Updated: 2/5/2020

With all of the talk about health care and dental, the terms dental insurance and dental plans get thrown around quite a bit. But if you’re honest with yourself, do you really know the difference? It’s important to understand that these two terms are quite different from one another. They both help make dental care more affordable, that’s for sure, but they are not the same.

Here you can get the information you need about dental insurance and dental discount plans to help you make an informed decision about your dental care coverage.

Dental Insurance

This is the more well-known of the two, but we’ll explain it nonetheless.

  • With insurance plans, you will pay a premium, which provides benefits for dental procedures that are covered by the plan.
  • These plans usually include a co-pay or a deductible the insured must pay before the plan pays for covered procedures. There may be additional out-of-pocket costs the insured owes to the provider for services not covered by the insurance plan.
  • Dental insurance plans may include a waiting period for some procedures.
  • Some insurance plans may provide some benefits and coverage for services performed by an out-of-network provider, but the insured will get less savings that way.
  • Insurance plans generally have an annual maximum they pay for covered procedures. Once the annual maximum is reached, the insured is responsible for the cost of services and treatment.
  • The insured usually has large networks of dentists to choose from.

Dental Discount Plan

Maybe not as well-known, dental discount plans can save customers a lot of money on their dental care. However, it’s important to understand that a dental discount plan is not insurance. Here’s how they differ:

  • For discount plans, the consumer pays a lower membership fee that allows them access to dental care at a prenegotiated, reduced rate.
  • Members pay the discounted fee in full at the time of service for the costs of the services received.
  • Members can use most discount plans immediately.
  • Members must use a provider that’s part of the discount plan network to receive the prenegotiated discount.
  • There are no limits on how often a member can use or receive discounts for procedures that are included in the plan.
  • Discount plan networks vary in size and may be limited in some areas.

Which One Should You Choose?

Dental insurance and dental plans are both plausible options. And regardless of which one you choose, either plan will get you and your family to the dentist to better the condition of your teeth. The most common reason for people not going to the dentist is that they don’t have any coverage plan to help them pay for it. The decision between dental insurance and discount plans is ultimately going to come down to what you and your family want and need. As you are deciding, don’t let your dental health go by the wayside. It’s important to maintain good oral health even if you are living without dental insurance for the time being.

Sometimes with insurance, you can have more options when it comes to choosing a dentist and, at times, higher savings and protection. Additionally, your savings could grow, but you usually have to wait a few years for that to happen.

A discount dental plan is inexpensive and simple to use. Although they are not insurance, they still offer access to services at a reduced rate. Discount plans are good for those with an immediate need or those who want a dental plan at low regular costs.

If you do find that a discount dental plan would be the best option to meet you and your family’s needs, consider the advantages of a Careington dental discount plan–started in 1979–from 1dental.com:

  • It’s one of the nation’s largest discount plan networks.
  • Private practice dentists are included.
  • You will find substantial savings of at least 15-60 percent.
  • A vision plan is included at no extra charge.
  • You will pay a discounted price directly to the dentist office without having to haggle or jump through hoops.
  • You can see the full fee schedule on our website and how much each procedure will cost before you even see the dentist, which can be a huge help to you since you won’t be blindsided by the cost when you go in for your appointment.
  • Also, there are many cosmetic procedures like tooth implants that are also included.