may not be an annual maximum benefit limit and deductibles are not a part of the plan. Instead, you’ll pay fixed dollar amounts or copayments for treatment. These plans can be very affordable for those looking for basic services; however, there may be limitations for major procedures. If you visit an out-of-network dentist, you may be responsible for the entire bill.

Supplemental

Supplemental dental coverage is a separate dental plan that covers procedures not covered by a basic dental plan.

Non-insured discount plans

Discount plans are not actually insurance. These plans simply offer a discount off the sticker cost for dental care, and there is little or no paperwork, annual limits or deductibles so long as patients visit a participating dentist. This option is best for those who do not require or want consistent oral health care.

Who takes my dental insurance?

Each insurer partners with various dentists throughout certain states and regions. Dentists perform services according to a rate schedule, which is a set fee agreed on by the provider and insurer. People usually pay less when the visit a dentist in an insurer’s network. Customers switching insurers may want to double check if their dentist is in the new insurer’s network. Conversely, if switching dentist, customers should check to see if the new dentist belongs to the patient’s insurer’s network.

  • In-network list: Before purchasing a plan, customers should look over the list of in-network dentists and make sure there is an in-network professional in their area.
  • Financial incentives: Under certain plans, patients save lots of money by going to in-network dentists. Other plans may even refuse to cover care from out-of-network dentists.
  • Flexibility: To satisfy customer needs, some dentists and plans are willing to make exceptions for patients when it comes to network coverage.

Dental insurance FAQ

How much is dental insurance per month?
Basic dental insurance plans for individuals cost about $30 to $75 per month when not purchased through an employer. Family and specialized coverage plans typically cost more.
Is there a dental insurance that covers everything?
No, there isn't dental insurance that covers everything — the nearest thing is indemnity dental insurance. Also known as a "fee-for-service" plan, this insurance lets you visit any dentist without requiring you to go to a specific provider or stay within a network. However, the deductible is the same as a traditional dental plan — providers typically cover 50% to 80% of reasonable costs and 100% of any preventative care. Your benefit amount is also higher with an indemnity plan.
Can you just get dental insurance?
Yes, you can purchase dental insurance separately from health insurance. You can also purchase supplemental dental insurance and dental discount plans.
How do I choose the best dental plan?
To find the best dental plan, look for one that covers 80% to 100% of routine preventive care. Research PPOs and HMOs to find out if it makes sense for you to choose your dentist or go to an assigned provider. Consider your needs and if you or your family might require major dental work in the future. Know what the deductible amount is and make sure you can afford to pay it if you need a major procedure. Some plans have yearly maximum payouts, so choose an adequate level of coverage.
Can I have 2 dental insurance plans?
You can have two dental insurance plans, which is known as dual coverage. However, you will most likely not be eligible for both coverages when benefits overlap between the primary and secondary plans. For example, if each plan covers two cleanings per year, you are not eligible for four cleanings. Some providers also have a "non-duplication of benefits" clause that prevents the secondary plan from covering more than the primary plan. However, dual coverage may save on out-of-pocket costs.
Are dental discount plans better than insurance?
Dental discount or dental savings plans have several advantages when compared with traditional dental insurance:
  • They typically cost less than dental insurance
  • Many offer no deductibles, no copays and no annual maximum
  • Most do not have a waiting period for benefits
  • You do not need to submit a claim to get your savings

Out-of-pocket costs are typically higher with dental discount plans. With a dental savings plan, you get a discount on preventive care, but you pay the majority of the cost.

Can you get supplemental dental insurance?
You can purchase supplemental dental insurance to lower out-of-pocket costs when there are gaps in your coverage. Be aware of your dental insurance provider's policies on coordinating benefits with supplemental insurance. Also, ask your dental provider if it accepts supplemental dental insurance. Some providers work with their patients to coordinate treatment to maximize coverage between supplemental and primary plans.
Can you combine dental insurance with dental discount plans?
You can purchase both a dental discount plan and dental insurance. If your dental care costs exceed your yearly insurance maximum, you can use your discount plan to save money. Also, if your primary insurance requires a waiting period for a procedure that you need immediately, a dental discount plan is a way to save on costs. However, you cannot combine your dental insurance and dental discount plan to cover the same procedure.
How does supplemental dental insurance work?
Supplemental dental insurance enhances your current dental plan. You generally purchase supplemental dental insurance to satisfy gaps in coverage, such as those that occur when your yearly benefits run out, or when you require a procedure that exceeds your benefits cap.

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    Dental insurance reviews

    DentalPlans.com

    Since 1999, DentalPlans.com has been helping people afford high-quality dental care and procedures by connecting with them online to compare dental plans that fit their needs. DentalPlans.com provides consumers with a discount of 10 to 60 percent on most dental care procedures, boasts 100,000 participating dentists nationwide and over 30 plans to search.

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    Delta Dental

    Delta Dental, a pure-play dental insurer, is one of the largest dental insurance providers in the country. The company dates back to the 1950s and is committed to expanding access to oral healthcare.

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    Aetna Dental Insurance

    Aetna Dental Insurance, part of Aetna Health Inc.  stresses that dental care is a vital part of overall health, and thus aims to offer flexible coverage for any budget. The company itself dates back to the 1850s and is one of the largest insurance companies in the U.S. A merger with Humana is pending.

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    Metlife Dental Insurance

    MetLife is one of the largest global providers of insurance products, employee benefit programs and annuities. Based in New York,  the company provides dental coverage to over 20 million people.

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    United Healthcare Dental Insurance

    United Healthcare is one of the largest companies and healthcare insurance providers in the world. The insurance provider has a large range of dental insurance plans for its clients.

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    Aflac Dental Insurance

    Well-known for its commercials, Aflac is one of the largest providers of supplemental insurance in the United States. The company's dental insurance products, available to employees enrolled in a group plan, are known for their unique features.

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    Unicare Dental

    UniCare Dental believes the right dental care is key to overall health and specifically works to provide employers with quality insurance products at reasonable costs. UniCare's extensive network also ensures customers can find a nearby dentist.

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    Renaissance Dental

    Renaissance Dental is the “flagship product” of Renaissance Life & Health Ins. Co. of America with headquarters in Indianapolis. With offices in 10 states, Renaissance covers 13.1 million people and provides them with individualized and group plans for dental insurance.

    • Dentist finder: Make use of the online search tool, via the Renaissance Dental website, to locate a nearby dentist that is taking on new patients.
    • Online portal: Manage your benefits online through the MyRenBenefits portal.
    • Group vision: Save on group vision insurance when you are already enrolled in a group dental insurance plan.
    • Individualized pricing: Customize an insurance plan that works with your budget and specific needs.
    • MyRenManager: Insurance managers for co-workers and groups can use the online portal to update information and print ID tags.
    • Best for: Renaissance Dental is best for a range of dental insurees, from individuals and families to corporate insurance managers.
    USAA Dental Insurance

    USAA Dental Insurance is part of the wider USAA Health Insurance umbrella. They provide dental insurance packages that vary between U.S. states and cities.

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    Careington

    Careington is a marketer, service administrator and aggregator of discount dental, health and wellness  payment schedules to help underinsured and uninsured individuals with dental expenses.

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    DentalWorks

    Dental Works is a registered trade mark of Dental One Inc., a dental service management organization. It is not an insurance company. Dental Works aims to provide access to state-of-the-art treatment with affordable and flexible payments. The company began in the early 1990s and has nearly 160 locations across 13 states.

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    Compare Top Dental Insurance Companies

    Careington
    Read 28 Reviews

    Founded in 1979 and based in Texas, Careington provides dental discount plans for underinsured and uninsured individuals. Also, dental insurance plans are administered through its subsidiary, Careington Benefit Solutions.

    USAA Dental Insurance
    Read 14 Reviews

    USAA is a Fortune 500 company that provides nationwide dental coverage to military members and their families through its Health Insurance Marketplace. Founded in 1922, it offers a variety of plans to suit all budgets.

    Unicare Dental
    Read 11 Reviews

    Based in Indianapolis, UniCare Dental provides flexible dental plans to employees nationwide. It offers total in-network coverage for diagnostic and preventive care, and no wait periods for major procedures on most of its plans.

    Renaissance Dental Read Expert Review

    Headquartered in Indianapolis, Renaissance Dental has more than 50 years of experience in dental plan administration. It's part of the Renaissance Family of Companies, which provides coverage for more than 13 million people.

    by Cyril Tuohy Insurance Contributing Editor

    Cyril Tuohy, has covered the insurance industry for more than 15 years. He is an expert at writing about personal and commercial property-casualty insurance and covers life, annuities and retirement as a staff writer for a top insurance trade magazine aimed at insurance agents and financial advisors.

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