Supplemental dental insurance

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About 77% of the adults in the U.S. have dental insurance, but that dental insurance may not always be enough.¹ Dental insurance plans that are offered through employers may only provide coverage for routine care and not care for things like root canals, crowns, or other major dental procedures. Supplemental dental insurance can help provide coverage to fill in the gaps in coverage left by other insurance plans. Supplemental dental plans can also help cover expensive dental work after the yearly annual coverage maximum for your plan is reached.

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How to choose the best supplemental dental insurance plan that works for you?

If the dental insurance plan that you have doesn’t have the coverage that you and your family need there are supplemental insurance plans available to fill in the gaps. The first step when choosing a supplemental dental insurance plan, is to make sure you know what your existing dental insurance covers. You will need to know what your current plan covers to be sure you’re picking a supplemental plan that will provide coverage that your existing plan doesn’t. Some of the things that you should keep in mind when you’re choosing an additional plan are:

Network size

Any additional insurance plan that you choose should have a large provider network so that you will be able to find a dentist that provides the care that you need. If your current plan is a DHMO plan and you need to see a specialist it may be easier to find a specialist that you feel comfortable with if the insurance company has a nationwide network of providers that you can choose from.

Type of coverage that you need

Another thing that you need to consider when you’re picking a supplemental dental insurance plan is the type of coverage that you want to buy. If your existing plan already covers diagnostics and preventives you should look for a supplemental plan that will cover major procedures like root canals or implants and let your primary insurance take care of the cost of routine care.

Waiting period

If you are looking for a supplemental plan because you need to have a specific type of dental work done be sure that the plan you pick has no waiting period. If you don’t check the waiting period before buying the insurance you may have to delay treatment that you need to make sure that the supplemental insurance will cover that treatment.

Coverage for orthodontics

Many parents find that buying supplemental insurance can help lower the out-of-pocket costs of braces and orthodontics that their children need. Some dental insurance plans do not cover the cost of braces or orthodontics and orthodontics can be expensive without help from insurance.

Some dental insurance plans may cover some of the costs of orthodontics if they are deemed medically necessary for your child. But even if your existing insurance does cover a portion of the cost of treatment the cost of the treatment could push you and your family over the maximum benefit allowed for that year meaning that you would likely need to pay out-of-pocket for other dental care including cleaning and preventives for everyone in the family for the rest of the year. A separate dental insurance plan for orthodontics could help with the costs of braces, retainers, or other orthodontics while still allowing for the rest of the family to get the preventative care they need.

Premium costs

Since you’re already paying premiums for a dental insurance plan of course you would want to keep premium costs for additional plans low. However, when you are considering premium costs make sure that you are looking at the premium costs in relation to the coverage offered by that plan. For example, a plan that helps cover the cost of braces or expensive orthodontics may have a higher premium cost but will still help you save money in the long term.
Supplemental dental insurance reviews can also help you choose affordable dental supplemental insurance for people who have been in the situation you’re in where you’re trying to find affordable supplemental dental insurance providers and learn from their experiences.

Supplemental dental insurance for braces

If children have crooked, misshapen, or malformed teeth it may cause long-term medical problems with their jaw or make it impossible for them to bite or chew correctly². If it’s determined that your child needs braces for medical reasons your Insurance may cover the cost of the braces but note that braces are part of the overall costs of orthodontics. You still need to pay for the cost of the visits to the orthodontist and the cost of retainers and other equipment not covered under your dental insurance.

If you know that you’re going to need supplemental insurance for your kids you shouldn’t wait to purchase a supplemental plan. Some plans have waiting periods, so buying supplemental insurance now can help ensure that the waiting period will be finished by the time your child needs braces. If you need to get dental care for yourself or your child immediately look for a dental plan with no waiting period.

Another thing to keep in mind when you’re purchasing supplemental insurance for braces and orthodontics is that some supplemental plans won’t cover treatment that started before you enrolled in the program. So you should wait until you have purchased insurance to start your child’s orthodontic treatment to make sure it’s covered.

Supplemental dental insurance for implants

Dental implants are often recommended by dentists as the appropriate solution for missing teeth, but they can be very expensive because they may require oral surgery to place. If an implant is medically necessary your medical insurance may cover some of the costs.

Can I buy supplemental dental with no waiting period?

You don’t have to wait for an open enrollment period or an Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment period to buy supplemental dental insurance plans. Guardian Direct® offers year-round guaranteed acceptance for dental insurance plans so you can buy a dental plan that would serve as supplemental to your existing dental insurance plan today to help pay for the dental care that you and your family need. Some plans do have a minimum waiting period before coverage begins so don’t wait to buy an additional dental insurance plan if you know that you or a family member is going to need expensive dental work. As soon as you purchase the plan the clock starts ticking on the applicable waiting period.

Signing up for a dental insurance plan through Guardian Direct is easy and convenient. You can get a quote for a plan online or over the phone. You can purchase online too and our online chat makes it easy to get the answers you need right away from a friendly customer service specialist.

Cost of supplemental dental insurance

There are several different factors that typically go into determining what your premium costs will be for dental insurance plans. Where you live, the amount of coverage that you want to get, and how many people you are insuring all affect the cost of the premium.

Get more answers to your supplemental dental insurance questions, as well as useful insurance information, tips, and resources.

Supplemental dental insurance explained
A comprehensive guide to dental insurance
How much is dental insurance?
Why some dental insurance plans have no waiting periods
Dental insurance vs. dental discount plans comparison chart
How to buy dental insurance: the first 4 questions to ask

Links to external sites are provided for your convenience in locating related information and services. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents and employees expressly disclaim any responsibility for and do not maintain, control, recommend, or endorse third-party sites, organizations, products, or services and make no representation as to the completeness, suitability, or quality thereof.

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. This is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentist's office.


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  1., 2017

  2., accessed January 2021