New To Dental Coverage? Know The Difference Between A Dental Insurance Plan And A Discount Plan

Posted on: 17 February 2015

If trying to sift through all the various ways that you can pay for dental work, you are likely as confused as you are in pain. Many advertisements promote plans that promise to help pay for work needed. However, it is important to know the difference between dental insurance and a discount plan. Having a good understanding of what you're paying for helps to prevent unnecessary and surprising bills. This guide explains what each it so that you can make the right choice depending on your personal financial situation.

Insurance Plan Features

Dental insurance pays for more procedures than a discount plan does. The insurance company pays a percentage of the bill, depending on which plan you choose, and then you are responsible to pick up the rest of the tab. Certain restrictions are in place, so read the details of your insurance plan carefully. In doing so, look for these specifics:

  • co-pay for office visits
  • percentage that the insurance pays (80 percent, 50 percent and so on)
  • maximum yearly benefit that the insurance pays
  • deductibles

Expect your dentist to look over your insurance as well. The number that is most important to them is the maximum yearly benefit. If you're in a situation where you need crowns, root canals or other major work completed, they'll spread out the procedures so that you can get the most out of your insurance. For example, they may do the root canal and temporary crown in one year, and then schedule the permanent crown for shortly after the beginning of the year.

Discount Plan Features

Purchase a dental discount plan if you don't have dental insurance. A plan like this saves you money by simply offering you a discount. Some companies don't discount major procedures because the company offering the plan is not picking up a portion of the bill, you are only getting a discount.

In some situations, a discount plan works in conjunction with your insurance to offer a lower rate. Some of the procedures that you can get a discount on include:

  • cleanings
  • yearly checkups
  • cavity fillings

Your dentist works with these companies to offer the discounts to bring in customers. Sometimes the dentist sets the discount amount. Some companies offer a set amount, no matter what dentist you visit.


When choosing between dental insurance and a discount plan keep these things in mind:

  1. Insurance companies often offer free cleanings and checkups to their customers once per year.
  2. Just as you pay for dental insurance, you'll need to pay for a dental discount plan as well, so determine your needs and review all your options before settling on a plan.

Ask your dentist which insurance and/or discount plans they accept before making your appointment. Schedule your appointments for major dental work for a time when you can get the most out of the plan you have. If you can use both but still have a large bill, ask a dentist (such as one from Mooresville Dental) about financing to ensure that you can get the care you need.


About Marcel and the Dentist

Hi, my name is Marcel. Welcome to my site! I started it to help others learn about children's dentistry. Most of us don't remember dentist trips from our early childhood. Maybe we didn't even really care about our teeth until we started losing baby teeth. In my case, I became interested in children's dentistry as a young father. When my kids were young, I was a student, and our insurance did not cover visits to the dentist. Although my wife and I tried to teach our kids good hygiene on our own, it was difficult. When we we finally able to take them to the dentist, my little girls were scared and didn't know what was going on. Luckily, they appreciate the dentist now that they are older, but their first experiences helped teach me more about the importance of children's dentistry. Hopefully you can learn from my experiences!