Dental Insurance Organizations: What Are Dental Support Organizations And Plans?

The article includes everything about dental insurance organizations and their different insurance plans.

Various dental procedures, such as preventive care and more involved procedures such as fillings, crowns, and root canals, are covered by dental insurance in multiple ways. The cost of dental insurance is similar to the cost of other types of insurance in that you must pay a monthly insurance premium in addition to a deductible that may be either annual or lifetime in addition to copayments when you visit a dentist for care.

Suppose you compare dental insurance to health insurance. In that case, you will notice that amount of coverage you can receive is significantly lower. As the passage of the Affordable Care Act meant that annual limits on healthcare coverage were no longer applicable in any given year, dental insurance plans frequently have annual limits as low as $750 or $1,000 per individual.

Once you have exhausted your annual maximum benefit amount, you will be required to pay for dental care out of pocket. In addition, keep in mind that dental insurance frequently comes with waiting periods, which vary depending on the type of treatment you require.

When shopping, make sure you don’t get confused between dental insurance and dental discount plans. Dental discount plans only provide discounted pricing on services provided by dentists who are members of a specific network.

Why do you need dental insurance?

The purpose of dental insurance is more than just having a friendly smile, though that is certainly important as well. Quality dental coverage encourages you to visit your dentist regularly for routine care as well as an evaluation of your oral hygiene. Maintaining good oral health can help reduce the likelihood of developing dental problems in the future, which are painful and expensive to treat.

It can also be beneficial to your overall health because problems in your mouth can have consequences for the rest of your body if not addressed. In light of a large number of low-cost dental plans available across the country, obtaining coverage makes sense from the standpoint of both your financial situation and your overall health and well-being.

How does dental insurance work?

Dental insurance can cover various expenses, including annual cleanings, minor oral health repairs, and high-dollar dental claims such as crowns or bridges. Dental insurance is generally divided into preventive, primary, and significant services.

Preventive dental care includes both diagnostic and preventive services such as regular oral exams, teeth cleaning, and x-rays, among other things. Additionally, it may consist of fluoride treatments and sealants (plastic tooth covering to prevent decay). In many cases, the cost of preventive care is often covered in full by dental insurance plans.

Periodontal treatment (gum disease) and root canal therapy include primary dental care. Office visits, extractions, and fillings are also included. These services can cover your insurance company to the tune of 60 to 80 percent of the total cost, with the remaining balance being your responsibility. However, suppose you are responsible for a smaller percentage of the expenses. In that case, you can ask to pay a hefty copay.

Crowns, bridges, dentures, and inlays are all examples of primary dental care. With an inlay, your tooth can have extensive decay but not be in such bad shape that it requires a crown. On the other hand, your tooth condition might not be bad enough to need a crown. Crowns, on the other hand, completely encircle the tooth.

Some dental insurance plans classify root canals as “major” dental care. In contrast, they classify as “basic” dental care in others. The cost of primary dental care is higher, and most insurance plans only cover about half of the total cost of treatment.

What is dental insurance and legal definition?

Dental insurance is a type of insurance that protects individuals against the financial burden of dental expenses. It ensures against the cost of treatment and care of dental disease and accidents to teeth. Preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and dental health maintenance organizations (DHMOs) are the two most common types of dental insurance plans available (DHMO). Both types of care refer to as managed care.

A preferred provider organization (PPO) is a dental health maintenance organization that falls between an indemnity plan and a dental HMO. If you belong to a specific group, you can receive dental care from a defined panel of dentists under this plan. When a participating dentist agrees to charge a lower fee than usual to this clear patient base, the plan purchaser benefits from the savings.

The patient may be required to pay a more significant share of the fee-for-service if they choose to see a dentist who has not been designated as a “preferred provider.” A group of dentists has agreed to provide services at a significantly reduced rate, allowing you to save a significant amount of money as long as you remain in their network. In contrast to the more restrictive DHMO, you can travel outside the network while still receiving some benefits.

The following are some typical characteristics of these plans:

Premiums are paid monthly

  • A dollar limit will impose on an annual basis.
  • It would help if you only visited dentists who are part of the approved network, or you would charge higher deductibles and co-payments.
  • Your average monthly expense is $20 to $25.
  • The insurance departments of each state regulate the companies that sell these policies.

Plans of Indemnification

Traditionally, a fee-for-service dental plan reimburses the dental office (dentist) per visit. The client and the employer pay a monthly premium to an insurance company. The insurance company reimburses the dental office (dentist) for the services provided. When a covered procedure performs, an insurance company will typically pay between 50 percent and 80 percent of the dental office (dentist) fees.

The client will pay the remaining 20 percent to 50 percent. They frequently have a predetermined or set deductible amount that differs from policy to policy based on age or marital status. Indemnity plans can also limit the number of services covered in a given year and pay the dentist according to various fee schedules.

The following are some typical characteristics of these plans:

  1. Exorbitant deductibles before coverage are activated (well-designed plans do not apply the deductible to preventive care).
  2. There are 30-day trial periods for some procedures that last up to a year.
  3. There is a yearly dollar limit on benefits.
  4. You have the option to select your dentist.
  5. Costs range between $15 and $25 per month on average.
  6. Companies that sell these plans are subject to regulation by state insurance departments.

Plans for Direct Reimbursement (DR)

It is a self-funded benefit plan, not an insurance policy. An employer pays dental care with its funds rather than paying premiums to an insurance company or third-party administrator on behalf of employees and their families. As the patient, you are responsible for paying the entire amount directly to the dentist.

You will then receive a receipt detailing the services rendered and the cost, which you will show to your employer. Depending on your specific benefits, your employer may reimburse you for a portion or the entirety of your dental expenses.

Your employer can reimburse you for 100 percent of your first $100 in dental expenses, 80 percent of the next $500, and 50 percent of the next $2,000, for a total annual maximum benefit of $1,500 in dental expenses. Alternatively, it may only reimburse half of your first $1,000, resulting in a yearly cap of $500 on reimbursements.

The following are some typical characteristics of a direct reimbursement plan:

  • Neither you nor employer is responsible for paying monthly premiums.
  • Any dentist can choose at any time.
  • The typical employer cost determines the number of employees and the type of business.
  • Benefits capped at $500 to $2,000 per year in most cases.

Dental HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations)

These insurance plans, also referred to as “capitation plans,” operate similarly to their medical HMO cousins. Enrolled patients receive comprehensive dental care through a network of designated provider offices under the terms of this type of dental plan (dentist).

It is common to see capitation plans in place, such as those offered by dental health maintenance organizations (DHMOs). Per capita (per person) payments are made to dentists rather than the actual treatment to patients. Dentists who participate in the program pay a fixed monthly fee based on the number of patients assigned to their office.

In addition to premiums, clients may require to make co-payments at the time of each visit. The following are some typical characteristics of these plans:

Monthly premiums (some insurance companies require you to prepay a year’s worth of bonuses)

1- Co-payments for office visits are accepted.

2- Preventive or routine care provides no cost.

3- It would help if you chose a dentist from a pre-approved network of professionals.

4- There may be an initial enrollment fee.

5- A dollar limit imposes on an annual basis.

6- Your average monthly cost is between $5 and $15.

7- The insurance departments of each state regulate the companies that sell these policies.

What is a dental health maintenance organization (HMO)?

A dental health maintenance organization (DHMO) is the type of dental plan structured in nature. With these plans, the plan’s approved dentists provide comprehensive and affordable dental care in exchange for a low monthly fee. Most of the work provides at no cost or a greatly reduced rate. In addition, for certain types of work, you may be required to make a copayment.

How Do HMO Dental Plans Operate?

When you register in a DHMO plan, you will be required to select a primary dentist with whom to collaborate. Additionally, you must notify the plan provider or carrier if you wish to change your dentist. When you have a DHMO plan, there are no waiting periods, no calendar year maximums, no deductibles, and claim forms to fill out.

This type of plan is, also called “capitation plan,” is most often the least expensive type of dental insurance you can purchase. Not that dentists require it, but dental health maintenance organizations (DHMOs) provide them with an additional incentive to assist you in staying healthy. They will avoid doing other free work if you remain healthy.

What to consider before choosing an HMO Dental Plan?

More and more people are turning to avail of a DHMO plan. When they have a tooth problem that needs to be done in the next month but cannot wait until the waiting period on their PPO or Indemnity plan can be met. Additionally, with a DHMO, it is simple for you to understand the cost of the work which needs to be done before you enter the facility for care. This is because DHMO services have copays. The cost of the work is not covered by coinsurance in this case.

The work you have done through a dental HMO, except office visits, exams, x-rays, and cleanings, almost always requires you to pay a copay for the services you receive. Work that is not explicitly stated in the summary of benefits of a plan is generally not covered. Exceptions to this rule include:

Suppose you think you might be interested in purchasing a DHMO plan. In that case, it’s a good idea to be aware of some important considerations. For example, those considering a dental health maintenance organization (DHMO) plan should consider the average amount of time people on the plan must wait between dental visits. Also, inquire about the size of the patient pool for the DHMO plan and the number of dentists who serve that pool.

Those who know they will require specialized dental work are also beneficial to determine how many dental specialists are involved in the plan before signing up. Your primary dentist can refer you to dentists who specialize in certain areas of dentistry, and you will receive a discount for the work they perform.

Finally, familiarize yourself with all of the plan’s rules regarding emergency dental care if you travel or are away from home.

The following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of HMO dental insurance plans:

DHMO’s Difficulties

Except for office visits, exams, x-rays, and cleanings, most work is usually subject to a copay. Most of the time, plans do not cover treatments that are not listed explicitly in the plan’s summary of benefits document.

You will be required to wait a specific amount of time between dental appointments. A DHMO plan’s ease of use can be influenced by the size of the patient pool served by the plan and the number of dentists who serve that pool.

You must select a primary care dentist for your work to be covered.

The following are the advantages of DHMOs:

  • DHMOs are ideal for those who require work completed within the next month but cannot wait for the waiting period of another plan to be met.
  • You will be aware of the cost of the work upfront.
  • It provides comprehensive and affordable dental care through a select group of dentists.
  • Dentists provide services at no cost or a reduced rate.
  • Dentists have an additional incentive to help you stay healthy.
  • Most of the time, the most affordable dental plans are available.
  • There are no waiting periods, calendar year maximums, deductibles, or claim forms to worry about with this plan.
  • Your primary dentist can refer you to a dental specialist, and you’ll receive a discount on the work performed by the specialist.

How do dental plans work?

There are many similarities between dental plans and traditional health insurance, but some significant differences are also. Dental insurance, like medical insurance, is paid for through a monthly premium that covers the plan’s benefits.

These benefits frequently accompany a modest deductible amount that must meet out-of-pocket before the plan begins to share in the costs of covered dental procedures. On the other hand, some plans have waiting periods. These waiting periods prevent you from receiving coverage for certain services for some time after you enroll and your plan becomes active.

Often, more expensive dental procedures such as crowns or root canals require a waiting period before being performed. Consider reviewing the Summary of Benefits to ensure that any dental care you require soon is covered immediately. If you have dental care needs soon and are shopping for a dental plan, be sure to review the summary of benefits. It will help you ensure that any dental care you require is covered immediately.

Like most health insurance plans, many dental insurance plans have a network of providers. An enrollee can choose to receive dental care. In most dental health maintenance organization plans, dental care is obtained from a dentist, not in the network, and is not covered. DPPO plans cover dentists outside of the network, but your out-of-pocket costs are higher than they are for in-network dentists.

Dental discount plans, which are not insurance but offer discounted dental services, can only be used with dentists who are members of the plan’s network. Dentists who provide dental indemnity plans are not required to use a network. You are free to choose any dentist you want, and you will receive a set reimbursement for any money you spend on covered dental services.

What are the different types of dental insurance plans?

Dental insurance plans are generally classified into two categories:

1- Dental plans with preferred provider organizations (PPOs)

2- Dental health maintenance organization (DMO)

Dental plans with preferred provider organizations (PPOs)

A dental preferred provider organization (PPO) plan is a dental plan that offers dental care for a fixed monthly fee. It is possible to visit any dentist within the PPO network for reduced service fees when you have this type of plan.

You may choose to operate outside of the approved system, but your out-of-pocket expenses will rise as a result. The plan is best for people who want to visit any dentist who accepts their PPO plan and does not have a preferred provider network.

DMO dental plans are a type of health maintenance organization.

A Dental Maintenance Organization (DMO) plan allows you to see any dentist within the approved network for no additional charge or a significantly discounted rate. In some cases, the prices for a DMO dental plan are less high than the prices for a PPO dental plan.

However, you will not receive dental care if you are outside the network. This plan is a good choice if you have a preferred dentist within the DMO network and want a lower fixed monthly premium payment option.

Because dental insurance coverage can differ from plan to plan, it is a good idea to shop around to find the right one for you.

What are the best practises when shopping for dental insurance?

You care about your teeth, so you should care about how you shop for dental coverage. Don’t consider the monthly premium alone. Instead, you should examine plans available in your area. You should consider following while choosing a dental plan:

  • What dental services the plan covers.
  • If your dentist accepts the coverage or not.
  • What cap there is on the plan’s payments toward your annual dental costs.
  • How much out-of-pocket costs are charged for the dental services you expect to use (as well as the services that might be needed unexpectedly).
  • How does the plan deal with situations where you won’t care from an out-of-network dentist.

What are the best dental insurance companies of 2022?

The top dental insurance providers for the Year 2022 are as follows:

  1. Cigna and Renaissance Dental are both considered best choices
  2. Spirit Dental is the best choice if you don’t want to wait.
  3. Humana Dental Insurance is the most cost-effective option.
  4. UnitedHealthOne Dental Insurance is the best option for families.
  5. Physicians Mutual Insurance Company is the best option for seniors.
  6. Delta Dental is the best option for orthodontics.

Why choose Cigna?

Cigna is known as one of the best overall dental insurance provider because of its extensive network of more than 93,000 dentists and the variety of plans available to meet a wide range of needs and budgets.

Advantages and disadvantages


Some plans provide coverage for restorative and orthodontic procedures.

There are more than 93,000 dentists in the network nationwide.


Major services have waiting periods ranging from six to twelve months.

Cosmetic procedures such as dental implants and facelifts are not covered.

Why choose Renaissance Dental?

Even though Renaissance Dental does not have the same comprehensive coverage that Cigna does, it is the runner-up due to the fact that it has a larger network (300,000+ dental offices) and has a strong reputation for providing excellent customer service.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • Some health insurance plans provide complete coverage for preventive care.
  • There are 300,000 dental offices in the United States.
  • Quotes are available online for no cost.


  • The maximum benefit available under the plans is $1,000 per person per year.
  • Orthodontic treatment is not covered by any insurance plans.
  • The availability of basic and major services is restricted.

Why choose Spirit Dental?

It can be chosen because there are 16 different types of policies in Spirit dental. After three years, the coverage is limited to $5,000 and it is available in 50 states.

Because Spirit Dental’s plans do not require any waiting periods and because the $100 deductible is only required once per year rather than every year, we chose them over the competition.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • Fully comprehensive coverage for three cleanings and two exams per year.
  • There are no waiting periods.
  • Deductible of $100 for the rest of one’s life.


  • The annual coverage maximums can be as low as $750 per person per year.
  • Plans differ significantly in terms of annual maximums and costs.

Why choose Humana Dental Insurance?

Humana Dental Insurance is a type of dental insurance that is provided by Humana.

Due to the low starting rates for basic plans, the fact that preventive services are covered at 100 percent, and the fact that some plans have a one-time deductible, we determined that Humana was the best overall value for our money.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • Preventive care is covered at 100 percent under the plans’ provisions.
  • Humana has a network of more than 270,000 dentists across the country.


  • Benefits can be as low as $1,000 per year, depending on the situation.
  • Some health insurance plans have lengthy waiting periods for basic and major services.

What is Dental Insurance from UnitedHealthOne

UnitedHealthOne is our top pick for the best health insurance for families because of its winning combination of preventive care and orthodontia coverage, which can save families a significant amount of money over time.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • There is a large number of dentists to choose from.
  • Many plans cover 100 percent of the costs of preventive care.
  • Orthodontic treatment is covered by some insurance plans.


  • In some cases, the annual maximum benefit amounts can be as little as $1,000 per person.
  • For both basic and major services, there may be a waiting period.

Why choose physicians mutual insurance company?

Types of Policies: 3

Coverage is not limited in any way.

States that are available: 50

We chose Physicians Mutual for seniors because there are no annual or lifetime limits on the coverage, and it includes benefits to assist with the cost of dentures. It also offers specialized pricing to fit a senior’s budget, which was important to us.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • There is no waiting period for preventive services.
  • Benefits are not subject to annual or lifetime limits
  • There are no deductibles


  • For routine procedures, there is a three-month waiting period.
  • For major work, there is a 12-month waiting period.
  • They have set limits on how much they will pay for each procedure.

Why choose Delta Dental?

When it comes to orthodontic care, Delta Dental offers several dental insurance plans that cover both children and adults, whereas most other providers don’t offer a wide range of affordable orthodontia options.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • Orthodontic care is covered by some insurance plans.
  • On the majority of plans, there are no out-of-pocket expenses for preventive care.
  • There is a substantial number of service providers.


  • The annual maximum benefit amounts are insignificant.
  • Orthodontic treatment is only partially covered by insurance.


Dental insurance helps cover the costs of preventive dental care while also easing the financial burden associated with more expensive procedures. Such procedures may include crowns, bridges, and fillings, among other things.

It’s critical to shop around for a dental insurance company that offers plans that provide the amount of coverage you require. Without having low annual caps or exclusions, it prevents you from receiving any benefit from your policy.

Having access to an extensive network of dentists, having reasonable annual benefit maximums, and having the potential for low premiums are all characteristics of the best dental insurance plans.

It is critical that you thoroughly compare and review all of the dental insurance policies you consider while looking for the best dental insurance company to know what is and is not covered.

John Otero

John Otero

John Otero is an industry practitioner with more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry. He has held various senior management roles both in the insurance companies and insurance brokers during this span of time. He began his insurance career in 2004 as an office assistant at an agency in her hometown of Duluth, MN. He got licensed as a producer while working at that agency and progressed to serve as an office manager. Working in the agency is how he fell in love with the industry. He saw firsthand the good that insurance consumers experienced by having the proper protection. John has diverse experience in corporate & consumer insurance services, across a range of vocations. His specialties include Major Corporate risk management and insurance programs, and Financial Lines He has been instrumental in making his firm as one of the leading organizations in the country in generating sustainable rapid growth of the company while maintaining service excellence to clients.

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