Dental Plans Versus Dental Insurance

In today’s world, people are making sure that they have insurance coverage to avoid unexpected medical and dental bills. The expected expense of insurance is much more manageable than an unexpected emergency. Emergencies are very difficult to include in the budget.

So Many Choices

Dental plans are running advertisements everywhere. Many people are under the impression that a dental plan is the same thing as having dental insurance. This is a large misunderstanding and most people do not understand the differences until they try to use their plan as insurance.

What are the Differences? It is imperative that you understand the differences before making a decision to buy insurance or a dental plan. Complete understanding will eliminate any surprising expenses that may arise.


A dental plan is a company partnered with participating dentists that will accept their discounted rates. Most of the plans are called discount dental plans. They are usually priced reasonably and less than insurance plans. This is what lures people to purchase a discount plan before doing any more homework.

They assume it to be the plan of any local dentist in Orlando where they just have to follow a few procedures and get things done in a jiffy but there is more to the story than meets the eye, which sadly very few people realize and as discount plans always have certain repercussions that do more damage than help.

People think they are getting great coverage for as little as fifteen dollars per month. What they do not understand about the plan is that they are going to be responsible for the entire bill.

If you go to a dentist the breakdown looks about like this: visit is fifty dollars, x-ray is thirty dollars, filling one hundred and fifty dollars, Novocain eighty dollars and supplies used for the procedure are twenty dollars. Altogether you have a bill of three hundred and thirty dollars.

With the discount dental plan, the dentist may have a contract with the company that makes the visit thirty dollars, the x-ray twenty dollars, filling one hundred dollars, Novocain is not covered, and the supplies will be ten dollars. The dentist will bill you that amount, which comes to one hundred and sixty dollars.

Items not covered by the plan will also be your responsibility, which comes to eighty dollars. The rest of the amount then becomes a write off and you will not have to pay that. In this example, the discount dental plan saved you ninety dollars.

This is a good plan for someone that will be able to pay this kind of a bill when necessary and that does not have frequent dental issues. It is also a practical plan for someone that goes to the dentist regularly and just wants a discount on their bills. Be aware that some dental plans do not have coverage for oral surgery, extractions, medications needed at the pharmacy, or any medical issues.


Dental insurance is more expensive, sometimes upwards of one hundred dollars a month. The coverage is more extensive than discount dental plans and underwriters create these insurance plans.

If you go to the dentist for the same procedures previously mentioned and have a bill of three hundred and thirty dollars, there may only be a co pay of thirty dollars for this visit. Dental insurance will not cover any medical expenses.

It may cover extractions, but not oral surgery and only a few insurance plans offer prescription drug coverage. This is a plan that is good for families with young children that may have a lot of dental bills or for an individual with oral problems.

Study and Compare

When comparing the choices available to you, be sure to make an educated decision and know what you will be responsible for. Though dental insurance covers more of the cost when a visit to the dentist is required, it is more expensive than the discount dental plan. So it may fit your individual needs to have a plan that costs less because you will not frequently use it. If you take time to research all of the options, you will make the right decision for you and your family.