How Does Dental Insurance Work and Is It Worth It?

August 16 | 2023
dentistry sign

You probably know the feeling well. Another six months rolls around and then one day you glance down at your upcoming week’s schedule and there it is, your bi-yearly dentist checkup. But don’t panic. You know the dentist really isn’t as bad as it seems and there are actually some very important reasons to have a dental checkup and cleaning every six months.

Without insurance, dental care can be very expensive and it may even be a barrier to accessing care. Staying on top of your oral health is actually a big part of your overall wellbeing, so having insurance to cover the cost of those bi-annual visits and basic dental treatments is essential. Find out why you need to have consistent dental care, as well as why insurance can help make this happen for you by reading more below.

Why Is Dental Health Important?

Most people recognize the importance of maintaining good physical health and having regular physical examinations by medical doctors, but we rarely extend the same consideration to our teeth. The truth is that good dental care is a crucial part of your overall physical health because other systems can be affected by your oral health. For example, taking proper care of your gums can actually help prevent heart disease.

The condition of your mouth, teeth and gums can also indicate other health problems. For example, acid erosion on the tooth enamel could indicate gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), whereas frequent mouth infections and gum disease might indicate diabetes. Frequent dry mouth can make you more susceptible to tooth decay and it can also indicate an underlying illness, like Sjogren’s syndrome.

Skipping regular checkups or delaying dental treatments can lead to poor oral health, which can in turn affect other aspects of your health. Dental experts recommend visiting the dentist every six months for an exam and cleaning.

How Does Dental Insurance Work?

Full coverage dental insurance and supplemental dental insurance are designed to reduce the overall cost of dental treatment for those paying for coverage. Like health insurance, you pay a monthly premium to an insurance provider so that you only have to pay a portion of your dental care bill. Some plans offer full coverage for basic dental services, such as bi-annual visits, cleanings, X-rays and fillings. Depending on the plan, those insured may be able to add additional coverage for procedures like root canals, periodontic treatments and dentures.

Why Is Dental Insurance Important?

Because dental health is so important, dental insurance is also important because it provides you a means to pay for both preventative and acute care.

According to a 2007 national survey, the average, out-of-pocket dental cost per person was $873 per year. Additionally, when the survey factored in the cost of insurance premiums, those with insurance and those without spent approximately the same amount on basic dental care.

However, dental insurance is even more crucial in helping cover the cost of major dental care. Those without dental insurance plans usually experienced a greater variability in dental costs than those with insurance. That is, those with insurance were likely to have more consistent pricing on dental care, while those without insurance did not, and were more likely to have higher costs.

Additionally, individuals with dental insurance have been found to be more likely to go to the dentist for preventative care and are more likely to seek medical attention for acute dental issues. Those without individual dental insurance tend to wait until the last minute, which can also result in more health issues and more expensive care.

Is Dental Insurance Worth It?

Deciding if the cost of dental insurance is worth it requires considering how much you may spend annually on dental services. The average, out-of-pocket costs for dental procedures are as follows:

  • Cleanings: $75–$200
  • Fillings: $150–450
  • Crowns: $500–$3000
  • Root Canals: $300–$2000
  • Implants (per tooth): $3000–$4500
  • Periodontal Treatments: $4000–$10,000

In 2020, the average annual expenditure for dental insurance in the U.S was $128.75 per person. If you are an individual with great oral health who may only require two cleanings per year, then paying for dental insurance may not feel like it is worth it to you. However, if you have family members who need coverage or have the potential to require additional treatments, such as fillings for cavities, then paying for coverage makes more financial sense.

Dental insurance is worth it if you want to prepare for a dental emergency. Even if you think that you’ll never have any issues, you really never know. Dental coverage can offer peace of mind, just like health insurance. Being faced with an enormous dental bill for treatments that you never thought you would need can be a financial burden for anyone.

How Do You Get Dental Insurance?

As the number one, non-medical insurance benefit offered by employers (nearly three-quarters of employers offer dental coverage), full coverage dental insurance can be a valuable part of your company’s overall benefit package.

Participation in a dental plan provides a low-cost way for employers to provide a more robust book of benefits to their employees. If you are an employee who does not have dental insurance through your place of employment, it makes sense to speak to your employer about adding coverage to your current benefits. You can also purchase individual dental insurance through Fringe Benefit Analysts.

Some of our dental coverage insurance partners include:

  • Assurant
  • Kansas City Life
  • Lincoln Financial
  • Dental Select
  • Humana
  • Total Dental Administrators
  • Standard Insurance
  • Regence BCBS
  • LifeMap
  • United Healthcare
  • Select Health
  • Met Life
  • Delta Dental
  • Principal
  • Aetna

Get Coverage Today

Dental health matters! Without dental insurance, you or your employees could be faced with steep dental bills, or you may even avoid getting dental care altogether. Get started on the road to providing premium dental benefits to your employees or buy your own insurance today by calling Fringe Benefit Analysts. We’re here to make sure you get the best care and price you deserve.