Insurance for the people
Find a plan for
Visiting the dentist every 6 months is generally known to be an important part of caring for your teeth, mouth, and gums. Your routine dental appointments should allow your dentist to identify and treat problems before they get too big. However, if you do not have dental insurance, it can be difficult to manage the costs while still maintaining good oral health.
Even if you do not have insurance right now, you still should make an appointment with a dentist if possible. There are ways to help lower the costs for preventative care, or to pay for your care over time instead of all at once. Also, some dental insurance plans, like those offered from Guardian Direct®, allow you to use your coverage* right away for preventative care. Although preventative care typically has no waiting period, there is typically a waiting period for more complex dental issues so it may be a good idea to enroll as soon as possible.
To understand whether dental insurance is worth it or not, you should have a good understanding about how much dental treatment may typically cost without insurance.
Having dental insurance is an essential part to help maintain good oral health and saving money on dental work. Your routine dental visit will include an oral examination, a cleaning to get rid of tarter, X-rays, and oral cancer screening¹. Your dentist also will educate you on problem spots in your mouth so that you can target those areas and keep them clean.
If you do not have insurance, even preventative care and routine cleaning can really start to add up. A full cleaning, with exam, and X-rays depending on the dentist's office and local rates, may cost between $100 and $300 per visit, or an average cost of $200 to $600 per year if you go every 6 months². If you end up needed more work done, such as having a cavity filled, having a deep dental cleaning, or needing a root canal, the price can go up dramatically.
On average, and depending on many factors such as your state, Americans spend around $360 per year on dental insurance premiums³. This means that with dental insurance you could save money on preventative care alone. If other issues arise and you need to use your dental insurance for more complex procedures, then having coverage can help you save on dental care cost. For example, if you need a root canal done on a molar, and a crown put in, you could be looking at paying an average over $500⁴ for the root canal and over $800⁵ for a porcelain crown. If you have dental insurance, depending on your plan, a portion of the cost would be covered, without insurance the approximate cost could be $1,300 that you may have to pay for out- of-pocket.
Clearly, the costs and benefits of having insurance will vary from person to person, the state where you live among other factors however, in many cases it is much less expensive to purchase insurance when compared with paying for dental procedures on your own. This is especially true if you are prone to dental issues or if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while. .
There are a number of common factors that contribute to how much a dental visit may cost you without dental insurance. If you are looking for a dental provider, you might consider shopping around before making a final decision because pricing can vary based on these common factors.
One factor that typically determines how much a dental visit will cost is location. A dentist in a rural area will have different prices than a dentist in a city. Dental providers will charge what they need to stay in business in whatever area they are located, and this impact can be seen in the prices for their services. Even within the same city there can be different costs between providers because each provider has their own expenses and bills that vary from place to place.
Apart from location, there can be a difference in cost between different procedures. Some common procedures that can vary depending on severity, location, and materials used are:
Root canals – root canals can have a different cost depending on severity and location within the mouth. Root canals in the molars are more expensive than root canals on an incisor because molars have more roots⁶. Some root canals can be filled with a basic filling, while others will need a crown.
Crowns – depending on the material used and location crowns can cost in average between $500 and $3000⁷
Dentures – like crowns, denture price can vary depending on materials used. Basic to mid-range dentures can cost in average between $800 and $3,000 a set, while premium dentures can cost between $4,000 and $8,000 a set⁸
Veneers – veneers vary in thickness, with thinner veneers costing more than thicker. Thicker porcelain veneers can cost in average between $500 and $1,100 per tooth and thinner Lumineer® veneers can cost between $700 and $1,300 per tooth⁹.
All the costs above are for patients without insurance. Typically, your insurance will cover a portion of these costs, up to your yearly maximum, in many cases the savings that you will receive from your insurance will far exceed the amount that you would save on your monthly premium for the year by not having insurance.
Dental insurance covers the majority, if not all, of your preventative care services including X-rays, examination, and dental cleaning. Without insurance you will be responsible for the full cost of all preventative care, which, in the end can cost you much more than the prices of your monthly premiums.
Another way that dental insurance can help save you money is through their network. Guardian Direct® has a network of over 100,000 dentals professionals who all charge rates that are negotiated through the carrier. These rates are typically lower than the rate that your dentist would charge a person without insurance.
Finding a dentist that accepts patients without insurance can seem like a difficult thing to do, however, it is not as hard as you might think. Most dentists will take patients without insurance by accepting CareCredit® to help pay for services. In fact, there are over 225,000 health and wellness providers who accept CareCredit® as a means of payment¹⁰.
CareCredit® is like a credit card that allows patients to pay for health and wellness procedures over time. CareCredit® can be used for a variety of dental services including preventative, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry¹¹.
Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we forget things. If you find yourself in your dentist’s office before an appointment without your insurance card, don’t fret. Your dentist can look up all your member information by others means if you have a current dental insurance policy. There is no need to cancel your appointment or reschedule just because you do not have all your information handy.
Typically, buying dental insurance is a straightforward process and can typically be completed entirely online. If you are shopping for dental insurance, it is important to understand the ins-and-outs of each plan including coverage, network, and all associated costs. Guardian Direct® has resources available on our website that can help you do research so that you can make an informed decision for you and your family.
Lumineers® is a registered trademark of DenMat.
Join our new digital insurance community that includes tips, resources and useful information from Guardian Direct.
https://www.absolutedental.com/blog/expect-routine-dental-exam/ (2021), accessed August 2021
https://health.costhelper.com/teeth-cleaning.html accessed August 2021
https://www.moneyunder30.com/is-dental-insurance-worth-it#:~:text=On%20average%2C%20Americans%20pay%20about,falls%20between%20%241%2C000%20and%20%242%2C000. (2020), accessed August 2021
https://health.costhelper.com/root-canal.html accessed August 2021
https://health.costhelper.com/dental-crown.html accessed August 2021
https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/root-canals/what-root-canals-cost-why-cost-varies accessed August 2021
https://health.costhelper.com/dental-crown.html accessed August 2021
https://health.costhelper.com/dentures.html accessed August 2021
https://health.costhelper.com/veneer-lumineer.html accessed 5/7/2021
https://www.carecredit.com/howcarecreditworks/prospective/ accessed October 2021
https://www.carecredit.com/dentistry/?dtc=N920&exact=carecredit%20dental&sitecode=CCDTCSEMN920&gclid=CjwKCAjwkvWKBhB4EiwA-GHjFoLQM8v04EMelI4NWwt7JYzS_IeGVeviYZeKwX-vkbWcqCYbjgmuQBoCDdkQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds accessed October 2021
Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.(exp.11/23)
Find a plan for