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What Is Dental Insurance and Why Do You Need It: A Complete Guide

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Today, 16.42 million people in the U.S. have private dental coverage. Do you have dental insurance?

If you don’t, you could be missing out on quality care. Read on to discover, “What is dental insurance?” Plus, why it’s necessary.

What Is Dental Insurance?

Dental insurance is an insurance coverage that reduces the cost of out-of-pocket expenses for dental care. It normally covers procedures that will improve your general health for teeth and gums. That can include basic dental procedures, preventative services, and major services like crowns or oral surgery.

It’s important to take a look at each dental plan offered because each plan will vary with coverage. They normally don’t cover orthodontics or cosmetic dentistry.

Most insurance plans cover the entire cost of diagnostic care and routine procedures. However, they normally don’t fully cover fillings, root canals, or crowns. Most coverage is provided through your employee and group policies.

Indemnity, HMO, or PPO

HMO which stands for health maintenance organization, is coverage for dental professionals within a network that’s limited. The PPO stands for preferred provider organization, which lets patients see dentists outside their preferred network.

If a patient stays in-network, the rates are usually lower than out-of-network. An indemnity plan allows you to see any dentist. You then pay a percentage of the cost.

An advantage of PPO over an indemnity plan is dentists usually will agree to lower fees.

Waiting for Insurance

If you decide to wait for insurance until you need it, that’s not the best option. There’s normally a waiting period when you sign up for insurance, so this won’t work. Waiting periods are different per policy; don’t wait for insurance and then come to find out you need major work done.

Insurance plans, such as Aetna Dental Plan are great because you can then protect yourself against possible major dental expenses. Keep in mind the lower fees dentists can charge, as well, with certain plans.

Dental Costs Without Insurance

If you decide to forego dental insurance, you’ll be looking at much larger bills at the dentist’s office:

  • A dental visit without any procedures is normally $50-$80
  • Checkup with x-ray, cleaning, and exam is $125-$250
  • Extractions are $75-$300 without anesthesia
  • Extractions with anesthesia are $200-$700
  • Crowns are $350-$850
  • Implants are $1,000-$3,000
  • X-rays are $25-$200

Prices for root canals can vary largely, even without insurance:

  • A front root canal is $762
  • A molar root canal is $1,111
  • A tooth with 2 cusps can be $879

After you have a root canal done, then you will have to pay for the cost and placement of a crown. While paying for insurance every month might seem costly, it can be less than having to go to the dentist every 6 months, and having one of these expensive procedures pop up.

Next Steps

Now you can answer the question of: what is dental insurance? While you might want to save money by passing on a dental plan, it’s important to plan for the future and protect yourself from emergencies. When you pay for your dental insurance, you could go to your dentist’s office and not have to pay a penny.

Would you like to learn more about health and lifestyle? Check out our other articles.

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