Dentist inspecting patients mouth using a dental explorer

Dental Discount Plans vs Dental Plans

Dental Insurance vs. Dental Discount Plans

Over the last 10 years, 1 in 4 Americans have put off a needed dental procedure due to the high cost of oral health care.  Not surprising when you realize that the cost of dental care has soared by 20% over that same time.  The pain in the wallet that comes with a pain in your mouth has led many people to try to find another option; but which is the better option? Dental insurance? Too much coverage for you? How about a dental discount plan?

Even for those that have dental coverage as a part of their employee compensation package, they cannot always make full use of the coverage they do have.  Many dental insurance plans have coverage limits of only $1000 to $1500 dollars, and that’s after you meet your plans deductible.  Then there are the issues figuring out if your favorite dentist is in network, preauthorization requirements for many needed procedures, which can take weeks or even months, and finding out that your insurance doesn’t cover all your needed procedures.   Most plans require you to be in the program for a period of time before you can be authorized for root canals or fillings, so even if you get insurance, you may have to wait up to three months to be able to use it.  Then there is the painful fact that many of these dental insurance plans require you to pay for the procedure up front and be reimbursed later on down the road.

This combination of limited coverage, waiting periods, and red tape has caused many people to begin looking at dental discount plans.  Dental discount plans work very much like buying a Sam’s Club card.  You pay an annual fee (usually between $150 and $300) and then you get a reduced fee on all work you have done from any participating dentists.  These plans go into effect immediately and provide either a discounted rate or a percentage off of the work you want done.  Either way, you pay the full discounted rate at the doctor’s office at the time of treatment.

Which path is best for you really differs from person-to-person and your annual dental needs.  Even the cost of an employer covered dental insurance as a part of your employee compensation package should be compared and reviewed to insure additional coverage is not needed.

Dental insurance plans usually come with a monthly fee and cover 100% of preventative procedures such as check-ups, x-rays and cleanings.  They then usually provide a tiered system of costs for more involved work you want done.  Often, your total benefit can be roughly equal to your annual costs, so take the time to compare plans.

Dental discount Plans do not have deductibles or annual spending caps.  They are normally paid as an annual fee with coverage lasting for 12 months starting right away.  Dental discount plans normal costs are about half of what comparable dental insurance plans annual costs would be, but they offer only a discount on services not any form of coverage for needed procedures.

Often, the choice comes down to a persons need and preference.  If your personal yearly dental plan only calls for a few visits consisting of a check-up and cleaning, dental insurance may be the best bet for you as the annual cost of a discount plan might be more than the total savings offered for the minor work being done.  Not every needed procedure is covered by dental insurance however, while dental discounts are usually available for all of your oral care needs.  If you know that you have more involved procedures coming up, or if you have a family with active children, a dental discount card may be the way to go.  Other concerns, such as employment based coverage, insuring you are purchasing through someone with great customer service, and your favorite dentist is included are important considerations. Dental plans and Dental Discount plans found at cover over 260,000 providers in all 50 states. The odds are high your current dentist is already a provider in a dental discount or insurance plan found at

Everyone loves a nice smile and taking care of your dental health is a critical part of your overall health.  Take the time to look into your options to find the plan that is best for you.  If you need help checking your options, give Capital Benefits a call at 888-327-8880 or got to get started.