How to Reduce Your Dental Costs

dental cost are expensive, but there are ways to reduce them. You can find cheap dental care through community health centers, public dental insurance programs, or even your state or city’s health department.

Dental insurance usually covers cleanings and exams at a low cost. It also covers some major procedures like root canals or crowns.


Whether you have dental insurance or not, the monthly premium is one of the biggest costs. It’s important to compare quotes and plan details to find a plan that fits your budget. In addition, you’ll need to consider the deductible and copayments. Some plans have annual maximum limits, and others have a flat fee per visit.

A typical dental plan covers preventive services at 100%, and major procedures at 80%. Other common benefits include dental cleanings and exams, fluoride treatments and x-rays. Some plans also cover orthodontic care.

Most dental insurers use a fee schedule to determine the cost of each treatment. These fees are based on the average prices of other dentists in your area, as well as factors like the number of visits required and the type of treatment. These fees are known as the usual, customary and reasonable (UCR) fees.

Dental insurance companies use these fees to set their monthly rates. Generally, higher coverage levels have lower monthly premiums, while lower coverage levels have higher monthly premiums and copayments. In general, dental insurance companies increase premiums each year based on claims costs and projections. However, small employers may be able to avoid these increases by joining a pool with other groups of companies. This can reduce the risk of overly optimistic projections, and keep costs moderate for everyone in the group.


There are several types of dental insurance plans, and the cost of each type varies. Some plans have deductibles, co-payments, and annual maximums, while others don’t. You should read your policy carefully to understand the costs associated with your particular plan.

Dental deductibles are the amount you pay for dental services before the insurance starts to cover them. Some deductibles are per individual and some are for the entire family. After you meet your deductible, your insurance will typically pay a percentage of the cost for covered treatment. This percentage is called coinsurance and varies from 20% to 80% of the billed charges.

Some dental insurance policies use a “usual, customary and reasonable” (UCR) fee limit to determine how much they will pay for a given service. These limits may or may not reflect actual fees charged by area dentists. Other plans use a table or schedule of allowance, which lists all the covered treatments with an assigned dollar amount. If the dentist’s fee is less than the UCR, the difference is billed to the patient.

Most PPO dental insurance plans have a network of providers, and many patients receive significant discounts by staying in-network. These discounts can offset the cost of the deductible and coinsurance. Indemnity dental insurance plans allow you to see any dentist and don’t have a network, but they tend to be more expensive than PPOs.


Dental insurance copays are the fixed amount that you pay for a covered service. Copays typically range from $10 for a cleaning to $300 for a tooth replacement. They may also cover other procedures like dental exams and x-rays. Most plans require a deductible before the insurance company starts paying for coverage. These deductibles can be high and should be taken into consideration when choosing a dental plan.

Most dental insurance policies include annual maximums, which are the maximum amount that the plan will pay for a particular year. These limits are important because they can help you avoid expensive treatments. For example, many dental PPOs (dental preferred provider organizations) have an annual maximum of less than $1,500. If you exceed this limit, you will be responsible for the rest of the cost.

The amount that your insurance company pays for a given procedure is based on the usual, customary, or reasonable fee (UCR) set by the insurer. This fee is based on factors like an area’s cost of living, prices at other dental offices, the type and number of appointments required, materials used, and the treatment category.

The cost of dental care can vary by region and plan type, but it is important to consider all aspects of your coverage. Price shouldn’t be the only factor, as a quality dental plan can save you money in the long run by helping prevent costly issues from developing.

Annual maximum

Most dental insurance plans have annual maximums, which are the most that your insurance provider will pay for a given benefit period. Once you reach the annual maximum, your insurance company will no longer make payments on your behalf. Instead, you will have to cover the cost of additional treatments until a new benefit period starts. It is important to understand how your plan works so that you can stay within your annual maximum.

Many dental insurance plans have an annual maximum of just a couple thousand dollars. This may seem low, but one or two expensive treatments could easily put you over this limit. For example, a root canal or a crown can cost well over $1,000 each.

It is important to talk to your dentist about costs and your annual maximum before scheduling treatment. By working together, you can find ways to stay under your annual maximum and avoid costly treatments later on.

While deductibles and coinsurance can be high, most dental insurance policies come with significant benefits for diagnostic and preventive services. These benefits are designed to encourage regular visits and help prevent costly treatments down the road. Most dental insurance plans also offer significant copayments for some basic and major restorative care. These copayments are typically a fixed amount like $20 or $30 per visit, and they do not count towards your annual maximum.

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