Best Dental Insurance

Renaissance is the best overall dental insurance

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

If you don’t have solid dental insurance, going to the dentist can be rather expensive—especially if the treatment you need goes beyond basic cleanings and preventative care. The right dental insurance can significantly lower your out-of-pocket contribution, enabling you to afford the care you need to keep your smile healthy and bright. 

And, it will cover preventative services without long waiting periods, reduce the costs associated with more expensive treatment like crowns, bridges, and implants, and give you access to a large network of providers. Before choosing a carrier, it’s important to shop around to determine which one offers the coverage and features you need. We’ve put together a list of some of the best dental insurance options available, making it easy for you to find the right one.

Best Dental Insurance of 2022

Best Overall : Renaissance


Renaissance

Renaissance

Key Specs
  • Waiting Period: None for preventative services; 6 months for basic care
  • Deductible: Varies by plan
  • Annual Maximum: $1,000 per year, per member
Why We Chose It

Renaissance is affordable and flexible, earning the carrier the top spot on our list. The company offers three different plans, giving you coverage options. 

Pros & Cons 
Pros
  • Exceptional customer service

  • Visit any dentist in or out of network

Cons
  • Coverage for services may be limited by age

Overview 

Renaissance has a stellar AM Best rating and is part of the Renaissance Health Service Corporation, with a PPO network that includes more than 300,000 dental access points nationwide. 

This insurance company offers you the ultimate in flexibility, featuring plans with full and partial coverage on various services and the ability to see any dentist you choose in or out of network. 

There’s no waiting period for preventative care, meaning you can visit the dentist as soon as you like after signing up. The carrier covers services from routine exams and cleanings to more complicated procedures like implants and endo. The company is also known for its exceptional customer service.

Coverage may be limited based on age, and exclusions include cosmetic services. While there is no waiting period for preventative care, other services like periodontal maintenance and oral surgery have waiting periods of six and 12 months. Orthodontic services are not covered.  

The policy maximum for all three options is about $1,000 a year per member, with deductibles at $50 per member and $150 per family on all policies except the Essentials plan, which has no deductible.

Best For Low Fees : Cigna


Cigna

Cigna

Key Specs
  • Waiting Period: None for preventative services; none for basic if you had other coinsurance for 12 consecutive months
  • Deductible: Varies by plan
  • Annual Maximum: Varies by plan
Why We Chose It 

Cigna offers plans starting as low as roughly $19 per person a month with no deductible or copays for routine dental care, so this dental insurance won’t break the bank. 

Pros & Cons  
Pros
  • Large network of dentists and locations

  • No deductible or copays on routine dental care

Cons
  • Some covered services are determined by age

Overview 

Cigna is a global health services company committed to delivering affordable and predictable health insurance. The company’s dental insurance features a network of more than 93,000 dentists in 297,000 locations across the country, making it easy to find an in-network provider so you can get the most value out of the coverage. 

Cigna offers affordable plans for families and individuals with no deductibles or copays for preventative care like cleanings, oral exams, and X-rays as well as coverage for minor and major restorative work such as dentures and bridges. No referrals are required for specialist care, and with some plans, there’s no waiting period for minor restorative treatment if you’ve had other insurance for 12 consecutive months. There’s no waiting period for preventative care with all plans. 

Exclusions and limitations vary by state. Plans don’t cover orthodontics and some covered services are determined by age. You can choose a dentist who’s out of network, though you may end up paying more out of pocket if you do.

Rates vary by plan design and deductible, copay, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximums selected. Cigna also has a top AM Best rating.

Best for Immediate Coverage : Spirit Dental and Vision


Spirit Dental & Vision

 Spirit Dental & Vision

Key Specs
  • Waiting Period: None
  • Deductible: One-time $100 deductible
  • Annual Maximum: Varies by plan
Why We Chose It 

Not only does this carrier offer affordable insurance and a low deductible, there’s no waiting period—for any services. Plans cover basic preventative care, including three cleanings a year, and major services like implants and orthodontics. 

Pros & Cons 
Pros
  • Coverage begins on the effective date of your policy, for all services

  • One-time $100 deductible

Cons
  • Monthly premiums can change after the first year

Overview 

Spirit Dental and Vision, underwritten by Security Life, offers dental and vision insurance for individuals and families. 

Unlike many other dental insurance plans, Spirit has no waiting period for basic and major services. You can start using your coverage on the effective date of your policy. With guaranteed acceptance, you don’t have to wait to get the dental care you need. 

Primary policyholders must be 18. Spouses/domestic partners and unmarried children up to age 26 are also eligible for coverage. Implants, dentures, bridges, inlays, and crowns are among the services covered. Spirit also covers orthodontics, another benefit if you have a child who will need braces soon. 

Coverage amounts differ per plan, so be sure to check out the various options to see which one is right for you. All plans have a one-time $100 deductible. The monthly premium is based on several factors, including what coverage you select, where you live, and whether you go with one of the company’s Choice or Network options. Network plans have lower premiums. 

You can choose any dentist in or out of network, giving you more flexibility. Annual maximums are roughly $1,200, $2,000 or $3,000. 

Best for Families : UnitedHealthcare


United Healthcare

United Healthcare

Key Specs
  • Waiting Period: None
  • Deductible: Varies by plan
  • Annual Maximum: Varies by plan
Why We Chose It 

This carrier offers a variety of options with no age restrictions for coverage, making it ideal for families.

Pros & Cons 
Pros
  • No age restrictions

  • Multiple plans with different levels of benefits

Cons
  • Some plans require a co-pay for preventative services

Overview 

Underwritten by Golden Rule Insurance Company, UnitedHealthcare is committed to making the health system work better for everyone, serving millions of customers from kids to seniors. 

The carrier offers a variety of dental plans to fit any family budget. Plans cover basic services like fillings and x-rays as well as major services like root canals and endo. 

United has a large network of dentists, though you can choose to go out of network if you’re willing to pay additional costs and to submit your own paperwork for coverage. There are also plans geared specifically toward seniors. It’s easy to search for plans on the website, with the option to add a spouse and children. Waiting periods for major services are four to 12 months. 

Exclusions do apply. Major services are subject to the plan’s deductible. Co-pays are also required for some basic services, depending on the plan you select. The annual maximum is between roughly $1,000 and $3,000, also depending on your plan.  

Best for Seniors : Smart Health Dental


Smart Health Dental

Smart Health Dental

Key Specs
  • Waiting Period: None
  • Deductible: $50 per person and $150 per family
  • Annual Maximum: Varies by plan
Why We Chose It 

This provider offers plans for seniors that cover preventative and comprehensive care. The comprehensive plan even offers coverage on dentures, bridges, and implants with no waiting periods for major procedures. 

Pros & Cons 
Pros
  • No waiting procedures for services like bridges and implants

  • Benefits increase each year with the comprehensive plan

Cons
  • Some basic services aren’t fully covered

Overview 

Smart Health Dental, powered by Renaissance, offers multiple dental insurance and non-insurance plan options and is committed to providing quality insurance nationwide. 

The provider offers a basic plan for seniors and others who only need preventative care and a comprehensive plan for those who need access to more treatment such as dentures, implants, and bridges—with no waiting period for either. There are more than 200,000 dentists in the network. Exclusions and limitations apply.

Benefits increase with the comprehensive plan for the first three years, with the maximum starting at about $750 then increasing to $1,000 the next year and $1,250 the after that. The percentage of coverage on some services will also go up, while the deductible will remain at about $50 per person and $150 per family. There’s no deductible for the preventative plan.

Best for Singles : Physicians Mutual


Physicians Mutual

Physicians Mutual

Key Specs
  • Waiting Period: None for preventative care; 3 months for basic services
  • Deductible: None
  • Annual Maximum: None
Why We Chose It  

Physicians Mutual offers three plans that cover the same 350 procedures, just for different amounts. There’s no annual maximum on the cash benefits you can receive and no deductible, making it a great option for singles. 

Pros & Cons 
Pros
  • Plans cover 350 procedures

  • No annual maximum or deductible

Cons
  • 3-month waiting period on basic services, 12 months on major treatment

Overview 

Physicians Mutual has offered insurance plans to millions of Americans since 1902, with the goal of making coverage easy to understand. 

All of the company’s dental plans cover the same 350 procedures, you just need to determine which monthly fee and level of coverage work best for you. While there’s no waiting period for preventative treatment, basic services aren’t available for three months and major treatments like dentures and root canals require a 12-month wait. Acceptance is guaranteed for anyone 18 or older. Note: Orthodontics aren't covered and limitations apply.

Keep in mind there’s no deductible to meet and that translates into savings. You can see any dentist you want, or save a national average of roughly 36% on covered services by choosing a dentist from the carrier’s network of more than 500,000 provider locations. 

Best for Orthodontics : Delta Dental


Delta Dental PPO Premium

Delta Dental PPO Premium

Key Specs
  • Waiting Period: None for preventative; basic services vary by plan
  • Deductible: Varies by plan
  • Annual Maximum: Varies by plan
Why We Chose It 

Delta Dental offers plans that include orthodontics, which can be difficult to find. Plans cover a variety of services. 

Pros & Cons 
Pros
  • Large network of dentists to choose from

  • You typically don’t need a referral for specialists like an orthodontist

Cons
  • Clear aligners may or may not be covered

Overview 

Delta Dental is described as the nation’s leading dental service provider, offering coverage in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories and serving more than 80 million Americans. Delta Dental Plans Association is a not-for-profit organization. The company is focused on providing personalized customer service and boasts the largest network of dentists nationwide. DeltaVision is also available separately or as part of your dental plan. 

The company offers a variety of options for individuals and families, including some plans that cover orthodontics. Routine services are typically 100% covered. Orthodontic coverage varies by plan but typically includes the pre-orthodontic treatment visit, exam and start-up records, X-rays, comprehensive orthodontic treatment, retainers, and post-treatment records.

Services like cleanings, X-rays, and plans usually have no waiting period. Fillings, crowns, bridges, and other treatments may have a waiting period, depending on your plan. 

Deductibles, co-pays, and maximums vary by plan. You can see an out-of-network dentist, but will likely pay higher fees when you do. 

Best Value : Guardian Direct


Guardian

Guardian

Key Specs
  • Waiting Period: None
  • Deductible: None
  • Annual Maximum: Varies by plan
Why We Chose It 

With this carrier, you save up to roughly 35% off standard dental insurance rates when you visit an in-network dentist. There are three plans to choose from, with the Gold option offering orthodontics coverage for anyone 19 or younger. 

Pros & Cons 
Pros
  • No deductible if you stay in network

  • Plans start at $20 a month

Cons
  • Must select a primary care dentist

Overview 

Guardian Direct offers a variety of insurance beyond dental, including vision, life, accident, and disability. The goal of the company is to bring reliable insurance directly to the people.  

No matter which dental plan you choose, there are no waiting periods for preventative care. There are various waiting periods for services covered in other plans, including 12 months for implants. 

For Guardian Dental Managed DentalGuard, all covered services must be provided by an in-network physician who serves as your primary care dentist, and referrals to any specialists must come from that dentist as well. Guardian has a network of more than 100,000 dentists. 

With the carrier’s PPO plans, you also have the choice of visiting an out-of-network dentist. 

Instant approval is guaranteed, meaning you can sign up for a plan in a matter of minutes. Limitations and exclusions apply. 

Dental plans start as low as roughly $20 a month, and there is no deductible for preventative care. Dental premiums are subject to change with 60 days' notice.

Final Verdict 

There are a variety of dental insurance carriers to choose from, all with advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to think about what you need from your dental insurance coverage and how much you’re willing to spend each month. Deductibles, waiting periods, network size, and co-pays should also be considered. Carriers' various plans may differ by state, so obtain multiple quotes before deciding where to sign up.

This list can help you find affordable options with flexible individual and family plans. Guardian Direct is ideal if you're looking for overall value, while Delta Dental is perfect for those who need orthodontics coverage. Cigna, however, is great if you're looking for a budget-friendly option.

Compare the Best Dental Insurance

Company Waiting Period for Preventative and Basic Services  Waiting Period for Major Services Deductible  Annual Maximum
Renaissance
Best Overall
None preventative, 6 months basic  12 months   Varies based on plan $1,000 a year per member
Cigna
Best for Low Fees 
None for preventative and none for basic if you had other insurance for 12 consecutive months. Otherwise, waiting period is 6 months.  None if you had other insurance for 12 consecutive months. Otherwise, waiting period is 12 months.  Varies by plan  Varies by plan  
Spirit Dental and Vision
Best for Immediate Coverage
None None   One-time $100 deductible  Varies by plan 
United Healthcare
Best for Families
None 4 to 12 months  Varies by plan  Varies by plan 
Smart Health Dental
Best for Seniors
None None  $50 per person and $150 per family  Varies by plan, with some going up each year 
Physicians Mutual
Best for Singles
None for preventative, 3 months for basic services   12 months  None None 
Delta Dental
Best for Ortho
None for preventative care, basic services vary by plan   Varies by plan  Varies by plan  Varies by plan
Guardian Direct
Best Value 
None None  None Varies by plan 

Why You Need Dental Insurance 

No matter your age, preventative dental care is critical to keeping both your body and your mouth healthy. Poor oral hygiene can contribute to a variety of chronic conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. Through dental insurance, preventative care is covered with no waiting period, so you can see a dentist and get the benefits of these services right away. 

Dental insurance also covers a portion of more expensive procedures that you may need down the road, such as implants, bridges, and crowns. Putting off these types of treatments will only lead to bigger, more costly problems, while also damaging your overall health. 

According to the American Dental Association, on average, adults ages 19 to 34 spend about $492 on dental work within a year, while those 35 to 49 spend $598. Adults in the 50 to 64 age range spend $785 a year on average. A good dental insurance plan can help offset those costs.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Is Dental Insurance?

Dental insurance pays a portion of dental procedure costs. You may have dental insurance through your employer or need to purchase a plan on your own. There are different types of dental insurance available including individual, family, and group. There are three primary categories: Preferred Provider Network, Dental Health Managed Organizations, and Indemnity, all offering different levels of coverage and options. You may need to choose an in-network provider depending on your plan; out-of-network providers typically charge higher fees. 

Note that dental insurance is separate from your health insurance. 

What Does Dental Insurance Typically Cover?

Most plans cover 100% of preventative care and a portion of basic services like fillings and major services like root canals and implants. Some plans also cover orthodontic services. Because plans vary so much in terms of what they cover, it’s important to do your research before selecting a carrier.  

What Does Dental Insurance Typically Exclude?

Exclusions vary based on carrier and plan, but most don’t cover pre-existing conditions or cosmetic procedures. 

What Costs Are Associated With Dental Insurance?

Many insurance plans have deductibles you must meet before coverage kicks in. There are also monthly premiums and co-pays for some services. Most plans also have maximum amounts they’ll pay within a year.

Methodology

We looked at a variety of dental insurance companies in the U.S. to compare coverage options, waiting periods, network size, and deductibles. We also examined which services would be better for families vs. individuals.

Was this page helpful?
2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. "Oral Health." Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

  2. Yarborough, C., Vujicic, M., & Aravamudhan, K. (n.d.). "Analysis of dental spending among adults with private ... An Analysis of Dental Spending Among Adults with Private Dental Benefits." ADA.