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How to Choose a Dental Plan

Healthy Smiles for Life: Your Guide to Dental Plans

A dental plan is a great way to support your oral health and your overall wellbeing. Purchasing a plan doesn’t have to be complicated.

What is a dental plan?

A dental plan is a type of health benefit that helps make care more affordable. You pay a monthly or annual fee called a premium, and, in exchange, the dental plan helps you pay for dental services and procedures. Dental plans often cover the full cost for preventive services like exams and cleanings. Dental plans can greatly reduce your out-of-pocket costs for most procedures and treatments.

Why do I need a dental plan?

Even if you’re generally healthy with few or no cavities, it pays to have a dental plan. Here’s why:

  • You’ll enjoy better overall health. Individuals with dental benefits are 31 percent more likely to visit the dentist at least once a year compared to those without dental benefits.1 That’s important, because people who see their dentist at least once a year are more likely to report good oral health. In turn, those who give their oral health an “A” grade are more likely to rate their overall well-being as excellent.1
  • Treat small concerns before they become big problems. Visiting the dentist regularly means oral health issues will be addressed before they become more severe. That’s why most dental plans cover preventive services at 100 percent.
  • Make unexpected dental work more affordable. The unexpected can happen. If you need dental work you weren’t planning on a dental plan helps defray that cost. Without a dental plan, you would be responsible for the full treatment cost.

How do I choose the right dental plan?

Many types of dental plans are available to meet a variety of dental needs. Here are a few considerations that may be useful when you’re evaluating plans:

  • Assess your oral health. Is your mouth generally healthy, or are you overdue for a check-up or dental work?
  • Check your budget. Do you have savings or a financial plan for unexpected dental work?
  • Be proactive. Look for plans that help reduce long-term costs by providing free or low-cost preventive care.
  • Choose an in-network dentist. Dentist networks vary by plan type so checking to see if your current dentist is in network should be considered if you’d like to save money.
  • Review waiting periods. A dental plan may require an amount of time after the effective date before covering some services. Some plans waive the waiting period if you were previously covered.

What types of dental plans are available?

PPO

With a preferred provider organization (PPO) plan, you can visit any licensed dentist. However, going to a network dentist will usually maximize your savings. These dentists have agreed to lower fees for services.

Visiting a Delta Dental PPO℠ network dentist is a smart choice. Here’s why.

Delta Dental PPO network dentists agree to accept Delta Dental’s established fees as payment in full. On average, the Delta Dental PPO established fees are 30 percent less than a dentist’s usual fee.

Delta Dental of Illinois’ individual and family plans reimburse all procedures based on the Delta Dental PPO fee. Because of this, Delta Dental Premier® and non-network dentists can bill you for charges above the allowed Delta Dental PPO fee.

Dental Savings Program

Dental savings programs, or discount plans or cards, give you access to a set of participating dentists who charge discounted fees for certain services. With these programs, you pay the dentist directly during your appointment with no need to file claims or paperwork.

Ready to start shopping? 

Delta Dental of Illinois 2017 Adult Oral Health Survey.