There is no denying the cost of dental work, particularly when extensive work is required, which is why so many individuals eventually wonder, “Should I obtain dental insurance?” You might need to buy it on your own if your employer doesn’t provide it. But, if your plan doesn’t meet your needs, purchasing dental insurance separately may be a waste of money.

Let’s examine how to examine these plans to see if dental insurance is appropriate for you.


Overview of Dental Insurance First, let’s take a look at how dental insurance works for individuals. You choose a plan depending on the dentists you want to be able to see and how much you can afford to pay.

• You can choose one of the less expensive plans if you already have a dentist you like and they are in the insurance provider’s network.

• If you don’t currently have a dentist, you can select one from the network’s dentists and, once more, choose a less priced plan.

Even while you can still get insurance even if your current dentist isn’t covered by it, going to an out-of-network dentist will cost you much more, possibly to the point where having insurance won’t be worth it.


The monthly premiums will vary depending on the insurance provider, your area, and the plan you select. The average monthly premium for most people will be roughly $50. 1 This implies that even if you don’t receive any dental work, you still spend $600 year on dental expenses.

Do You Really Need Dental Insurance?

You may be correct in your assumption that the majority of individuals do not benefit from the majority of insurance policies. After all, if insurance firms didn’t turn a profit, they would simply cease to exist. Insurance is intended to safeguard you in the event of a catastrophe.

Yet, dental insurance differs greatly from the majority of other types of insurance. Almost no one can afford the danger of not having insurance, for instance, whether it comes to health insurance or property insurance. Both the potential negative and the possible upside of dental insurance are quite minimal.

In a good year, when you simply require the typical cleanings, exams, and X-rays that make up decent preventative care, having dental insurance could cost you money. For instance, if you paid for these services out of pocket, you might spend about $400 over the course of the year, whereas you might spend $600 on insurance premiums.

A category of people who might benefit from signing up for dental insurance is older individuals. Similar to programs for other people, dental insurance for seniors focuses on the kinds of coverage that seniors may require. They include crowns, root canals, dentures, and tooth replacements. Seniors are more likely to require one or more of these operations, despite the fact that these coverages are not specific to the elderly. Keep in mind that seniors who are on Medicare could need a different dental insurance plan than those who are not.

When you need it, will it be there?

What if you need work done? In a very poor year, your dentist might tell you that you require several fillings, a root canal, and a crown. You will also be responsible for paying for your regular cleanings, exams, and X-rays. Right now is the perfect moment to get insured, right? That varies. 2 Yearly Maximums

However, you might not get the full benefit of your insurance. Some dental insurance plans have annual maximums of only $1,000. (this will vary by plan and provider, of course). Once your annual dental expenses reach $1,000, you’re obligated to pay the remaining balance in full. More than $1,000 in medical expenses will not be covered by the insurance.

As an advantage of having insurance, you might still pay a lower negotiated charge for the work you require, although even negotiated fees might be rather substantial. For instance, if the dentist normally charges $150 for a filling, the negotiated rate might be $100. In this case, your normal oral care and fillings may consume the majority or the entire amount of your annual maximum, meaning that only a portion of your significant dental work may actually be covered. Expenses of Co-Insurance

Also, the policyholder typically pays 50% of the cost of pricey operations like crowns, bridges, and implants, compared to 0% for preventative care and 20% for fillings, root canals, and extractions. In the business, this is referred to as the 100-80-50 coverage structure. Even if you haven’t reached your annual maximum by the time you require the pricy surgery, you’ll still have to pay several hundred dollars for it.

What Is Not Included

Even if you try to claim that you require a procedure to ease emotional pain and suffering, dental insurance rarely pays for pricey procedures like orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. Even if your insurance does cover them, the annual maximums sometimes prevent you from saving much, if anything.

If you believe that you will wait to buy dental insurance until you actually need it, think again. This tactic won’t work because of what’s known as a waiting or probationary period (you didn’t really believe you had discovered a way to fool the insurance companies, did you?). Waiting periods mean that, for example, your insurance won’t pay for any significant work (such crowns or root canals) for a year after you initially get insured, and for three months after that, it won’t pay for any minor work (such as fillings). The length of the waiting period varies by policy. 5

Insurance providers understand that you can’t wait until you realize you need a filling or a crown to acquire insurance, then schedule an appointment to have it fixed. If you attempted to do that, you undoubtedly would experience a great deal of suffering and eventually lose your tooth (and have to pay full price for that extraction).

Group Plan Considerations

Strangely, you might be better off ditching your employer’s dental insurance. Because you’re paying a group rate, many individuals assume that employer-sponsored benefits are always a good price. But, this isn’t always the case.

Examine the monthly payments, the annual maximum, and the co-insurance while assessing your employer’s dental plan. Your company can provide you a choice between a wonderful plan that costs only $20 per month to cover your entire family and has a high annual limit and a poor plan that costs $50 per month and has a $1,000 annual maximum. With the former, you stand to gain significantly; yet, with the latter, you run the risk of losing money.

If you are living paycheck to paycheck with little to no money saved, it may make sense to get dental insurance even if it doesn’t seem like a good deal in the long run. Without dental insurance, you will be responsible for paying a $1,600 charge when the work is completed (if not in full, then in prompt installments). If you can’t do it and your only options are to overpay for dental insurance, ignore your one and only set of teeth, or charge dental treatment to a credit card that you won’t be able to pay off, getting insurance is your best option. Compared to paying interest on a credit card or letting your dental health worsen, you’ll probably spend less money on insurance.


The greatest option to save money on dental costs may be to pay everything out of pocket if you are unable to enroll in a high-quality group dental plan, such as a preferred provider organization (PPO) or a dental health maintenance organization (DHMO). The best ways to save money over time include brushing and flossing frequently, switching to a cheap electric toothbrush, getting professional cleanings every six months, and visiting a dentist who performs high-quality work that lasts for years.


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