How Much Is Dental Insurance?

How Much Is Dental Insurance and Do You Need It?

Dental insurance plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health by helping cover the costs of dental care. This can include routine check-ups, cleanings, and more extensive procedures such as fillings, crowns, and even orthodontic work. But how much is dental insurance, and do you really need it?

Understanding Dental Insurance Costs


The premium is the amount you pay monthly or annually for your dental insurance plan. On average, dental insurance premiums range from $15 to $50 per month for an individual plan and $30 to $150 per month for a family plan. The cost of premiums can vary based on the type of plan, the level of coverage, and the insurance provider.


A deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance starts to cover certain services. Deductibles for dental insurance are typically lower than those for medical insurance, often ranging from $50 to $100 per year for individual plans and $150 to $300 for family plans. Some plans might waive the deductible for preventive services such as exams and cleanings.

Co-payments and Co-insurance

Co-payments, or co-pays, are fixed amounts you pay for specific services, such as $20 for a dental cleaning. Co-insurance is a percentage of the cost of a service that you pay. For example, your plan might cover 80% of the cost of a filling, leaving you to pay the remaining 20%.

Annual Maximums

Most dental insurance plans have an annual maximum, which is the maximum amount the insurance will pay for covered services in a given year. Annual maximums typically range from $1,000 to $2,000. Once you reach this limit, you are responsible for any additional costs until the next plan year begins.

Types of Dental Insurance Plans

Dental Preferred Provider Organization (DPPO)

DPPO plans offer a network of dentists who provide services at reduced rates. You can see any dentist, but you’ll save more by choosing a dentist within the network. These plans usually have higher premiums but offer greater flexibility in choosing providers.

Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO)

DHMO plans require you to choose a primary dentist within the network and get referrals to see specialists. These plans often have lower premiums and no deductibles, but you must use network providers to receive coverage.

Discount Dental Plans

Discount dental plans are not insurance but provide discounts on dental services at participating providers. You pay an annual fee and receive discounted rates on services. These plans can be a good option if you don’t need extensive dental work and want to save on routine care.

Indemnity Plans

Indemnity plans, also known as fee-for-service plans, allow you to see any dentist and the insurance company reimburses you for a portion of the costs. These plans offer the most flexibility but usually come with higher out-of-pocket costs and premiums.

Do You Need Dental Insurance?

Coverage Needs

Consider your dental health needs and those of your family. If you have young children, you might want a plan that covers orthodontic services. If you expect to need major dental work, look for a plan with a higher annual maximum.

Financial Considerations

Dental insurance can help manage the costs of dental care, but it’s important to weigh the costs of premiums, deductibles, and co-pays against your expected dental expenses. If you generally have good oral health and only need routine check-ups and cleanings, you might find that paying out-of-pocket is more cost-effective.

Access to Care

Having dental insurance can provide peace of mind knowing that you have access to care when you need it. It can also encourage regular dental visits, which are essential for maintaining good oral health and preventing more serious and costly problems down the line.

Alternative Options

If dental insurance premiums are out of your budget, consider alternative options such as discount dental plans or using a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to cover dental expenses with pre-tax dollars. Some dental offices also offer in-house membership plans that provide discounted rates for services.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Dental Insurance

Network of Providers

Check the network of dentists available in each plan. Ensure your current dentist is in-network if you want to continue seeing them, or make sure there are convenient and highly-rated dentists in the network.


Evaluate the total costs of each plan, including premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance. Don’t just look at the premiums; consider how much you’ll pay out-of-pocket for the services you’re likely to need.

Waiting Periods

Some dental insurance plans have waiting periods for certain services, meaning you have to wait a certain amount of time after purchasing the plan before you can use the coverage for those services. This is especially common for major procedures like crowns or orthodontics.

Other Benefits

Some plans offer additional benefits such as discounts on vision care or hearing aids. Consider these extras when comparing plans.

How to Save on Dental Insurance

Compare Plans

Take the time to compare multiple dental insurance plans. Use online tools and resources to compare costs and coverage options. Look for plans that meet your needs at a price you can afford.

Use Preventive Care

Most dental insurance plans cover preventive services like exams and cleanings at little to no cost. Take advantage of these services to maintain your dental health and potentially avoid more costly procedures down the line.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

If your employer offers an FSA or HSA, you can use these accounts to pay for dental expenses with pre-tax dollars, lowering out-of-pocket costs.


Dental insurance can be a valuable tool for managing the costs of dental care and maintaining your oral health. However, whether you need dental insurance depends on your individual circumstances, including your dental health needs, financial situation, and access to dental care. By understanding the different types of plans, the costs involved, and the factors to consider, you can make an informed decision that best meets your needs and budget. Whether you’re looking for individual coverage or a family plan, taking the time to research and compare options can help you find the right dental insurance for you.

Ace Dental Boston in Hyde Park

1138 River St.
Boston, MA 02136
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Monday - Friday: 9am-6pm
Saturday: 9am-2pm (every other week)
Sunday: Closed


(617) 361-5020

Ace Dental Boston in West Roxbury

1840 Centre St.
Boston, MA 02132
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Monday - Thursday: 9am-6pm
Friday: Closed
Saturday: 9am-2pm (every other week)
Sunday: Closed


(617) 327-5700