What is full-coverage dental insurance?

The term “full coverage” can mean different things to different people. For some, full coverage means a dental insurance plan covers all the basics, such as routine checkups, cleanings and X-rays. Others expect a full-coverage plan to lower the cost of any dental care they may need.

The good news is that there are a range of dental plans available, so you’ll likely be able to find the kind of coverage you prefer.

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How much do full-coverage dental plans cost?

Full-coverage dental insurance quotes can vary widely and are dependent on many factors. The number of people in your family that need coverage, their ages and whether anyone needs orthodontic care or dentures are just some of the considerations.

Other factors that may have an impact on the cost of a dental plan are copays, deductibles and the annual maximum.1

How to find affordable dental insurance

When searching for an affordable dental insurance plan, you should consider:

  • Plan premiums: This is how much you pay per month to stay with the plan.
  • Copay: This is how much you pay per visit or per procedure.
  • Coinsurance: This is the percentage of covered charges insurance pays.
  • Benefit maximum: This is how much the plan will pay for your dental care over a certain period of time, such as annually or your lifetime.

Price is important, but the plan premiums and copays shouldn’t be the only thing you consider. A good dental plan should give you the coverage you need to maintain your dental health. If your mouth stays healthy, you’re less likely to run into costly dental procedures or treatments, which could save you more money in the long run.

Most insurance companies offer a variety of coverage options so you can find the one that will make the most difference in your dental health. Here are a few options you should find coverage for to maximize preventive dental care:

  • Routine teeth cleanings: These can go a long way in preventing issues that could result in more costly treatments later in life.
  • Regular dental exams: Letting the dentist get a good look at your mouth a few times a year may help detect dental concerns early, making them easier to treat.
  • Dental X-rays: Similar to regular exams, having regular X-rays taken of your teeth may help the dentist find potential issues before they become serious problems.

How to choose the best dental insurance plan for you

With a dental insurance plan, you pay premiums, your cost share (copays and/or coinsurance) and deductibles, and the insurance pays the remainder of the covered cost directly to the network dentist.

In a dental discount plan, it is not insurance and you receive discounts for services at participating dentists. You simply pay the dentist directly for your services at a discounted price.

Both plans provide dental care, but the premiums are different and the way payment is made is different.

What is the best dental insurance for individuals?

Do you think you or anyone your plan will cover are unlikely to need orthodontics? Do you have a certain dentist you want to stick with? An individual plan can let you focus on the things that make a big difference for the preferences of the individual paying for the coverage.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best dental insurance for dental crowns?

The work that can go into making and fitting a crown can be expensive. When it comes to coverage, you’ll first want to look closely at what the plan considers crowns to be. It varies by plan, but dental crown coverage is often considered to be a major dental service. So, if you need a crown or if you think you’ll need one in the future, you should find a plan that offers affordable coverage for major services (or whatever type of service crowns are classified as under the plan policy).

You’ll also want to check and see if there is a waiting period for certain types of services. If you need a crown right away, you’ll want to find a plan that does not require you to wait for a long period of time before it covers the crown.

What is the best dental insurance for wisdom teeth removal and oral surgery?

If you’re thinking about any oral surgery, such as wisdom teeth removal, you should find out if the procedure would be considered a medical or a dental procedure. This may vary based on the plan policy and the type of surgery required.

If it is considered a dental procedure, it may be covered as a major service under the dental insurance’s plan policy. Note that if it’s a simple tooth extraction, it may be considered a basic service.

Similar to crowns, you’ll want to verify how a plan classifies different types of oral surgery and see if the major or basic service your surgery falls under is well covered. Again, if there is a waiting period for certain services, make sure you pick a plan that won’t make you wait too long before the surgery is covered.

Tips for choosing a full-coverage dental plan

Keep these tips in mind when you shop for dental insurance:

  • Estimate your future dental needs. Don’t just think about the regular checkups and cleanings. Consider whether you or a family member will need major dental work or oral surgery.
  • Find a plan your dentist accepts. If you like your current dentist, check to see if he or she is a member of that plan’s provider network.
  • Consider your budget and how much you are comfortable paying. Decide whether you’d prefer to pay monthly premiums, copays at the time of service or discounted fees directly to the dentist.

Only you can decide what full-coverage dental insurance means for you and your family. But with so many choices available, you can be sure to find a dental plan that works for you.

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  1. “How Much Is Dental Insurance? (Coverage and Cost),” Forbes, last accessed May 30, 2023, https://www.forbes.com/advisor/health-insurance/dental-insurance-coverage-and-cost/.