Dental plans can be cheap, expensive, or in between. How do you know if you’re getting the best plan for your family? Below are several factors to consider before buying dental insurance.

Who Needs Insurance?

Young adults, families with children, older adults – each situation is different and you may or may not need dental insurance. If you go to the dentist often or need expensive procedures, dental insurance might be a good idea. If you only go to get your teeth cleaned once or twice a year, a minimum of dental insurance might be best for you.

Kinds of Dental Plans

Consider the different kinds of dental plans.

  • Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO): Larger network and higher costs. Can go outside the network in some circumstances.
  • Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO): Smaller network and lower premium cost.
  • Discount Plans: Even lower cost than DHMO plans. Smaller group of dentists. Not a dental plan, but a discount off the normal dental providers’ rates.

Know What’s Covered by Each Plan

Consider what services you need and then look at the following questions when evaluating your options:

  • Preventive Services such as cleanings and dental exams
  • Basic Services such as fillings and simple extractions
  • Major Services such as crowns, bridges, and implants
  • Cosmetic procedures such as whitening or overlays

Plans have coverage for different procedures. Make sure the plan you are considering has coverage for what you need.

Are There Dentists in Network Near You?

Before choosing a dental plan, ensure there are in-network dentists near you. You can check to see if your dentist is in network. If not, then look at other plans or choose another dentist. Some dentists don’t take insurance at all. Check with your dentist for information about what plans they accept.

Budget vs. Cost

Evaluate what services you may use in a year and the costs for each. When crunching the numbers, make sure to consider:

  • Premiums (monthly vs annual)
  • Co-payments for each covered procedure
  • Deductible (if applicable)
  • Annual maximum - Each plan has a maximum amount it will pay in a year.

Though it may look complex, dental insurance can be a good option for you. Talk with your local licensed insurance agent to help determine what’s right for you and your family.

Adapted from an article at

This article is for information only and should not be considered a recommendation. Talk with a licensed Health Insurance Professional about your specific circumstances. For more information you can go to The Texas Department of Insurance.