woman online shopping on laptop for dental insurance

Whether you’re currently without dental insurance or are simply shopping around for a new policy, the fact remains that the process of searching for your ideal policy can be quite tedious and time consuming. After all, dental insurance is a lot different than a traditional health insurance plan in the sense that it’s less open-ended and provides coverage for very specific preventative care.

As you shop for a dental health plan, here are a few of the most important considerations to keep in mind.

1. Time is of the Essence

First and foremost, don’t put off making a decision until you absolutely need dental work done. The sooner you’re covered, the better off you’ll be. After all, most dental plans have a waiting period for major services; during this waiting period, you may not be covered for certain types of dental work, such as root canals or crowns. The worst thing you can do is to wait until something bad happens to seek coverage.

2. Be Wary of the “Cheapest” Plan

Everybody’s needs are different when it comes to dental insurance. Therefore, you’ll want to find a policy that meets your needs while avoiding paying for things you probably won’t need. That being said, don’t always go with the least expensive option. A lower cost plan may be void of important provisions that are easy to overlook. The benefits in different types of dental plans can vary greatly, so take your time to evaluate important features like the annual maximums, waiting periods, excluded procedures, provider networks, and whether the plan pays benefits when visiting an out-of-network dentist.

3. Deductibles and Co-Pays

No matter what kind of dental plan you choose, you’ll likely be paying at least some kind of deductible and/or co-pay when you see the dentist. While many plans provide coverage for bi-annual exams, most plans don’t cover 100% for other dental work, such as:

  • fillings
  • tooth extraction
  • dental crowns

As such, you’ll want to find a plan with co-pays and deductibles that are reasonable for your budget.

4. What’s Covered (and What’s Not)

Before you decide on a dental plan, it’s always recommended that you read the fine print to get a true picture of what’s covered by your plan and what’s not. Basic dental care, such as preventative exams, cleanings, and X-rays ought to be covered, but there’s a good chance that certain procedures such as cosmetic work will need to be paid for out-of-pocket.

5. Your Preferred Dentist

Finally, if you’re opposed to the idea of finding a new dentist with your new plan, make sure the policy you choose is accepted by your preferred dentist. If not, you’ll surely want to find out how the plan covers benefits for going “out-of-network”. It is a good idea to verify whether your dentist is in-network by viewing the provider listing for the plan on the insurance company’s website and by contacting the front desk staff at your dentist’s office.