Unfortunately, health insurance does not cover dental procedures. As a result, most people have to sign up for a dental insurance or dental discount plan.

But what’s the difference? Which one is better?

Most people aren’t clear on the differences between dental insurance and dental discount plans. You might not even know that dental discount plans exist.

Let’s take a look at some of the main differences between the two.

Dental Insurance

Dental insurance plans function nearly the same as health insurance plans.

You or your employer will pay a monthly premium. On top of that, you will typically have to pay a deductible. This is the amount you have to pay before your insurance covers any expenses.

After you have reached your deductible, your insurance will then pay either part or all of the remaining expenses.

For example, if you have a $100 deductible and your bill for treatment is $500, your dental insurance provider would cover part or all of the remaining $400 after your deductible.

Additionally, dental plans typically have a maximum annual amount that they will pay. Once you go past this maximum amount, you will be responsible for all expenses.

There are several types of insurance plans, including:

  • HMOs
  • PPOs
  • Dental Indemnity Plans

Each type of plan works differently regarding the dentists you are able to see and how much you’ll pay.

PPOs, for example, will only provide full coverage if you choose a dentist in your insurer’s network. Otherwise, you may only receive partial benefits or no benefits at all.

Dental Discount Plan

Dental discount plans still help people get affordable dental care. However, they work much differently than insurance.

The primary difference is that discount plans to cover any expenses for you. Instead, they are able to provide discounts through dentists that they partner with.

Additionally, there are no deductibles or maximums. You pay an enrollment fee and an annual fee to continue receiving discounts.

Discounts could be as little as 10% or as much as 60% — depending on your specific plan and the treatment that you need.

You may be limited in your selection of dentists when using a discount plan. You’ll only be able to get discounts from select providers.

Before choosing a discount plan, it’s important to contact dentists in the network in order to check prices for basic dental services. In some cases, discount places may be able to save you more money than insurance. However, you’ll still have to pay a large portion of your final bill.

Which One is Right for You?

Choosing between dental insurance and dental discount plans can be tricky.

In many cases, dental insurance plans will be more beneficial. If you only expect to need basic treatments, such as cleaning and fillings, insurance may be better. As long as you don’t go over your maximum coverage, you’ll likely save more money.

However, if you’re in need of extensive dental treatment, discount plans may be the best option. Once you go over the maximum coverage on a dental insurance plan, you are responsible for the entire cost of treatment.

Since discount plans have no maximum you may save more money on extensive dental work.

In either case, the most important thing you should do is compare plans and pricing from multiple providers. This will help ensure that you receive the coverage you need at an affordable price.