6 Best Dental Insurance Plans

If your insurance does not cover dental treatment, then a stand-alone dental plan might be your best bet for maintaining your oral health. Routine dental treatment (cleanings and X-rays) usually costs between $40 and $97 without insurance, while more involved procedures like root canals can cost more than $1,000 per tooth.

An individual policy can get very expensive depending on the type of coverage and the extent of your dental needs; this is especially true when you take into account the deductibles, copays, and premiums. Dental insurance, however, can help defray the expense of more costly emergency or restoration procedures like implants, crowns, and fillings.

The top providers have no waiting periods, extensive coverage, and high reimbursement limits for basic treatment. View the top dental insurance plans in the list below.

Our Top Picks for Best Dental Insurance Plans

  • Guardian Direct – Best for Major Work
  • Delta Dental – Best for Braces
  • Humana – Best for Variety of Plan Options
  • DentaQuest – Best for Affordable Premiums
  • Spirit Dental – Best for No Waiting Periods
  • United HealthCare Dental – Best for Short Waiting Periods on Major Work

Best Dental Insurance

Best for Major Work: Guardian Direct

Why it was our choice: Guardian Direct is unique in that it covers 50% of significant dental work for all plan types—with the exception of the Starter, which is a preventive-only plan.

The Core plan from Guardian Direct includes coverage for oral surgery, implants, crowns, and dentures. Dental implants are subject to a separate lifetime limitation of $700, while annual maximum limits begin at $500 and increase to $1,000 by year three.

The orthodontic benefits for individuals under 19 are added to the middle tier, the Achiever plan, which also raises the annual maximum limitations. By the third year, the plan’s $1,000 cap had increased to $1,500.

Ultimately, the Diamond plan includes coverage for teeth whitening (limited at $500 annually) and commences with a maximum payout limit of $1,500 for the first year.

Best for Braces: Delta Dental

Why it was our choice: For those in need of orthodontic care, Delta Dental is a great option due to its nationwide availability, extensive dental benefits, and age-neutral braces policy.

One of the rare companies that provide orthodontic benefits to both adults and children is Delta Dental. Three plan alternatives were returned in sample quotations from Florida, New York, and California, two of which included orthodontic coverage.

  • Delta PPO Premium provides coverage for 20 to 50 percent of major and basic procedures and 100% of routine care. 50% of orthodontic treatments are covered, with a $1,500 lifetime cap.
  • Without deductibles or annual limits, DeltaCareUSA (HMO) establishes fixed copayment rates for critical, preventive, and basic services (including orthodontics). The policyholders’ yearly payment must be paid up advance, and there is a restricted provider network.

Although Delta offers five dental plans overall on its main website, readers who are interested in learning more about Delta Dental should be aware that the availability and features of each plan vary by zip code.

Best for Variety of Plan Options: Humana

Why it was our choice: Humana has seven dental plans available. There is a dental savings plan, an affordable HMO plan with a small provider network, and five plans that cover both in-network and out-of-network dentists.

The first five plans in Humana Dental’s plan lineup cover both in-network and out-of-network dental care:

  • For those seeking affordable preventative care, preventative Value PPO is a good option.
  • In addition to providing coverage for routine treatments like fillings and straightforward extractions, the Bright Plus PPO plan offers veteran discounts on prescription drugs as well as eye and hearing care.
  • The most extensive coverage is offered by the final two plans, Complete Dental PPO and Loyalty Plus PPO, which include benefits for major, basic, and preventative dental work.

The Loyalty Plus PPO plan stood out to us in particular since it has no waiting periods for any covered benefit, even serious medical care. The plan’s high deductible ($150) and requirement that policyholders wait until their third year of enrollment to obtain the maximum annual limit ($1,500) are drawbacks.

Additionally, Humana provides a Dental Value HMO plan and a dental savings plan. Preventive, basic, and major operations are covered by Dental Value HMO without any yearly limits, deductibles, or waiting periods. The ideal candidates for this coverage are those who don’t mind a fixed copayment or a small provider network in exchange for reasonable premiums.

Best for Affordable Premiums: DentaQuest

Why it was our choice: DentaQuest’s Personal Dental Plus provides coverage for 100% of preventive care, 50% of basic treatment, and 30% of significant operations for less than $15 per month.

Compared to its competitors, DentaQuest provides comprehensive dental care that is focused solely on prevention at a substantially reduced cost.

  • Preventive care is covered by the Personal Dental Plan (annual cleanings, X-rays, and evaluations)
  • Personal Dental Plan Basic and Personal Dental Plan Plus are the next plan tiers that offer further coverage for both minor and large restorative procedures such oral surgery, fillings, extractions, and denture repairs.

With the following insurance, DentaQuest expands its major work coverage to include orthodontic benefits:

  • Up to a $1,500 annual benefit cap, 100% of preventative, 80% of basic, and 50% of major work are covered under Personal Dental Plan Comprehensive Ortho 15000.
  • Up to a $2,000 annual coverage cap, Personal Dental Plan Comprehensive Ortho 2000 covers 100% preventative, 80% basic, and 50% major work.

Best for No Waiting Periods: Spirit Dental

Spirit Dental is one of the few providers that waives waiting periods for major and restoration procedures across all benefit categories and on all dental policies, which is why we selected it.

Spirit Dental offers two categories of plan options:

  • The best rates are provided by network plans with in-network providers.
  • With choice plans, there are no network restrictions and beneficiaries are free to select their favorite provider. However, greater premiums and out-of-pocket expenses are a result of this freedom.

A $5,000 calendar-year yearly maximum is also available with two of Spirit Dental’s plans, Pinnacle Choice and Pinnacle Network (with the exception of Connecticut, Illinois, and New York). This benefit represents a substantial increase over the customary $1,500 cap, which is greatly appreciated by policyholders who must pay for expensive procedures like implants or dentures. To be eligible for the full $5,000, beneficiaries must pay high premium rates and wait until year three of enrollment.

Best for Short Waiting Periods on Major Work: United HealthCare Dental

Why it was our choice: UnitedHealthOne offers three plans with a six-month waiting period, although the majority of providers impose a 12-month waiting time for significant procedures including crowns, bridges, and oral surgery.

For many people, dental plans without waiting periods can be unaffordable. Searching for a plan with a shorter waiting period is your best bet if you can’t afford to wait a long time.

Patients who cannot wait the full 12 months for operations like crowns, bridges, and dentures can take advantage of a six-month waiting period offered by United HealthOne’s Premier Elite, Primary Preferred, and Primary Preferred Plus plans.

Premier Elite has the most coinsurance for major services (60%) and the highest annual payout cap ($2,000) of the three plans discussed. This is the appearance of Premier Elite coverage:

  • Preventive care: starting on the first day, 100% of regular cleanings and examinations are covered.
  • Basic coverage: This covers extractions and fillings. The coverage starts on the first day and goes up to $2,000 per year. By year two, coverage will rise to 80%.
  • Major work coverage: 15% after six months, 50% in the first year, and 80% in the second.

UnitedHealthOne provides seven more dental insurance policies, separated into Primary and Premier plans, in addition to the Premier Elite plan. While primary policies offer complete benefits at lower premium rates and better coverage for out-of-network providers, the Premier category comprises policies with no waiting periods, large annual payment limits, and significant coinsurance for major dental care.


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