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What is Dental Insurance?

Dental insurance can help you cover a variety of dental services to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy. But not all plans are created equal, so it’s a good idea to explore all your options. Aflac dental insurance, for instance, comes with enhanced coverage that can help lower your out-of-pocket costs. Here’s a closer look at what dental insurance is, how it works, and the types of plans available.

Dental insurance definition

A dental insurance policy is separate from your primary health insurance plan. As long as you (or your employer) pay your premiums, you’ll receive partial or full coverage for a number of dental services. It’s important to note that the term “full coverage dental insurance” refers to the plan’s ability to help cover a variety of different dental treatments and procedures. It is not meant to imply total coverage.

Many dental insurance plans feature deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance, which you’ll have to pay when you receive dental care. Depending on your insurer and coverage, you may have to stay within the company’s network or have the freedom to use out-of-network providers.1

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Types of dental insurance plans

The main types of dental insurance plans include:2

Dental Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

A PPO uses a network of dental providers that offer dental care for an agreed-upon price. You may also receive care from out-of-network providers at a higher cost. Due to their flexibility, PPOs usually come with higher premiums.

Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO)

With a DHMO, you can expect lower-cost coverage via a network of dental providers. While some services are completely covered, others might require you to pay a copayment. To get reimbursed, you’ll likely have to stay within the DHMO’s network.

Dental discount plans

Technically, dental discount plans aren’t dental insurance policies. Instead, these plans offer discounts at participating providers. You can pay for a variety of treatments at discounted rates, which are outlined by each specific plan.

What dental insurance covers

Dental insurance from Aflac provides coverage for the following types of services:

Preventive and diagnostic services

Preventive and diagnostic services include routine cleanings, exams and lots more.

Basic services

Fillings and non-surgical extractions are a few examples of basic services that an Aflac dental insurance plan covers. These are usually considered simple treatments.

Major services

Major services are complex services that typically utilize a dental lab. This includes more involved procedures.

Dental insurance features

In many cases, dental insurance comes with these features:3


A deductible is a set dollar amount you must pay out-of-pocket before your dental plan kicks in and provides coverage. If your deductible is $100, for example, you’ll be responsible for the first $100 of your dental care.

Waiting period

The set period of time before you can receive coverage for certain dental services is known as a waiting period. Your waiting period will depend on your plan and can range from a few months to longer than a year.


Coinsurance is the rate you pay for specific dental services after the insurer covers their portion. If your plan states you have 20% coinsurance for filings, for example, your insurance company will pay 80%, and you’ll be on the hook for the remaining 20%.

Annual maximum

An annual maximum is the maximum amount of money your dental insurance plan will pay toward the cost of dental services in a benefit plan year, which is usually 12 months. It will reset at the start of each plan year.


Reimbursement is a self-funded plan that allows you to visit the dental providers of your choice1. You may pay the providers directly and submit a receipt or proof of treatment so you can get reimbursed.

Dental insurance cost

The cost of dental insurance varies greatly. It’s based on factors such as the insurance company, plan type, and rates for deductibles, coinsurance, and annual maximums. The average enhanced dental care plan, however, is $47 per month, while a bare-bones preventive care plan is $26 per month, on average.4

Benefits of having dental insurance

There are many benefits of getting a dental insurance policy. It can help you avoid high out-of-pocket dental care costs. It may also motivate you to prioritize your oral health and keep your teeth in good shape. Additionally, getting individual dental insurance might be necessary if your employer doesn’t offer it and you want to reduce your risk of serious health complications in the future.

Aflac offers dental insurance

Dental insurance can make dental care more affordable. Since there are so many plans out there, however, it's a good idea to compare them and weigh the pros and cons.

Aflac offers dental insurance with reasonable premiums and a deductible that decreases over time. Plus, there’s minimal to no waiting period for preventive dental care, and you may have the option to pair your plan with vision or hearing services. Chat with an agent today to learn more about dental insurance and get a quote.

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