Is dental insurance worth it?

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It may be confusing sorting through medical and dental insurance options, and many people wonder if paying for dental insurance is worth the extra cost when medical insurance already typically takes a big chunk of their budget. Having dental insurance may be worth the extra cost for you, especially if you don’t have the option to get dental coverage along with medical coverage from your employer.

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Why do some patients wonder if dental insurance is worth it?

These days household budgets are stretched to the max, so people might wonder if paying a monthly premium for dental insurance is worth it when they need to make every dollar count. You may be paying hundreds of dollars per month for medical insurance and you might think that paying more, even if it’s a minimal amount, for dental insurance may not be worth it.

But your dental health affects your overall health and not taking care of your teeth may lead to serious health problems down the road. Often mouth infections can be the first symptom of what might be chronic illnesses like diabetes¹ and your dentist can be crucial in identifying a potential health problem by noticing chronic infections or changes in your teeth and gums. Dental plaque and mouth bacteria also can be factors in serious health conditions like heart disease and stroke.² Getting regular dental checkups and cleanings can help lower your risk of health problems later.

Some people also might prefer to pay out of pocket if they need dental care and not pay a monthly premium, hoping that they won’t have an expensive dental emergency. But if you get regular dental care you may be able to avoid an expensive and painful dental emergency. The out-of-pocket cost of routine care could add up quickly.

You can choose how much dental coverage you want to pay for, and for basic coverage you could pay as low as $20 a month* with Guardian Direct®. Over the cost of a year that could save you hundreds of dollars compared to paying for dental care out of pocket. If you do have a dental emergency having dental insurance could help prevent you from going into debt to pay for the care you need.

Guardian Direct offers customizable dental insurance plans to cover you or everyone in your household for an affordable monthly premium and has three plans to choose from: Achiever, Core, and Starter. All of these plans have no waiting period for preventive care, though basic and major coverage plans usually involve a six to 12 month waiting period due to the complexity of the procedures involved. Guardian Direct also offers access to over 100,000 dentists.

Is dental insurance worth it for seniors?

People over 65 are at an increased risk for gum disease. According to the CDC³, nearly two in three seniors has some type of gum disease. And seniors who may not take regular care of their teeth may end up losing teeth which can make it difficult to eat and get the nutrition they need. As people get older and need more medications those medications may make oral care complicated by causing conditions like dry mouth which may impact oral health.⁴ That’s why it’s important for seniors to get regular dental care.

Unfortunately, according to a 2017 report, less than one-third of adults aged 65 and over have dental insurance⁵. While Medicare helps pay for a variety of health care expenses, Traditional Medicare typically doesn’t cover dental services, but some types of Medicare provide limited coverage. Almost two-thirds of people on Medicare don’t have any dental coverage.⁶ If you’re currently on Medicare and you don’t have any dental insurance coverage yet, you may consider purchasing individual dental insurance.

Is it worth having dental insurance?

When it comes to deciding is dental insurance worth it for most people the bottom line is what the cost of dental insurance is compared to the cost of out-of-pocket dental care. And when you compare the actual dollars and cents cost you may see the benefit that having dental insurance can help you save on routine care costs.

When you look at the cost of more serious procedures like extractions, root canals, crowns, implants, and more serious dental work the savings can be bigger in the long run.

Even if you can afford to cover routine and extensive care, having dental insurance for emergencies can be a protection for your budget. Dental emergencies happen frequently, and they may cost a lot of money that you weren’t planning on spending. You could get into a car accident that knocks out several teeth which may require you to get a dental bridge, implants, or dentures. Or your child could get hit in the mouth with a ball playing a sport and need oral surgery or other expensive treatment.

Is it worth it to buy two dental insurance plans?

It might seem like a good idea to buy two dental insurance policies so that you can save on out-of-pocket costs for procedures like root canals where you would typically be expected to pay a portion of the cost, but that’s not how insurance works. You can have secondary dental insurance if you purchase supplemental insurance, but you can typically get coverage from one policy at a time.

Is individual dental Insurance worth buying & insights

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

What does dental insurance cover?
Why visit an in-network dentist?
What’s the difference between dental insurance and dental discount plans?
Dental PPO plans
How to buy dental insurance
Why some dental insurance plans have no waiting periods
Supplemental dental insurance explained

*Costs vary by state and available plan type selected.

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 and is not intended to influence any reader’s decision to select, enroll in or disenroll from a Medicare plan. 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., accessed January 2021

  2., 2018

  3., 2021

  4., 2021

  5., 2019

  6., 2019