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Best Cheap Dental Insurance Plans for Individuals and Families

Contributors:  Natalie Asmussen

dental insurance cheap
Save money with affordable dental insurance

In this article, we'll review the best cheap dental insurance plans so you can find the best one for your needs. We'll also analyze the different aspects of insurance plans so you know what you're paying for and why some plans, while upfront may seem more affordable, will end up costing you more in the end.

This article will cover:

  • Plans with low monthly premiums
  • Plans with high annual maximums
  • Plans with low deductibles
  • Cheap plans with coverage for preventive care

Keep reading to find the best affordable dental insurance plan for you.

Humana Bright Plus PPO

Humana Bright Plus PPO

Monthly premium

$26.54

Annual maximum

$1250

Annual deductible

$50/individual

Additional features

  • Full coverage for preventive services

  • $100 teeth whitening allowance

*Based on a 30-year-old woman in California

The Humana Bright Plus PPO offers coverage for preventive and basic dental treatment. This includes regular dental cleanings and exams, and basic care like fillings and extractions.

There are no waiting periods for preventive services. A 90-day waiting period is applied for basic services. Restorative services like crowns, root canals, and dentures are not covered.

This plan also has a $100 teeth whitening allowance. You can keep your costs low by going to one of the 270,000 in-network dentists.

Plan details

cheap good dental insurance
Most cheap plans cover routine cleanings
  • Cleanings: 2 per calendar year; 100% coverage with an in-network provider; 70% coverage out-of-network after deductible; no waiting period
  • Exams: 2 per calendar year; 100% coverage with an in-network provider; 70% coverage out-of-network after deductible; no waiting period
  • X-Rays: 1 bitewing per calendar year; 1 panoramic every 5 years; 100% coverage in-network; 70% coverage out-of-network after deductible
  • Fillings: 1 per tooth, 2 per calendar year; 60% coverage in-network after deductible; 30% out-of-network after deductible; 90-day waiting period
  • Extractions: 60% coverage in-network after deductible; 30% out-of-network after deductible; 90-day waiting period
  • Not covered: Crowns, root canals, dentures, deep cleanings, implants, braces

Guardian Direct Advantage Starter PPO

Guardian Direct Advantage Starter PPO

Monthly premium

$24.00

Annual maximum

$500 – 1st year
$750 – 2nd year
$1000 – 3rd year

Annual deductible

$50/individual

Additional features

  • Full coverage for preventive services

  • Full coverage with in and out-of-network dentists

*Based on a 30-year-old woman in California

Get preventive services covered 100%, including routine exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Basic services like fillings and extractions are partially covered and have a waiting period of 6 months.

Choose any dentist you like, whether in-network or out-of-network, but keep costs down by staying in-network. The annual maximum starts at $500 and then increases every 12 months for 3 years (maxing out at $1,000).

Plan details

  • Cleanings: 2 per calendar year; 100% coverage in-network and out-of-network after deductible; no waiting period
  • Exams: 2 per calendar year; 100% coverage in-network and out-of-network after deductible; no waiting period
  • X-Rays: 1 full-mouth per calendar year; 100% coverage in-network and out-of-network after deductible; no waiting period
  • Fillings: 50% coverage in and out-of-network after deductible; 6-month waiting period
  • Extractions: 50% coverage in and out-of-network after deductible; 6-month waiting period
  • Not covered: Crowns, root canals, dentures, deep cleanings, implants, braces, teeth whitening

Careington 500 Series Dental Savings

Careington 500 Series Dental Savings

Monthly cost

$8.95

Annual maximum

N/A

Annual deductible

N/A

Additional features

  • 20% to 60% discounts for preventive and major treatments

  • Discounted major and cosmetic services

*Based on a 30-year-old woman in California

A dental savings plan (also known as a dental discount plan) isn't the same thing as an insurance plan, but you may find that it suits you better. With a savings plan, you get 20% to 60% discounts on most dental procedures, from preventive services to major work like root canals and dentures.

There are no maximums, deductibles, or waiting periods, and cosmetic dentistry is also discounted.

Potential treatment costs

  • Cleanings: $56
  • Exams: $25 for routine; $36 for comprehensive
  • X-Rays: $17 single film, panoramic $75
  • Fillings: Amalgam $75; White composite resin $95
  • Extractions: $95
  • Root canals: $500 – $800
  • Dentures: $1,107 (Full arch)
  • Implants: 20% discount

In the video below, Dental Hygienist Whitney explains how a dental savings plan can help you save money on your dental treatment:

MetLife TakeAlong Dental Low PPO

MetLife TakeAlong Dental Low

Monthly premium

$20.22

Annual maximum

$750

Annual deductible

$75

Additional features

  • Coverage for in and out-of-network dentists

  • No referral for specialists

*Based on a 30-year-old woman in California

With the MetLife TakeAlong Dental Low plan, you can see in-network and out-of-network dentists, and you don't need referrals for specialty care. This plan offers 100% coverage for preventive treatment and 50% coverage for basic care.

There is no waiting period for preventive treatment, and there is a 6-month waiting period for basic services — major dental work isn't covered.

Plan details

  • Cleanings: 2 per calendar year; 100% coverage in-network and out-of-network 100% of Maximum Allowed Charged; no waiting period
  • Exams: 2 per calendar year; 100% coverage in-network and out-of-network 100% of Maximum Allowed Charged; no waiting period
  • X-Rays: 1 full-mouth per calendar year for adults, 1 per 6 months for children; 100% coverage in-network and out-of-network 100% of Maximum Allowed Charged; no waiting period
  • Fillings: Initial replacement — unlimited; replacements 1 every 24 months 50% coverage in-network out-of-network 100% of Maximum Allowed Charged; 6-month waiting period
  • Extractions: 50% coverage in-network and out-of-network 100% of Maximum Allowed Charged; 6-month waiting period
  • Not covered: Crowns, root canals, dentures, deep cleanings, implants, braces, teeth whitening

NCD 3000 PPO

NCD Nationwide 3000

Monthly premium

$72.00

Annual maximum

$3000

Annual deductible

$50

Additional features

  • Coverage for major services like implants

  • Waiting period can be waived for major services with proof of prior coverage

*Based on a 30-year-old woman in California

This plan isn't typically what you would consider when you're looking for a cheap dental insurance plan, because the monthly premium is higher.

But, when looking for a cheap dental insurance plan, it's important to keep in mind that paying less upfront means that if you need anything more than preventive or basic services, you're going to be paying more when you do need treatment because plans with low monthly premiums typically have low maximums and no coverage for major treatment.

This plan, on the other hand, has an exceptionally high annual maximum of $3,000, and it provides coverage for root canals, crowns, dentures, and even dental implant insurance.

So while, yes, you're paying more upfront, it's worth considering if you think you'll need more extensive work later on.

Plan details

cheap dental insurance with no waiting period
A plan with a higher premium may cover implants
  • Cleanings: 2 per calendar year; 100% coverage in-network and out-of-network 100% of Maximum Allowed Charged; no waiting period
  • Exams: 2 per calendar year; 100% coverage in-network and out-of-network 100% of Maximum Allowed Charged; no waiting period
  • X-Rays: 1 full-mouth per calendar year for adults, 1 per 6 months for children; 100% coverage in-network and out-of-network 100% of Maximum Allowed Charged; no waiting period
  • Fillings: Initial replacement — unlimited; replacements 1 every 24 months 50% coverage in-network out-of-network 100% of Maximum Allowed Charged; 6-month waiting period
  • Extractions: 50% coverage in-network and out-of-network 100% of Maximum Allowed Charged; 6-month waiting period
  • Not covered: Crowns, root canals, dentures, deep cleanings, implants, braces, teeth whitening

Alternatives to dental insurance

There are a lot of options for affordable dental insurance, but even so, not everyone can afford insurance, or find a plan that offers the coverage they need — one of the reasons that nearly 77 million American adults don't have dental insurance.

If you are one of them, there are other ways you can find the treatment you need without going into extreme debt.

Some of the options that you can look into include:

  • Medicaid: This is health and in some cases dental insurance that is funded by the government for those with an income under a certain level. You can find out more about qualifying for Medicaid in our separate article here.
  • Dental loans: A dental loan is a personal loan that you can take out to help you pay for dental treatment upfront. Read more in our article about dental loans.
  • Dental savings plans: When you pay a monthly or yearly fee for a savings plan, in exchange, you get discounted care on a wide range of dental treatment, including cosmetic and restorative services. Read more.
  • Dental payment plans: Your dentist might give you the option to spread a larger payment out over smaller payments with a dental payment plan.

4 Ways to finance your dental care

Dental insurance

Pay a monthly premium in exchange for more affordable care.

Dental loans

Fund your dental work now and make affordable monthly repayments.

Dental tourism

Pay less for quality treatment abroad.

Dental discount plans

Save money on treatment costs in exchange for a yearly membership fee.

Conclusion

Cheap dental insurance typically means low monthly premiums — ranging around $20 to $30 for individuals. These plans tend to offer full coverage for preventive services and partial coverage for some basic services.

best cheap dental insurance
Find a way to pay for your treatment and keep that smile smiling

They don't offer coverage for major restorative services, and the annual maximums are usually quite low. So if you are looking to save money on treatment like root canals or dental crowns, then you'll want to consider a plan with a higher premium, but wider coverage.

You may also want to consider a dental savings plan, which offers discounted treatment for a wide range of services, without annual maximums, waiting fees, or deductibles.

To help you find the best plan for you, you can go to dentalinsurance.com. This user-friendly online insurance marketplace makes it easy to search and compare plans, and enroll directly if you find one you like.

FAQs

What is the cheapest dental insurance?

You can find affordable dental insurance plans from providers like Humana, MetLife, Guardian and NCD, with low monthly premiums around just $20 and full coverage for preventative treatment.

What's the best affordable dental insurance?

Most of the plans mentioned in this article — those from Humana, MetLife, and Guardian — offer dental insurance with low premiums and 100% coverage for preventive treatment.

However, if you need restorative treatment, you'll want to consider a plan with a higher premium and higher annual maximum like the one offered by NCD.

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Contributors:
Natalie used to work as a Community Health Worker and Health Insurance Navigator. She continues to follow her passion for connecting people with the healthcare they need by writing informative content about dentistry and medicine.