Dental Insurance and Discount Plans Helping a Patient

Good dental health, as well as correcting dental problems, is essential to overall health. Many Americans are finding themselves without effective dental coverage to treat and maintain their dental needs. This is due in part to businesses increasingly cutting-back or offering inferior dental coverage for prices many can’t afford. So, what are people to do? As a result, people have started looking for alternatives for their dental coverage needs especially online.

What’s the Difference Between Dental Insurance Plans and Discount Dental Plans?

There are distinct differences between the way dental insurance plans and discount dental plans work. Consider the following when dealing with dental insurance plans:

  • Dental insurance is used by large groups and businesses to cover their employee’s dental care.
  • Dental insurance is true insurance where monthly premiums are paid for defined coverage.
  • Dental insurance is not readily available to individuals and families, unless provided by their employer.
  • The pitfalls of dental insurance include annual benefit maximums, deductibles, waiting periods for procedures, and limitations and exclusions. There are also claims forms to fill out and submit.
  • Dental insurance a lot of times doesn’t even cover the cost of preventative measure until deductibles are met.

Dental Insurance vs. Discount Dental Plans

  • You are able to use any dentist but the monthly premiums for dental insurance may be as much as $30 per month for individuals and over $100 per month for family plans.

Consider the following when dealing with discount dental plans “fee for service” plans:

  • Fee for service plans are designed to provide clients dental networks at reduced rates or better yet, pay a certain amount and only that amount for services performed.
  • Discount dental plans are affordable and are the most widely available dental programs for individuals and families. These discount plans work differently than dental insurance plans yet provide consumers with real and substantial savings on most dental procedures.
  • Discount dental plans are membership-based programs that usually provide coverage on an annual basis. Consumers pay a membership fee in exchange for secured discounts on most dental services, such as dental exams, routine cleanings, fillings, extractions, root canals, dentures, crowns, and braces.
  • These plans typically save the consumer 10-60% off most standard out-of-pocket fees when visiting a participating network provider.
  • Most discount dental plans provide a “fee schedule” with the discounted fees listed out in the membership materials to ensure consumers will receive their promised savings.

Dental Insurance vs. Discount Dental Plans

While there are several differences between traditional dental insurance plans and discount dental plans, they can also be used together in certain situations to maximize savings.

At the End of the Day, Which is Better?

One of the biggest bumps in the road when trying to find or join the best insurance plan for you is the cost. For dental insurance plans rates and enrollment is predefined by your employer or whomever is added to your medical insurance plan. This means that there are a handful of restrictions on your plan which results in limited coverage. Discount dental plans, since it is an alternative to dental insurance may help you save on regular 6-month checkups and cleanings. However, you are limited in who you can see for these procedures versus dental insurance allows you to see any dentist in your area and of your choice. As you have probably noticed when dealing with insurance, it is hard to say which one is better than the other as different people are looking for different things. It is just about what is better for you and your financial needs at the time being.


  1. The Difference Between Dental Insurance and Dental Savings Plans, Aetna.