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Dental Insurance: Types, Benefits and How It Works

Dental insurance is a type of insurance that covers some or all of the costs of dental care. Like other types of insurance, policyholders pay a monthly premium to the insurance provider in exchange for coverage. Depending on the specific policy, dental insurance can cover a variety of services, including preventative care (such as routine cleanings and exams), restorative care (such as fillings and root canals) and even cosmetic procedures (such as teeth whitening and veneers).

Why Do You Need Dental Insurance?

Dental insurance is important because it helps cover the cost which can be expensive. Routine dental checkups and procedures, such as fillings and cleanings, are necessary to maintain good oral health and prevent serious dental problems from developing. Without insurance, these costs can add up quickly and become a financial burden for individuals and families. It provides a way to manage these costs and make dental care more affordable and accessible.

Types Of Dental Insurance

Types Of Dental Insurance

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plans

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans are dental insurance plans that provide a network of dentists who have agreed to offer services at a discounted rate. PPO plans give you the flexibility to visit any dentist but if you choose to go out of network, you will likely pay more. With PPO plans, you usually have a deductible and coinsurance. That means you’ll pay a portion of the cost of services rendered. However, preventive care services like cleanings and X-rays are often covered at 100%.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plans

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans are another type of dental insurance plan that work in a similar way to PPO plans. However, with HMO plans, you are typically required to choose a primary care dentist from a list of providers in the plan’s network. This dentist will be your main point of contact for all your dental care needs, including preventive care and any necessary treatments.

With an HMO plan, you generally have lower out-of-pocket costs than with a PPO plan. But you also have less flexibility in choosing your dental care providers. In addition, you typically need to obtain a referral from your primary care dentist to see a specialist and services outside the HMO network may not be covered.

Dental Indemnity Insurance Plans

Dental Indemnity Insurance plans, also known as traditional insurance plans, are another type of dental insurance. With these plans, you have the flexibility to choose your own dentist and you don’t need a referral to see a specialist. However, these plans tend to have higher premiums and deductibles than PPO and HMO plans.

With a dental indemnity insurance plan, the insurance company pays a percentage of the cost of your dental services and you are responsible for paying the remainder of the cost. These plans typically have an annual maximum benefit which is the most the insurance company will pay for your dental care in a year. Additionally, there may be waiting periods for certain services and some services may not be covered at all.

Discount Dental Plans

Discount dental plans are not insurance but rather a membership program that provides discounted rates on dental services to it’s members. These plans typically have a network of dentists who have agreed to provide services to members at a discounted rate. Members pay an annual fee to access the discounted rates and may have to pay a fee for each service they receive. Discount dental plans can be a good option for individuals who do not have access to dental insurance through their employer, or who do not qualify for other types of dental insurance. However, it is important to research the specific plan and network of providers to ensure that the services and savings offered are worth the cost of membership.

Self-Funded Employer Plans

Self-funded employer plans, also known as self-insured plans, are offered by larger companies and organisations that have the financial resources to provide dental coverage for their employees. These plans are not technically insurance but rather the employer assumes the financial risk of providing dental benefits to their employees.

Under a self-funded plan, the employer will either administer the plan themselves or hire a third-party administrator to manage the plan. The employer will pay for the dental care costs of their employees and employees may be required to pay a portion of the costs through deductibles, copays, or coinsurance.

One advantage of self-funded employer plans is that employers have more control over the plan design and can tailor the benefits to meet the specific needs of their employees. Additionally, self-funded plans may be more cost-effective for employers, as they can avoid paying the premiums charged by insurance companies.

However, self-funded plans can also be risky for employers, as they are responsible for covering the dental care costs of their employees. If there are unexpected costs, such as a large number of expensive procedures, the employer may face financial hardship. It’s important for employers to carefully manage these plans to ensure they are financially sustainable.

How Dental Insurance Works?

How Dental Insurance Works

Dental insurance works by providing coverage for a portion of the cost of dental care, including preventive, basic and major dental services. The specifics of how dental insurance works can vary depending on the type of plan and the insurer. In general, with a dental insurance plan, you will pay a monthly premium. In return, the insurer will cover a percentage of the cost of dental services, up to a certain annual maximum.

Some plans require you to choose a dentist within a network, while others allow you to see any dentist. You will usually have to pay a deductible or copayment for certain services and there may be waiting periods for some procedures. It’s important to carefully review your plan’s benefits and limitations to understand how your dental insurance coverage works.


What does dental insurance typically cover?

These plans vary but most cover preventive care such as regular check-ups, cleanings and x-rays. Many also cover basic services like fillings, extractions and root canals. Major services like crowns, bridges and dentures may also be covered but often with higher deductibles or co-payments.

How do I know if my dentist is in-network?

Most companies provide a list of in-network dentists on their website or through customer service. You can also ask your dentist if they accept your insurance.

Can I still see an out-of-network dentist with dental insurance?

Yes but you may have to pay higher out-of-pocket costs. With PPO plans, you may still receive some coverage for out-of-network care. But with HMO plans, you will typically only receive coverage for in-network care.

Is there a waiting period before I can use my dental insurance?

Some plans may have waiting periods for certain services, such as major procedures like crowns or root canals. However, most plans will cover preventive care from day one.

How much does dental insurance cost?

The cost varies based on the plan, your location and other factors. On average, individuals can expect to pay between $20 and $50 per month for a basic plan. While more comprehensive plans can cost $50 to $100 or more per month.

Can I purchase dental insurance outside of my employer?

Yes, there are individual plans available for purchase outside of employer-sponsored plans. Additionally, some companies offer dental coverage as part of a health plan.

Does dental insurance cover cosmetic procedures?

Most plans do not cover purely cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening or veneers. However, some plans may cover procedures that have both cosmetic and functional benefits, such as orthodontics.


Dental insurance is a type of insurance that helps to cover the cost of dental care. It is an essential investment for those who want to maintain good oral health without worrying about the financial burden. The plans come in various types, including PPO, HMO, indemnity and discount plans, among others. Each type has it’s own unique features, benefits and drawbacks. Before choosing a plan, it’s important to consider your specific dental needs and budget.

It works by paying a monthly premium in exchange for coverage of certain dental services. The specifics of what is covered and the costs involved depend on the type of plan you have. With it, you can access preventive care and necessary treatments without worrying about the high costs. However, it’s essential to read the fine print of your insurance policy to understand what is and isn’t covered. It is an important investment for maintaining good oral health and avoiding financial stress.

Dr. Ankitkumar Dental
Dr. Ankitkumar Dental
Dr. Ankitkumar: Bachelor Of Dental Surgery (BDS) | Post Graduate Diploma In Oral Implantology, is registered as a Medical Practitioner.

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