Best Dental Insurance Plans For Individuals & Families 2020

1,805 Ratings

The preferred insurance plan for your dental insurance should not just save money but also provide you peace of mind, with the knowledge that you’ll be covered as needed. Your smile and teeth rely on regular visits to your dentist, and a solid dental insurance plan will ensure your teeth stay white for years to come.

If the very worst happens and you require dental insurance, you’ll want a provider that will cover oral surgery treatments. This will save you money on in-network dentists, which means you may be able to retain your current dental provider for your treatment.

Many factors are there for you to consider prior to looking into dental insurance options, as there are many. Which kind of care will you need? Are you looking for dental coverage to cover your exams and cleanings? If that’s all you need, your option will probably be cheap. If you’re looking for dentures or orthopedic care, you will need a more comprehensive plan.

Different insurance providers will give you different benefits, suited for different people. It’s vital to find the right one for your needs and this guide will help you out! We list the best dental insurance providers here, for you to choose from:

1. Best Dental Insurance Overall: Delta Dental

We picked Delta Dental as the absolute best dental insurance on the market. This is because it covers all 50 states and gives 6 excellent insurance plans. These plans span the range of DHMO and PPO plans, and include comprehensive x-rays every 2 years with use of the app, as well as website support which makes both simple and useful.

There are different availabilities per state, but with 78 million people utilizing Delta, they are absolutely doing something right. Coverage works only for these individuals and extends also to families and businesses. From the affordable copays to the volumes of information on the webpage, there is much to love with Delta Dental.

2. Best Dental Insurance for Financial Help: Guardian Direct

Wide ranges of coverage options are covered well with Guardian Direct. This insurer is a part of Guardian Life, which means you will have an excellent financial support base. Each plan is uniquely tailored for every state, and their website allows you to look by each area to find the right dentist for you, in network, for both DHMO and PPO plans. Pricing is solid, and the plans start for as cheap as $16/month. They also offer discounts upwards of 35% on their treatments, as well as excellent copay options for bigger work.

3. Best Dental Insurance for Physical Locations: Physicians Mutual

Physicians Mutual is nearly 100 years old and gives you exceptionally reliable insurance which spans nearly 500,000 locations nationwide and will cover more than 350 different procedures. This insurer gives you excellent rates on PPO plans which start around $24/month. 3 payment options are available for you, and no yearly max on cash benefits and no deductible for you to worry about. Savings are upwards of 50%, and this is an excellent way to get broad coverage for cheap.

4. Best Family Dental Insurance Coverage: MetLife

MetLife is an outstanding dental insurance and cover families better than any other insurer on our list. The DMHO and PPO options are just for 2 different plans, but they have tons of preventative care for free, and there isn’t much need for over complication here. The orthodontics included will make it ideal an ideal choice for families, while the lower copays make it appealing for those trying to save money. Upwards of 45% can be saved through using MetLife, and their insurance spans more than 400 procedures and a network of over ninety-thousand dentists.

5. Best Dental Insurance for Preventative Coverage: United Healthcare

United Healthcare (known also as the Golden Rule Insurance Company), gives you dental insurance that is backed by more than 65 years of experience as well as a perfect A+ financial rating given by Standard & Poor. Web browsing of the plans ensures it’s simple to check for pricing, as you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. This includes the majority of the preventative carefree, which includes x-rays, cleaning, and exams, and will not be worrisome in the future. 4 different PPO plans are there for you, with its pricing starting near $20 but they should save you nearly 85% for the dentists which are in your network.

What You Need to Consider for Your Dental Insurance

We strongly recommend you carefully look at your contract before picking your insurance, so you know precisely what it will give you and what it covers. Your dental office should be familiar with what the insurance covers or doesn’t cover.

Most dentist offices require payment of the uncovered estimated balances ahead of time, so you’ll want to make sure of things in advance so you can budget properly. If you’re unable to cover this remaining balance, you’ll want to inquire whether your dentist accepts financing.

For those who are changing their insurance and wish to continue seeing their present dentist, they can visit insurance provider websites to see if their dentist accepts it. Sometimes the sites don’t keep provider lists up to date, so you’ll want to call your provider’s office to double-check.

Prior to the receipt of the quotes, we met with three different dentists to check their unique perspective on the dental insurance provider questions. We kept them anonymous for confidential financial reasons. Each dentist told us that patients should be cautious about picking the cheapest available provider in their area, since they’re generally the worst about approving individual treatments and processing reimbursements.

It didn’t affect the overall evaluations, but each of the dentists told us that MetLife and Delta Dental were the easiest companies to work with, and the best overall.

The dentists told us the best place to start is to look at your unique dental goals. What do you want done in the next 2-3 years? If you have not been to a dentist in a while, you may want to consider getting a more comprehensive plan. If you have kids who need dental work, or if you need braces or implants, you’ll want to consider these things too. Most plans don’t allow these procedures until at least a year in network, so consider this during your search for an insurance provider. Your dentist will be able to help you determine what dental work you’ll need.

When you’ve found out what work you’ll need done, what your family needs, and, you’ll need to next consider budget, age, and location in your dental insurance hunt.

I received quotes for people under and over the age of 50, families of 4, and middle-aged couples. For the location I received quotes from the bigger US metropolitan areas. I then averaged all these premiums and compared these results. I evaluated options and coverage for each of the areas.

It’s vital to note which evaluation is going to be anecdotal. These quotes will vary depending on your unique circumstances.

Dental Insurance: What Does It Cover?

The majority of dental insurance plans which offer full coverage will cover 2 preventive maintenance visits each year, and will not require deductible payments; the majority will require a $50 deductible for each person yearly to help cover costs beyond the preventive exams. If work is done, most plans will cover the cost.

Few procedures exist which providers won’t give a price discount for. Most individual dental insurance plans will not cover cosmetic dental work like tooth-colored molar fillings or molars for bicuspid teeth, tooth implants and cosmetic treatment orthodontics for adults. 

Most dental companies limit the amount that each appliance can be replaced and – in many cases – replacing any lost items. These limitations are compiled and published within the plan’s contracts and disclosures, which can be read online.

Remember that a new dental insurance plan won’t cover current dental emergencies and will need to wait 6-12 months for major dental procedures. Some will waive their waiting period for those who have recently added their dental insurance.

What are the available dental plans?

Most dental insurance companies will offer you multiple plans in the area. You ‘re able to find plans that range from affordable plans for discount to what could be termed “gold-level” treatment plans. We’ve listed just a few types of these plans.

Plans that have Dental Discounts
These won’t be full coverage plans but they do give you discounts for most basic procedures. These discounted plans typically cost near $10 /month for each person, and the benefits are able to be utilized immediately.

Plans that are Only for Prevention
These particular low-premium plans will be fitting for those who don’t currently need dental operations. They’re only for cleanings and exams. Read What Is Plaque to learn about the importance of preventative care.

Individual Standard Plans
This is the most popular type of insurance plan for most people since it covers the preventive examination costs. The majority will cover 2 exams, x-rays, and cleanings, and may cover more work. There might or might now be a smaller copay for this.

Family-Focused Plans
With these plans you get something similar to the standard individual plans. Most insurance companies only offer family deductible benefits, and most dental plans force you to pay a fifty-dollar deductible for each person, most will feature maximum deductibles of $150 for the whole family. This might be beneficial for those looking to ensure more than 3 people.


“Premium” or “Gold” Plans
Plan premiums cost more but may have a better rate for annual payout. These plans might allow for more cleanings yearly, like 1 per 4 months rather than 1 for every 6 months.


Some other options may include plans you can add on for adult implants and children’s orthodontics.

Estimating Your Dental Costs and Expenses

The estimated dental costs will assist you in deciding if dental insurance is financially beneficial to you. Dental insurance companies give you a quote on the internet to see your potential premiums. You’ll want to look at your annual premiums to the annual procedure costs. You’re able to estimate the dental costs by speaking with your dentist or looking into the costs on the websites. 

There are some additional factors which will affect the annual dental expenses also. Senior citizen premiums generally cost more. Youth orthodontics will be more expensive as well. Smokers receive higher premiums also. Premium rates for each month will vary a lot per area and region. We determined that the rates might vary as much as 30% between regions.

Some financial planners have suggested dental insurance won’t be worth paying, so we did some math to find out what it’s worth, assuming you attend all cleanings and exams. We learned you’ll get cost savings for operations such as root canals and similar operations.

Premiums will absolutely vary per plan type, age, and location. You’ll want to get multiple quotes from different insurance companies which provide dental coverage for your area. You’ll want to make sure your dental provider accepts the insurance before you switch to a new provider.

Why are smokers paying more for their dental insurance?

Most dental insurance companies charge smokers higher premiums than they do those who don’t use tobacco. This is because insurance companies assume more financial risk when they cover a smoker.

In general, someone is considered a smoker if he or she has smoked in the past year. Some insurance companies extend that criterion back as far as five years, according to

“The reason why smokers are charged higher dental insurance premiums is that those who smoke are more prone to diseases of the gums and teeth,” the article says. “In fact, smoking is considered one of the main reasons for tooth loss.”

The Oral Health Foundation argues that individuals who smoke tend to produce more bacterial plaque in their mouths than normal, which can ultimately cause gum disease. “The gums are affected because smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums don’t heal. Smoking causes people to have more dental plaque and causes gum disease to get worse more quickly than in non-smokers.”

What waiting periods are there for dental insurance?

Like many things, the best time to buy dental insurance is when you don’t need it, or at least when you don’t need it urgently. It’s not uncommon for dental insurance companies to have waiting periods before they will cover certain major – and typically the more expensive – procedures. This could come as an ugly surprise if you wait until you’ve got a dental emergency to buy insurance, because you might end up having to pay the entire cost yourself.

An article in the online publication notes, “There is usually no waiting period for preventive care. You may have to wait for three to six months for basic procedures, and six months to a year for major procedures.” The article defines preventive care as things like checkups, x-rays, cleanings, etc. Basic care includes filling cavities, simple tooth extractions, etc. And major procedures are root canals, bridges, crowns, etc. recommends that you look at the waiting period connected with various procedures before you buy a dental insurance plan.

Is cosmetic work covered with dental insurance?

According to an article on the Texas Center for Cosmetic Dentistry website, nearly all insurance plans handle “restorative” dentistry that is deemed to be medically necessary, but they don’t cover cosmetic work. They’ll only cover procedures that are needed because of decay, disease, or accidents. For example, insurance may cover medical interventions used to replace missing teeth or fix a patient’s bite, the article states.

If you want a more beautiful smile and there’s no medical reason for any dental work, then it’s unlikely you’ll find a dental insurance company to cover the procedure. Any dental work that simply makes you look better is considered elective.

However, there are gray areas. For example, if you’ve been in an accident that harmed your teeth and you need work done on them, most dentists want the outcome to be aesthetically pleasing as well as medically correct. You could also make a case for cosmetic work if you need crowns or veneers to take care of “diseased, injured, broken or missing teeth.” In addition, insurance may cover gum contouring surgery needed because of infection or injury and orthodontia to fix teeth that have been harmed in an accident.

If you think you have a legitimate reason for cosmetic dentistry, look over your dental insurance plan and check with the company.

If I’m pregnant, can I visit my dentist?

Skimping on dental care at any stage in life is a bad idea, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). In an article on its website, the ADA says pregnant women face specific oral health challenges during pregnancy that can safely be taken care of by dentists. For example, pregnant women are more likely to develop gingivitis because of hormonal changes that affect bacteria in gum tissue, cavities from snacking due to food cravings, and tooth enamel erosion from morning sickness and vomiting. In addition, they are more prone to developing a pyogenic granuloma, a growth caused by hormonal changes.

Further, the ADA says several studies have indicated that a pregnant mother’s gum problems, such as periodontitis, can have ill effects on her unborn child. “While findings of individual studies have been mixed, an overview of 23 systematic reviews conducted through 2016 concluded that associations exist between periodontitis and preterm birth, low birthweight babies and the development of pre-eclampsia.”

The ADA recommends that moms-to-be take good care of their teeth and mouths at home and discuss oral health with their obstetricians and dentists. “Regular and emergency dental care, including the use of local anesthetics and radiographs, is safe at any stage during pregnancy.”

What should I do if my favorite dentist is outside my network?

Dentists can choose to join insurance providers’ preferred networks so patients can get the most out of their insurance benefits. If your favorite dentist isn’t part of your insurance provider’s network, you may end up paying more for your visits.

As with other types of insurance, dental insurance companies prefer you use an in-network dentist and will cover a larger share of the cost than if you visit an out-of-network dentist. As part of their agreement with the insurance company, in-network dentists don’t charge patients more than the costs covered by the insurance plan.

Many dental insurance companies have a list of in-network dentists on their websites. This makes it easy to find a provider your insurance will cover. However, if you choose to see your preferred dentist even though they are out of network, you could end up paying much more out of pocket.