Dental Discount Plans vs Dental Insurance In 2021 (Plus Rates & Tips)

By Aten-Re El Published:

Having a dental emergency is horrible, you are always in pain, and the relief doesn’t seem to come fast enough.

But, how much more pain would you be in, if you found out that your dental insurance won’t cover you?

dental discount plans

In all honesty:

Your current dental insurance policy sucks compared to dental discount plans.

In this guide, I am going to go over four reasons why dental plans are a better option for your dental care, and why you need to replace your dental insurance policy.

What Are Dental Discount Plans?

“In Plain English” Dental discount plans are an alternative to insurance and they are an easy way to help you save money at the dentist, they give you access to large discounts on dental costs at thousands of in-network dentists.

You can learn exactly how specific plans work by reading their reviews, like the one we have for Careington.


Dental Plans made easy.

Agents not required.

Get quotes and sign up online without talking to an agent. But, we are here if you need us. 

Unbiased, expert advice.

Get unbiased insurance education from licensed experts and also avoid dodgy sales calls.

Coverage in minutes.

You can get a dental insurance policy within minutes of getting your quotes and applying online.

What Is Dental Insurance?

“In Plain English” Dental insurance is protection for preventative, minor and major dental costs, you can usually always choose your dentist, there aren’t any networks.

Now that we have what these products are, let's find out why one is better than the other: 

The Waiting Period

Just imagine going to your dentist with this throbbing pain in your mouth, and you have no idea what’s causing it.

You are happy you purchased your dental insurance policy a few months ago because this pain in your mouth came out of nowhere.

You arrive at your dentist’s office, and they give you an exam and x-ray.

After the review of your results, the Dentist explains that the pain is being caused by an impacted wisdom tooth and that you are going to have to get it pulled.

You aren’t happy about getting this procedure done, but you decide to move forward because of your pain.

I mean, this is why you have insurance right?

You are then hit with the worst news of the day, your dentist explains that your current dental insurance plan hasn’t been active long enough for it to cover the treatment.

No coverage means you will have to pay full price for the procedure.  

This is why one of the worst features of any Dental Insurance policy is their waiting period, having a waiting period Sucks!

Waiting period times can vary depending on the specific insurance carrier and range anywhere between 6 to 24 months.

“In Plain English” A waiting period is a set period you must wait before a benefit, or a specific service is covered under your dental insurance plan.  

These waiting period times can vary depending on the specific insurance carrier and range anywhere from 6 to 24 months.  

The more expensive and difficult the procedure, normally the longer the waiting period.  

This can be a hassle if you are only a few months into your plan and you need to have oral surgery or a root canal.  

Any pre-existing dental conditions that you have will also have waiting periods attached to them.

With that being said, don’t rush to purchase dental insurance because you saw a cavity, you will still be required to wait for a minimum of 12 months before the plan will cover it.

If you check out the image below, you can easily see that not only do major dental issues have waiting periods, but each carrier has a different waiting period for each service:

dental insurance plans

Annual Maximums

Annual Maximums come in at a close second place to what makes your dental insurance suck.  

“In Plain English” Annual maximums are the maximum dollar amount a dental insurance plan will pay toward the cost of dental care within a year.

Annual maximums can normally range from $500.00/year all the way up to $2,000/year.

The higher the annual maximum, the higher the monthly premiums.


Assuming you have an Annual Maximum of $1,000, all that it would take to reach it is you to have your normal two annual checkups and any of the below procedures:

  • Porcelain Crown - Average Cost = $1,008
  • Anterior Root Canal - Average Cost = $718
  • Bicuspid Root Canal - Average Cost = $822
  • Molar Root Canal - Average Cost = $1,036
  • Getting an Upper Denture - Average Cost = $1053
  • Getting a Lower Denture - Average Cost = $947

Once you reach your annual maximum, you would be paying 100% out of pocket for any dental procedure for the rest of the year.

Imagine if you needed a root canal!

If you don’t already know this, when you get a root canal, your tooth is shaved down to the nerve and all of the decayed roots are pulled out, these canals are then treated and filled in.

Once that is complete you will need a Crown to replace your tooth.

That means that you will be well over your annual maximum from just one procedure because it requires you actually to have two procedures.

Upon careful review, it is very easy to see why having an annual maximum on your dental policy also Sucks.


Dental Plans by state.

Annual Deductible

Congratulations, you have a dental insurance policy, you find out that you need to have a filling on one of your teeth.

You just paid $25.00 for the insurance policy, but guess what, you also have to pay that $50.00 annual deductible before the insurance company helps pay for any procedures.

In Plain English” An Annual Deductible is an annual fee you must pay before an insurance company assists you with paying for your dental care.

If you average those costs up, the $25.00/month you were paying for your insurance policy really turns into $28.13/month.

The sad thing is that you will still have to pay on average 40% to 60% of the cost, so your first month with a policy like this could take more from you than it could be worth.

When Your Deductible Attacks

Policy Costs




Final Cost


Filling - $145


60% or $57


Based on the above layout, you can easily see how the deductible, when added to the cost of purchasing the insurance, can put your cost extremely close to what the procedure alone would cost.

In this situation, it would have been easier to pay for the procedure without the insurance.

The deductible can easily become a headache when you realize that it will be due every year on top of the monthly premiums you are paying.  

I am sure you are thinking the same thing I am… “Deductibles Suck

High Plan Premiums

At first glance, $29.00/month might not seem expensive for a dental insurance policy.

However, if we look closer into this policy and what it offers, we soon start to see that $29.00/month is very expensive and absolutely (say it with me…) Sucks.

Let’s do a little experiment and see exactly how much this plan is costing us vs. how much it is saving us.

Take a look at the below Dental Insurance Policies:

dental insurance costs

On average they all have:

  • An Average Monthly Premium Cost of $32.38/month
  • 12 Month Waiting Period for Major Procedures
  • $50.00 Deductible
  • $1,000 Annual Maximum

According to, here’s what you can expect during most trips to the dentist.

A Thorough Cleaning

A dental hygienist or dentist will scrape along and below the gum line to remove built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. Then he or she will polish and floss your teeth.

A Full Dental Examination

Your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums, and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems.


X-rays can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, and decay between the teeth.  

On average we should be doing this whole process two times per year.  

The average cleaning will run you about $78.00 per visit, at two visits a year that is $156.00/year.  

A full dental examination can run you about $70 per visit, at two visits a year that is about $140.00/year.

The X-rays on average cost about $116.00 so at two visits a year you would be $232.00.

This is around $528.00/year for just the average two follow-ups.  

With Insurance, you would be paying - $353.04/year for just the Policy.  

Now, here’s the thing:

Your cleanings, exams, and X-rays on average are covered after the deductible, so that’s just $50.00.

If you add up the annual policy fee of $353.04 and the annual deductible of $50.00 you are only spending $403.04 for the year.

Based on the above dental insurance, you are saving about $125.00/year when you get your two semi-annual checkups.

This might seem like a good deal in your mind, and you are probably  thinking, “Hey I am saving about $125.00/year.”

However, keep reading because we are about to reveal how much money dental insurance is costing you and how much a dental discount plan is going to save you.


Dental Plans made easy.

Agents not required.

Get quotes and sign up online without talking to an agent. But, we are here if you need us. 

Unbiased, expert advice.

Get unbiased insurance education from licensed experts and also avoid dodgy sales calls.

Coverage in minutes.

You can get a dental insurance policy within minutes of getting your quotes and applying online.

What Are Dental Discount Plans?

All of the things that make your dental insurance policy suck so much, makes a dental savings plans your go-to replacement, and here’s why:

No Waiting Period

No Waiting on Dental Discount Plans. 

dental plans cheaper than dental insurance

You can use these products immediately on day one.  You can use them on any major procedure or pre-existing conditions.

No Annual Maximums

There are No Annual Maximums; you don’t have to worry if you have gotten three root canals or 1 Deep cleaning and your two annual visits, no one cares how often you use this type of plan.

Isn’t this Awesome?

No Deductible

Seriously, didn’t you just pay for your Dental Insurance, now their hand is already out?  

With a Dental Discount Plan, you won’t have that pesky deductible every year creeping up on you.

Low Plan Premium

On average these plans can run at around $8.95/month and have a 1-time setup fee at around $20.00.  

If you add the setup fee to the monthly fee, you are looking at a monthly rate of $10.61/month for the first year and $8.95/month after that as long as you keep the plan.

Say this with me “$8.95/month” doesn’t it sound good?

Large Savings

When I say “Large Savings” I mean “LARGE SAVINGS.”  

Let’s take our same example from above and review the below sample savings list from a dental discount program:

dental savings plan

Earlier we learned that without a Dental Insurance Plan your two semi-annual dentist visits would run you $528.00/year.

With your insurance plan, the same visits will only run you $403.04/year.  

Remember that $125.00 you were saving with the Insurance Plan?  

Well here is how much you can save with a dental discount card:

As you see in the above chart, an Adult Cleaning would equal out to $47.00, at two times a year that is $94.00.

Your X-rays are $31.00, at two times a year that is $62.00, and your Routine Checkup will run you $24.00, at two times a year that is $48.00.

Total annual costs for your two checkups: $204.00

For the year, your policy premiums will run you around $99.00

Total annual expenses for the year would be: $303.00

Your total savings with a dental discount plan would be: $225.00

Yes, people, with the Dental Discount Card you are saving $225.00 per year, and with a Dental Insurance plan, you are losing $100.00 per year.

Now, here is where the dental plan really starts to beat dental insurance.  

Your savings have no limit, with dental insurance you are capped with annual maximums and waiting periods.

There is no real reason to keep a dental insurance policy; I say it's time for an upgrade.

Taking Action

In conclusion, you’ve learned that the key reasons your dental insurance plan sucks and why you need a dental discount plan.

We’ve shown that you can have an affordable dental plan that covers any pre-existing condition without a waiting period.

Now, all you have to do is click here to get these large savings you have been missing out on.

Aten-Re El

About the author

Aten-Re El is a Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Simply Insurance as well as a licensed life & health insurance agent with over 11 years of experience. Aten-Re is responsible for the daily operations of Simply Insurance and building and procuring strong client relationships with our insurance partners.

Sa El is the Co-Founder of Simply Insurance and a licensed Insurance Agent with over 13 years of experience in the industry.  He specializes in Life & Health Insurance and is certified in Long Term Care Insurance in the state of Georgia. a licensed real estate agent in the state of Georgia (License #382602), an entrepreneur, insurance educator, and freelance writer.

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