For the 77 percent of Americans who have dental insurance, the costs average around $360 a year. That’s still less than you might end up paying out of pocket, but it’s still a bill many people feel they can’t afford.

If you’re going to pay that much, you want to be sure you’re getting the best dental plan. Trying to find the right plan can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve put together this cheat sheet to finding the right dental plan for you.

The Best Dental Plan Fits Your Needs

First things first. Before you can find the best dental insurance, you need to sit down and think about what you need from a plan.

Different people have different needs. If you have children, you’ll probably want a dental plan that covers the whole family. If you’re older, you may be thinking about dentures or major surgeries, such as root canals. If you play contact sports, you may be concerned about chipping or losing a tooth.

That’s why the best dental insurance for seniors looks quite different from the best options for new parents.

What’s in a Dental Plan?

Once you know what you need, you can begin researching different insurance options.

As you get started, it helps to know what’s included in a dental plan. According to this guide, most plans will cover preventative care like exams. Plans usually cover most of the costs associated with fillings and extractions.

You’ll get less coverage for major procedures, but there is variation. You may find providers who offer more coverage for procedures they consider necessary.

Going Beyond Basic

The idea behind most dental insurance plans is to cover preventative care. By taking good care of your teeth, you’ll reduce the likelihood you’ll need major procedures later on in life.

As mentioned, some plans will cover more or less of certain procedures. Coverage depends on what’s deemed “necessary.”

The best dental insurance plans go above and beyond what’s offered in the “basic” care package. They may offer higher rates of coverage for some procedures. They may also cover more of what’s known as “cosmetic” dentistry.

Cosmetic dentistry includes things like:

  • Tooth whitening
  • Implants
  • Veneers

Unfortunately, many orthodontic procedures are also considered cosmetic, rather than necessary. Braces usually fall under this category. Although people prefer white, straight teeth, it isn’t always necessary to fix a crooked smile.

If you have children who need braces, the best dental plans will include orthodontic coverage.

Ask about the Type of Plan

Dental insurance plans also come in a few different varieties. Like health insurance plans, they may be offered by preferred provider organization plans or health maintenance organizations.

Plans may also differ by how they reimburse you. Some plans offer direct reimbursement, while others offer a schedule of allowance. These plans will pay up to a certain dollar amount, regardless of what your dentist charges.

Depending on your situation, you may prefer one type of plan over another.

Smile Bright with Better Insurance

Finding the best dental plan isn’t always easy, but these tips will help you make a more informed choice. Don’t forget to talk to shop around and get quotes from several providers.

A great smile is just one part of beauty and wellness. Check out more great tips for being the happiest, healthiest you that you can be.

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