Dental Insurance Cost: Is it Worth It?

Posted on October 7, 2018

While many forms of healthcare are covered under the Canada Care Act, dental work is not. If you want to get insurance for your teeth and gums, you have to pay for all of it out of your own pocket.

The question is: is it worth it? Do you really have anything to gain by purchasing dental insurance? Depending on your specific needs, the answer could be a yes or a no.

Below, we're going to discuss dental insurance cost at length. Hopefully, this helps you to make an educated choice.

How Much Does Dental Insurance Cost?

In the vast majority of cases, dental insurance costs somewhere between $100 and $600 a year for one person. However, on average, it costs around $350 per person per year.

Generally, you can expect your monthly premiums to be between $10 and $50. Of course, this is dependent largely upon what type of dental plan you choose.

Almost all dental insurance plans come with annual maximums. These maximums specify how much money your insurance will pay for your procedures on a yearly basis. In most cases, dental insurance plans have maximums of between $1,000 and $2,500.

What's Covered by Dental Insurance?

As you might guess, dental insurance doesn't cover all dental procedures. In fact, when it comes to full coverage, it only covers the absolute basics. Some other dental work is partially covered depending on how common it is, and how much it costs.

Standard Exams

In the vast majority of cases, dental plans will fully cover standard dental exams. While some plans will cover only two exams a year, others will cover an unlimited number of exams.

In essence, if you pay for dental insurance, you will not have to pay for a dentist to look at your teeth.

Standard Cleanings

Like with standard dental exams, standard teeth cleanings are typically fully covered by dental insurance.

Again, while some plans will allow for an unlimited number of cleanings in a year, other plans will only allow for two. Of course, most dentists don't recommend any more than two cleanings anyway.

Standard X-Rays

Most dentists will utilize teeth x-rays to ensure that their patients aren't forming any cavities or tooth decay. These x-rays are usually performed on a yearly basis and are considered an integral part of preventive tooth care.

In the vast majority of cases, these types of teeth x-rays are fully covered by dental insurance. Again, there are typically limits as to how many x-rays can be taken in a single year.

Simple Dental Procedures

Generally, simple dental procedures such as cavity fillings and tooth extractions are partially covered by dental insurance.

Usually, you can expect your insurance company to pay for between 70 percent to 80 percent of your procedure. Of course, the exact percentage you pay will depend on the plan that you select.

Large Dental Procedures

If you have large dental procedures to undergo, your dental insurance will typically only cover about half of the cost. The exact amount covered, of course, depends entirely upon the nature of your specific plan.

Large dental procedures include everything from root canals and crowns to implants and more.

How Much Will It Cost Without Insurance?

To understand the benefit of dental insurance, you need to know how much specific services will cost without it. Below, we're going to discuss the average costs of common dental procedures.

Standard Exams

If you're going in for a standard dental exam, you can typically expect to be charged somewhere between $75 and $200. This, however, only applies if you're not also having x-rays done. If your dentist takes x-rays of your teeth, you can typically expect to pay another $75 to $150.

Note, however, that different dentists charge different rates. The exact costs will vary depending on your dentist.

Standard Cleanings

Generally, teeth cleanings are included in the cost of standard dental exams. While some dentists might charge extra for teeth cleaning in addition to an exam, this practice is rare. You can generally expect to pay somewhere between $75 and $200 per visit.

Standard X-Rays

As was noted above, standard dental x-rays typically cost somewhere between $75 and $150. This price is generally tacked on to the price that you already pay for an exam and cleaning. Since x-rays are usually taken once a year, you generally won't have to pay any more than this.

Simple Dental Procedures

Simple dental procedures aren't going to kill your budget, but depending on the premiums you're offered, they could be a good reason to opt for dental insurance.

You can have a cavity filled with silver for around $125. If you choose a white filling instead of a silver one, you can get it for around $150. Simple dental procedures such as these rarely exceed $200.

Large Dental Procedures

The large dental procedures are the ones which will put a sizable dent in your bank account. If you think you might have a large dental procedure on the horizon, it would probably be a good idea to opt for good dental insurance.

Porcelain crowns will typically cost you around $1,000 and a root canal will typically cost you somewhere between $750 and $1,250. The exact costs are dependent upon the nature of the procedure as well as the rates charged by your particular dentist.

Types of Dental Insurance

There are three main types of dental insurance plans to choose from. They include PPO plans, indemnity plans, and HMO plans. Below, we're going to discuss the details and specifics of each type of plan.


Preferred Provider Organization, or PPO plans require that you use specific dentists in order to have insured dental work done. These plans will have a network established of various dentists throughout your area. If you want your insurance company to pay for your exams, cleanings, and procedures, you will need to choose a dentist from this network.

PPO plans cover more costs than any other type of plan. This is because insurance companies make deals with dentists to keep costs as low as possible.

The monthly premiums on PPO plans are fairly low. They enable you to save money while still providing a fairly large pool of dentists from which to choose.

If you don't typically require frequent dental work, but just two yearly exams, a PPO plan would probably be the right choice for you.


Also known as fee-for-service plans, indemnity plans allow you to choose any dentist you desire. After a dentist has performed dental work for you, a bill will be sent to your insurance company. Your insurance company will then pay a portion of the costs.

There are a number of advantages involved with indemnity plans. Not only are their deductibles typically lower than those associated with other types of plans, their maximum limits are typically higher as well.

Of course, low deductibles and high maximum limits come at a price; you have to pay more in the way of monthly premiums. If you have no major procedures done, you can waste a lot of money.

However, if you do have major procedures done, these types of plans can be huge money-savers. Their low deductibles and high maximum limits ensure that the insurance company is paying the vast majority of costs.


HMO, or Health Maintenance Organization plans are similar to PPO plans in that they necessitate you choosing from an established network of dentists. However, unlike with PPO plans, HMO plans necessitate that you choose one, and only one dentist for the duration of your plan's existence. This can be a problem if you have to have a major procedure done; one which your established dentist can't carry out.

There are, of course, upsides to HMO plans. Not only do they come with no or low deductibles, they often have no annual maximum limits. This means that, if you don't have to have any major procedures done, your dental costs will be very low throughout the year.

Be aware, however, that if you need major procedures, these types of plans usually won't cover much of your costs. In fact, some HMO plans won't cover any of your costs on major procedures such as root canals and crowns.

Should You Get Dental Insurance?

Now, you're probably asking yourself, "Should I get dental insurance?" To answer this question, you need to consider your particular circumstances as well as the insurance plan choices that are available to you.

If you require only preventive dental care, and you can find a plan with monthly premiums under $15, there's really no reason not to go for it. However, you should note that paying any more than this on premiums will usually exceed the costs of uninsured dental visits.

If you expect to have a major procedure done in the near future, it would be wise of you to get dental insurance. However, you should study up on plans to ensure that you get the one which best suits your purposes.

Limit Your Dental Insurance Cost

Are you thinking about getting dental insurance in order to limit your dental insurance cost as much as possible? If so, our site can help you.

Our blog is loaded with articles on dental insurance, providing you with a one-stop location where you can do all of your research. Get helpful tips, compare different types of insurance, and garner tons of useful information right here at the Insurdinary blog!

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