Dental insurance is very similar to medical insurance. You pay a specific rate on a monthly basis, which is called a premium. This premium entitles you to specific dental benefits including regular dental check-ups, x-rays, cleanings, and services that will help ensure dental health.  Some plans will provide a broader range of coverage than others and in some you will have to pay more for rendered services.

Types of Dental Plans

Again like medical insurance plans, dental plans are categorized as indemnity or manage-care. A broad description is that the largest differences are regarding the choice of dental care providers, how bills are paid, and your out-of-pocket costs. Indemnity plans usually offer a wider selection of dental care providers than you will find in managed care plans. If you have an indemnity plan, they pay their portion of the bill for covered services after they receive a bill. This means that you first have to pay the entire bill, and then receive a reimbursement from the insurance company.


Dental coverage is generally described as 100-80-50 coverage. What this means is that the insurance will pay 100 percent of all primitive, routine and diagnostic care, like cleanings and check-ups. If you were to need a filling, root canal or other minor procedure, they would pay 80 percent. 50 percent of major procedures, such as crowns and bridges are paid by insurance, which leaves you the other half of the bill.

A majority of dental coverage is provided through employee policies and group policies. These plans charge annual premiums in the range of 234 to 432 dollars per person. The cost of an individual policy is about $360 a year.

Cosmetic procedures are almost never covered by dental insurance.