Dental insurance helps cover the costs of preventive dental care while softening the blow on pricier procedures like crowns, bridges, and fillings. It’s important to shop around to find a dental insurance company with plans that provide the amount of coverage you need without low annual caps or exclusions that can prevent you from getting any value.
The best dental insurance plans provide access to a broad network of dentists, reasonable annual benefit maximums, and the potential for low premiums. When searching for the best dental insurance company, make sure you carefully compare and review the dental policies you are considering so you know exactly what is and is not covered.
Best Dental Insurance Companies of 2021
Best Overall : Cigna
We chose Cigna as the best overall dental insurance due to its broad network of more than 93,000 dentists and diversity of plans that can fit a variety of needs and budgets.
Some plans include restorative and orthodontic coverage
Network of more than 93,000 dentists nationwide
Waiting periods of six to 12 months for major services
Dental implants and cosmetic procedures not covered
Cigna is a global health service company with high marks for financial strength, including an A rating from both AM Best and Standard & Poor's. Its dental plans work within a nationwide network of more than 93,000 dentists, and they offer phone support 24/7 every day of the year. Cigna's dental insurance for individuals comes with no copays and no deductibles for preventive care with in-network dentists.
Cigna’s dental Preferred Provider Organization (DPPO) plans are available to consumers of all ages, and pricing is offered on a per-person, per-month basis. Cigna also lets customers choose a level of care based on their needs, with some plans offering orthodontic care and restorative care at a higher price point.
While the cost for Cigna dental insurance can vary depending on where you live, these quotes can help you get an idea of general pricing:
|Plan||Pricing per person, per month||Preventative care covered?||Restorative care covered?||Orthodontic care covered?||Deductible|
|Cigna Dental 1500||Starting at $35||Yes||Up to $1,500 per year||Up to $1,000 per year||$50 for individuals and $150 for families|
|Cigna Dental 1000||Starting at $30||Yes||Up to $1,000 per year||No||$50 for individuals and $150 for families|
|Cigna Dental Preventative||Starting at $19||Yes||No||No||None|
Runner-Up, Best Overall : Renaissance Dental
Renaissance Dental does not have the same comprehensive coverage that offers orthodontia like Cigna, but it gets the runner-up spot due to the fact it has a bigger network (300,000+ dental offices) and an excellent reputation for customer service.
Some plans cover preventive care at 100%
300,000 dental offices nationwide
Free online quote
Plans have annual max benefit of $1,000/person
No plans cover orthodontic care
Coverage for basic and major services is limited
Renaissance Dental works with a network of 300,000 dental offices nationwide, and in-network dentists who use this insurance will file paperwork and claims on your behalf. This company's customer service is known for its quality, and it has several different plans for individuals and families that offer varying levels of coverage and inclusions to meet consumers' needs.
Renaissance Dental has an A+ rating from AM Best, so you can feel confident in this company’s financial strength. It also makes it easy to get a free quote online no matter where you live, so shopping around to compare plans is simple and convenient.
Not all Renaissance Dental plans cover preventive care at 100%, and some waiting periods apply for restorative care and major services. Annual maximum benefits for all Renaissance Dental insurance plans are limited to $1,000. The Essentials Plan and Plan II have a deductible of $0, but Plan III has a $50 deductible for individuals and families.
Best for No Waiting Periods : Spirit Dental
We chose Spirit Dental because its plans don’t require any waiting periods and you have to pay a $100 deductible only once instead of every year.
100% coverage for three cleanings and two exams annually
No waiting periods
$100 lifetime deductible
Annual coverage maximums can be as low as $750
Plans vary widely on annual maximums and costs
Spirit Dental offers dental insurance plans with no waiting periods and annual maximum benefit amounts that increase after you’ve had your plan for a few years. It guarantees acceptance for everyone, and you even can get coverage for major services and dental implants.
Spirit Dental is offered through Ameritas Life Insurance Corp., which has an A+ rating from Standard & Poor’s and an A rating from AM Best for financial strength. Spirit’s partnership with Ameritas also means this company works with one of the largest networks of dentists worldwide. Currently, you can choose from 111,500 dental providers at 428,000 access points nationwide.
Along with having no waiting periods, Spirit Dental charges a one-time $100 deductible, compared to the annual deductibles most coverage providers charge. Spirit offers several dental insurance plans for individuals, featuring preventive coverage, three cleanings per year, orthodontics for kids, and no waiting periods, with up to a $5,000 annual maximum benefit after you’ve been a customer for three years.
In addition to its Network plans, which provide coverage in-network, Spirit offers Choice plans, which allow policyholders to choose any dentist. How much you’ll pay for coverage can vary depending on where you live. Below is an overview of a few of Spirit's plans. Availability and selection differ by state.
|Plan||Preventative care covered?||Basic and Major care covered?||Annual maximum benefit|
|Network 750/1000/1250||100%||Basic care at 50%, 60%, and 80% in years one, two, and three; Major services at 20%, 30%, and 40%, in years one, two, and three||$750 in year one, $1,000 in year two, and $1,250 in year three|
|Network 3500||100%||Basic care at 65%, 80%, and 90% in years one, two, and three; Major services at 10%, 50%, and 65%, in years one, two, and three; Coverage for orthodontic care||$3,500|
|Choice 1200||100%||Basic care at 50%, 65%, and 80% in years one, two, and three; Major services at 25%, 50%, and 50%, in years one, two, and three; Orthodontic care for children ages 18 and younger at 10%, 25%, and 50%, in years one, two, and three||$1,200|
|Choice 1200/2500/5000||100%||Basic care at 50%, 60%, and 80% in years one, two, and three; Major services at 25%, 30%, and 50%, in years one, two, and three; Orthodontic care for children ages 18 and younger at 10%, 25%, and 50%, in years one, two, and three||$1,200 in year one, $2,500 in year two, and $5,000 in year three|
Best Value : Humana Dental Insurance
We chose Humana as the best value due to its low starting rates for basic plans, the fact that preventive services are covered at 100%, and the fact that some plans have a one-time deductible.
Plans include preventive care at 100% coverage.
Humana works with more than 270,000 dentists nationwide.
Annual maximum benefits can be as low as $1,000.
Some plans have long waiting periods for basic/major services.
Humana offers PPO and DHMO plans at varying price points that can make sense for consumers with unique dental care needs. The company currently has an A- rating from AM Best, which means it is fairly solid in terms of financial strength.
You can select from more than 270,000 dentists across the United States, but you should note that plans, coverage amounts, and specifics for each policy can vary widely depending on where you live. Regardless of these differences, what sets Humana apart is its value pricing and provision for 100% coverage for preventive care.
Some dental insurance plans from Humana features a lifetime deductible, usually $50 for individuals and $150 for families, while other plans charge an annual deductible. Maximum benefit amounts for this coverage can range from $1,000 to unlimited depending on the policy you choose. Waiting periods also can apply, including a six-month waiting time for basic services and up to 12 months for major services.
Below is an overview of some of Humana's plans.
|Plan||Preventative care covered?||Basic and major care covered?||Deductible||Annual maximum benefit|
|Dental Preventive Value PPO||100%||Basic care at 50%; No coverage for major services||$50 for individuals and $150 for families||Unlimited|
|Dental Loyalty Plus PPO||100%||Basic services at 40%, 55%, and 70% in years one, two, and three; Major services at 20%, 30%, and 50% in years one, two, and three||$150 for individuals and $450 for families||$1,000 per person in year one, $1,250 in year two, and $1,500 in year three|
|Complete Dental PPO||100%||Basic care at 80% and major services at 50%||$50 for individuals and $150 for families||$1,250 per individual in year one and $1,500 in year two|
Best for Families : UnitedHealthOne Dental Insurance
UnitedHealthOne is our pick as best for families thanks to its winning combination of preventive care and orthodontia coverage that can save families a lot of money.
Broad network of dentists are available.
Many plans include 100% preventive care.
Some plans cover orthodontics.
Annual maximum benefit amounts can be as low as $1,000/person.
Waiting periods may apply for basic and major services.
UnitedHealthOne offers dental insurance plans with no age limit and preventive care covered with no deductibles or waiting periods. It is part of the UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune 500 company. Policies may be underwritten by the Golden Rule Insurance Company, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group. The group has an A rating from AM Best for financial strength.
Dental insurance plans, including coverage amounts and other details, can vary widely with UnitedHealthOne depending on where you live. However, this company does make it easy to get a free quote online without any medical underwriting.
Some plans from UnitedHealthOne require a waiting period of four months or longer for basic care and major services, although details can vary based on where you live. Some higher-tiered plans offer orthodontic coverage, although lower-tier plans may not cover major services like braces, crowns, and bridgework. Annual maximum benefits for some plans can be as low as $1,000.
Here is an overview of a few of United's plans.
|Plan||Preventative care covered?||Basic and major services covered?||Deductible||Annual maximum benefit|
|Essential Dental||80% during year one, 90% in year two, and 100% in year three||Basic services at 50%, then 65%, and finally 80%; No coverage for major services||$50 per person||$1,000 per person|
|Premier Choice Dental||100%||Basic services at 50% in year one, 65% in year two, and 80% in year three; Major services at 10% in year one, 40% in year two, and 50% in year three||$50 per person||$1,500 per person|
|Premier Max Dental||100%||Basic services at 50% after 4-month waiting period, 65% in year two, and 80% in year three; Major services at 50% after 12-month waiting period, 60% in year three||$50 per person||$3,000 per person|
Best for Seniors : Physicians Mutual
We chose Physicians Mutual for seniors since there are no annual or lifetime limits on the coverage, including benefits to help pay for dentures, and it offers specialized pricing for a senior's budget.
No waiting period for preventive care
No annual or lifetime limits on benefits
Three-month waiting period for basic procedures
12-month waiting period for major work
Limits on how much they pay per procedure
Physicians Mutual dental insurance can be trusted for its financial strength since the company has an A rating from AM Best. This provider also has plans that can be particularly good for seniors since they include coverage for up to 350 procedures, including crowns and dentures.
Physicians Mutual dental insurance doesn’t have any deductibles, and coverage for preventive care like cleanings starts right away. A waiting period of three months applies to basic care like fillings and extractions, and a 12-month waiting period applies to major services like crowns and root canals.
Physicians Mutual policies come with no annual or lifetime benefit limits on your coverage, and you can choose your dentist from its network of more than 500,000 providers.
Physicians Mutual offers three basic dental insurance plans. These include:
- Economy Plus plan starts at $30.10 per month
- Standard Plus plan starts at $37.80 per month
- Preferred Plus plan starts at $46.75 per month
With each of these options, you’ll be reimbursed for preventive care, basic care, and major services at a set cost based on the plan you select. Economy Plus plans reimburse at a lower rate, whereas Preferred Plus plans reimburse at the highest rate.
Best for Orthodontics : Delta Dental
Delta Dental has several dental insurance plans that include orthodontic care for both children and adults, whereas most other providers don't have multiple, affordable orthodontia choices.
Some plans include orthodontic care.
There are no out-of-pocket cost for preventive care on most plans.
There is a large network of providers.
Annual maximum benefit amounts are low.
Orthodontic care is covered at only 50%.
Delta Dental belongs to one of the nation’s largest dental provider networks, which makes it easy to choose from more than 152,000 dentists in its networks. Delta Dental also boasts an A rating from AM Best—a testament to the financial strength of the company.
While plan details vary from state to state, Delta Dental offers several different types of insurance, including options that cover orthodontic care. With its individual PPO plans, for example, orthodontics are covered at 50% for children and adults. A $50 deductible applies, as does a $1,500 annual maximum for care.
Preventive care like cleanings and X-rays is covered at 100%, and all basic and major services, including root canals, implants, and crowns, are covered at 50%.
Pricing and plan options vary between states. Head to Delta Dental's website to see what they offer in your locality.
There are many options when it comes to dental insurance companies. Some companies, like Renaissance Dental and Delta Dental, provide plans that cover 100% of preventive care, while others like Spirit Dental offer plans with no waiting periods. But overall, the best dental insurance company is Cigna.
Cigna has a broad network of more than 93,000 dentists available nationwide, and all of its dental insurance covers preventive care with no deductibles or copays. Plus, with Cigna, customers can choose a level of care that is based on what they actually need, with some plans offering orthodontic and restorative care for a higher price.
Compare the Best Dental Insurance Companies
|Company||Coverage Limit||Providers In-Network||Plans||Deductible||States Available|
|Cigna Best Overall||$1,500 for restorative care $1,000 for orthodontic||93,000||3||$50 individuals $150 families $0 for preventative plan||50|
|Renaissance Dental Runner Up, Best Overall||$1,000||300,000||4||$50 for individuals or families||50|
|Spirit Dental Best for No Waiting Periods||$5,000 after 3 years||111,500||16||One time $100 deductible||50|
|Humana Dental Insurance Best Value||$1,000 to unlimited||270,000||6||$50 for individuals $150 families||50|
|UnitedHealthOne Dental Insurance Best for Families||$3,000||100,000||10||$50 per person||50|
|Physicians Mutual Best for Seniors||Unlimited||500,000||3||None||50|
|Delta Dental Best for Orthodontics||$1,000 to unlimited||152,000||5||$50 for PPO plans||50|
What Is Dental Insurance?
Dental insurance provides a range of coverage for various dental procedures including preventive care and more involved services like fillings, crowns, and root canals. Like other types of insurance, dental insurance requires you to pay a monthly insurance premium, and you also may pay an annual or lifetime deductible in addition to copayments when you visit a dentist for care.
Dental insurance works differently than health insurance in terms of how much coverage you can receive. While the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) meant limits no longer can apply to healthcare coverage in any given year, dental insurance plans often come with annual limits as low as $750 or $1,000 per person.
Once your annual maximum benefit amount is met, you will have to pay for dental care out of pocket. Also, note that dental insurance frequently comes with waiting periods that can vary depending on the type of care you need.
Make sure you don’t confuse dental insurance with dental discount plans. Dental discount plans only offer reduced pricing on services for dentists in a specific network.
What Does Dental Insurance Typically Include?
Dental insurance plans can vary widely, and this includes what they will and will not include. For this reason, you should read over the terms and conditions of any plan you’re considering to make sure that basic care like fillings and major services like crowns and bridges are included in your coverage.
For the most part, the majority of dental insurance plans cover preventive care like cleanings and X-rays at 100%, although waiting periods may apply. Coverage for basic services like fillings, root canals, and tooth extractions also is included, but it’s normally limited to a percentage of the cost (e.g., 50%). You also can buy coverage that includes major services like crowns, bridges, dental implants, and orthodontics, although plans that cover major services tend to cost more and limit the payout to 50% in most cases.
What Does Dental Insurance Typically Exclude?
Dental insurance doesn’t normally cover cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening, and you also may struggle to find coverage for pre-existing conditions such as missing teeth. Some plans leave out major services like dental implants and orthodontic care altogether. Make sure to read over your dental insurance policy to see what it includes and excludes.
What Are the Expected Costs of Dental Insurance?
The cost of dental insurance varies widely depending on where you live, your age, and the plan you select. However, it may be possible to find a plan that costs less than $20 per month for an individual depending on your state and county.
Less expensive dental insurance plans tend to cover only a small percentage of services and come with low annual benefit limits. More robust plans can easily cost more like $40 to $60 per month for an individual, although you’ll get more coverage, higher annual benefit amounts, and more included services in return.
Is Paying for Dental Insurance Worth It?
Only you can decide if paying for dental insurance is worth it. However, you should take the time to run some basic cost analysis to determine how much you would pay for dental insurance premiums, copayments, and deductibles per year versus how much you’ve actually paid for dental care in previous years.
According to an analysis from the American Dental Association, most people would actually be better off paying for dental care out of pocket.
Also, keep in mind that you’ll get a lot more value out of your dental insurance plan if you actually use it. The ADA says that more than one out of three adults with dental insurance don’t use their plan, which could be part of the reason many aren’t getting enough value for the money they invest in dental insurance each month.
We looked at more than 20 dental insurance plans to come up with the providers in our ranking. We sought plans with the broadest networks of dentists available, reasonable annual benefit maximums, and the potential for low premiums. While many of the plans on our list come with waiting periods, we tried to select providers that don’t list cumbersome waiting periods that make using coverage difficult.
We also looked for dental insurance companies with strong ratings in terms of their financial strength, mostly by comparing ratings from Standard & Poor’s and AM Best.