What are Stand-Alone Dental Plans and Why Would I Need One?

stand alone dental plansA visit to the dentist is rarely a pleasant experience. You could be forced to go because of a throbbing toothache. Or it may be a regular checkup, and the dentist says you need a root canal or extraction. If that’s not bad enough, you’re hit with a huge bill to pay — making the pain seem even worse.

Unfortunately, going to the dentist is unavoidable. Sooner or later, you must get some work done — even if it’s a standard clean and X-ray to check for cavities. Is there a way to relieve the pain of dental treatment?

Dental Insurance and Stand-alone Dental Plans

A stand-alone dental plan can take away some of the pain when you visit the dentist. Taking out dental insurance typically pays for all regular checkups. Additionally, dental plans pay for a percentage of most dental procedures — root canals, crowns, bridges, and extractions. While a dental plan won’t ease any physical pain, it makes dental work more affordable.

But you might ask: why do I need a stand-alone dental plan if I’ve got medical insurance? The truth is that standard medical insurance rarely covers dental work. At best, you might only get cover for emergency procedures. If you can get preventative dental care on medical insurance, you usually have limited options.

Generally, stand-alone dental plans focus on preventative dental care. Bi-annual dentist visits are excellent if you want to maintain a great smile. In the long run, dental insurance can save you money, avoid painful dental work, and keep your dental health in excellent shape.

In this article, you’ll learn about the many benefits of taking out a stand-alone dental plan.

What is a Stand-Alone Dental Plan?

A stand-alone dental plan is a separate insurance plan for all aspects of oral health care. Dental insurance covers all the costs of checkups, X-rays, and regular cleanings. Additionally, dental plans work on a coinsurance basis. The plan pays for 80 percent of basic procedures and 50 percent of major work.

Basic dental work covered in most dental plans typically include fillings, extractions, and root canals. Major dental work involves procedures such as crowns, bridges, and surgery. However, individual dental plans have varying levels of cover.

Of course, there are still deductibles and co-pays with dental insurance. But covering most of the cost of dental care is one of the best reasons to have stand-alone dental insurance.

Types of stand-alone dental insurance plans

There are two basic types of stand-alone insurance plans for dental care.

The cheapest type of dental plan is a Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) plan. The benefits of a DHMO plan are low premiums and deductibles. However, with this type of insurance, you must visit an in-network provider. In some cases, this type of insurance can limit your access to dental care.

The most common type of dental insurance is the Dental Preferred Provider Organization (DPPO). The reason for choosing a DPPO plan is that you can choose almost any dentist. This means you can get appointments faster and go to a dentist that is convenient for you. A DPPO has higher premiums and deductibles than a DHMO plan.

The Benefits of Stand-Alone Dental Plans

Why would you need to get an individual dental insurance plan? What if your medical insurance covers essential dental work? Are there any benefits in getting a stand-alone plan for dental care? There are many valid reasons for arranging separate dental insurance.

Here are three reasons how dental insurance can benefit you.

1. Stand-alone dental plans reduce the cost of dental work

The most significant benefit of dental insurance is saving you money in the long-run. The average dental plan costs around $360 a year. That is less than the cost of buying a coffee every day. The dental insurance plan means you don’t pay for any preventative work.

On average, it costs just under $300 to visit a dentist’s office for a checkup without insurance. This amount is slightly less than the average dental insurance premium. However, dental plans cover all your preventative treatment, plus a percentage of any necessary dental work.

If you need essential dental work, most plans cover 80 percent of the cost. For example, suppose you need a root canal. Without insurance, the bill could be around $1,000. With an average dental plan, you’ll only pay about $200 or $300 in out-of-pocket costs.

2. Dental insurance gives you more choices

Depending on the type of dental plan, you can choose which dentist to attend. Dental Preferred Provider Organization plans allow you to visit almost any dentist. If you see an in-network provider, you have no co-pays to worry about. If you see a non-network dentist, you will have to pay a percentage of the cost.

Typically, with combined medical and dental insurance, your options are limited. First, you must see an in-network provider. Suppose that the nearest dentist is on the other side of the city. A visit to the dentist will be inconvenient. However, a separate dental plan means you can pick and choose who you see.

When choosing the right dental plan, it’s crucial to check the size of their network and the cost of premiums.   

3. Preventative dental care

The main reason to get dental insurance is for its preventative benefits. Dental insurance policies require that you get a checkup twice a year. During the checkup, the dentist or hygienist removes tartar, checks for cavities, and screens other related health issues.

One study found that people who go for routine checkups have better oral health. Generally, regular dentist visits result in less tooth loss and caries. Also, fixing tooth decay early helps prevent gum disease and bad breath.

Regular dental checkups also protect your overall health. Research has found that people who visit their dentist regularly have a lower risk of heart disease.

Stand-Alone Dental Plans — In Conclusion

Getting dental insurance is a cost-effective way to care for your oral health. Stand-alone dental plans give you the best options to get preventative dental care. Also, insurance will help pay for any additional dental work you may need to protect your smile.