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Which is More Helpful – Dental Insurance or a Discount Dental Plan?

dental insurance plans

dental insurance plansWhen it comes to paying for your wisdom tooth extraction procedure, you will have a few options. You can always choose to pay out of pocket, but these procedures can be rather pricey- especially if you need more than one wisdom tooth removed or if your wisdom teeth are impacted. The vast majority of people do not have dental insurance. In fact, a 2009 Harris Interactive and HealthDay poll found that 30% of American adults with regular health insurance but not dental insurance failed to visit a dentist due to its cost. The poll also found that of the people in the country without dental or health insurance, more than half of them required dental care but did not get it due to the costs. Paying for dental procedures can be tough.

You generally have two options for paying for your dental work if you don’t want to pay out of pocket. You can purchase independent dental insurance, but if you do so, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200-$300 per year in premiums. Another option is a discount dental plan, which is a membership based network of discounted services from select dentists. So, which is better- dental insurance or a discount dental plan?

Dental insurance has some limitations. You have to pay a yearly premium plus a deductible before the insurance kicks in and begins to pay for your wisdom tooth extraction procedure. Different insurance plans will also have different co-pay requirements. In general, dental insurance is a useful way to cover basic and routine dental trips, as long as your monthly premiums and co-pays are not too high, but they may not pay for serious procedures. On the other hand, a discount dental plan usually requires you to pay an enrollment fee and an annual fee, but these fees are usually around $100 per year. Once you have enrolled in the program, you will be eligible to receive discounted dental services from within the select network of providers. This type of program does not have co-payments or deductibles to worry about and you are free to get as many dental procedures per year as you want.

For most people, the discount dental plan will be the way to go, especially if you need to pay for a major procedure such as a wisdom tooth extraction surgery. Using this type of plan, you could spend $100 or so and then save up to 60% on every procedure you have done within that year. A good example of one of these discount dental plans is DentalPlans.com. Always do your research before choosing dental insurance or a discount dental plan.


  1. You didn’t mention what is perhaps the biggest advantage some discount plans have over dental insurance and that is that you can purchase them on a month to month basis instead of having to pay upfront for full year. This feature can be a great benefit (no pun intended) if you are looking only to get one or two dental procedures performed at lower cost or if you are waiting for your dental insurance benefits to kick that you receive via a new employer.

    However, It’s usually cheaper to purchase a discount plan on a yearly basis than on a month to month basis; you have that option with a the discount plan where is you don’t with traditional dental insurance.


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