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dental insurance and dental discount plans will appeal to different people

Is it Better to Have Dental Insurance or a Discount Plan?

This question arises because the two are often confused with each other. They’re on opposite ends of the spectrum. There’s no universal “right” answer here because dental insurance and dental discount plans appeal to different people. 

For someone looking into one of these plans, he or she has to look at the pros and cons of each, and then decide what’s more compelling.

They function in fundamentally different ways – dental insurance truly operates as an insurance plan. It has deductibles, premiums, coinsurance, and a coverage maximum.

Dental discount plans are like coupons with monthly or annual fees. They lack the defining qualities of an insurance policy, like deductibles and coinsurance.

Dental Insurance Plans

There is typically a 6-12 month waiting period before your dental coverage begins. There is a deductible you must meet before your insurance begins to pay for at least part of your procedures. You also pay monthly premiums.

Monthly premiums tend to be $50. The coverage maximum is anywhere between $1000 to $2000, depending on the insurer.

Pros:

  • High coverage percentages. Preventive treatments are paid for. Dental insurance takes 80% off of basic procedures (e.g. gum disease treatments, fillings, and root canals). The costs for major care (e.g. dentures, overlays, and crowns) are cut in half.
  • The 100% coverage for preventive care saves you more in the long run because you are also spared from getting a condition that will require extensive and more expensive work.
  • You control the value dental insurance gives you. A person who pays premiums and gets routine work will benefit more than the one who pays premium costs but never gets treatment.

Cons:

  • 6-12 month waiting period before you’re able to use it. Can be as long as two years if you’re wanting to get major work done.
  • Once you reach the benefit maximum, everything after that will have to come out of your pocket.
  • You could be losing money. Assuming you have a $50 premium, then you’re paying $600 a year. If you don’t get much dental work for the year and say you spent $300 in dental costs, then that’s like paying $600 for $300 worth of work.

Dental Discount Plans

The majority of dental discount plans have no waiting period, so you’re immediately able to get dental treatment at a reduced cost. Membership costs are different depending on the one you get. One might require a $10 monthly payment. Some may just have an annual fee, hovering around $130 depending on the plan

Pros:

  • No deductibles. No need to pay a certain amount before actually getting the coverage.
  • No annual maximum, no matter how much you’ve spent on dental care for the year.
  • Up to 60% discounts for dental care. If the discount is at least 50% for major procedures like dentures or crowns, then you’ve automatically saved more than you would if you had chosen a dental insurance plan.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t cover anything 100%, unlike dental insurance, which fully covers preventive treatments. There will always be some out-of-pocket costs.
  • Your preferred dentist may not be in the network.
  • 10-60% is a wide margin. If your discount is in the lower percentage range, then you won’t be saving much money at all.

They’re Both Better

That’s right, they’re both better. But the real answer depends on who’s reading this. Your needs are unique to you, and what the better choice is for you is different from what the better choice is for someone else.

And like the plan catering to your best interests, Trusted Senior Specialists is in your favor, too. What’s even better is that we reduce hours of research into a short consultation. We didn’t get awarded an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau by being mediocre.


We offer the cure to your fears and concerns about dental insurance. Now that you have the knowledge of what works, you’re ready to choose the plan for your needs. Call (855) 952-1941 or schedule a free video chat consultation with us!