Best Dental Insurance for No Waiting Period

Spirit has the best dental insurance for no waiting period

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.

One of the downsides to many dental insurance policies? Waiting periods. For context: A waiting period is the amount of time the insured person must subscribe to a dental insurance policy before their benefits begin. But not to worry: There are dental insurance policies without waiting periods available—and many of these plans are as affordable and comprehensive as the policies that have them.

Dental insurance plans with no waiting periods share some common attributes with those that do. The best dental insurance for no waiting periods still manages to have affordable premiums while providing coverage right away. These plans cover things like cleanings and exams, fillings and other simple restorative work, and complex dental treatments—like bridges, crowns, and root canals—from day one of the insured’s coverage. Many dental insurance plans with no waiting periods also allow you to work in and out of network with a dentist of your choice.

Here we rounded up the best options for you.

Best Dental Insurance for No Waiting Period of 2022

Best Overall : Spirit Dental & Vision


Spirit Dental

Spirit Dental

Key Specs
  • 8 plans available
  • Maximums range from roughly $1,200 to $5,000
  • Available in 48 states
Why We Chose It

We chose Spirit Dental & Vision as the best overall because it has coverage for all dental care from day 1 and offers many plan options. Also, it has generous annual maximums, up to around $5,000, depending on the plan you choose. 

Pros
  • No waiting periods for any category of care

  • Lifetime deductible of $100 for each member

  • Preventative covered at 100% from day 1

Cons
  • Teeth already missing aren’t covered

  • Coinsurance is low for year 1 on some policies

  • All plans are not available in every state

Offered by Ameritas Life Insurance Corp, Spirit Dental & Vision is a nationwide provider that has been around since the 1880s and has high ratings from both AM Best and Standard & Poor’s. You can buy a dental insurance plan with no waiting periods directly or through an employer, and it includes policies for individuals, families, kids, and seniors.

Spirit Dental is the best overall for a variety of reasons. With Spirit Dental, your coverage begins on day one of your effective date, and you have many plans and levels of coverage to choose from. You choose your dentist.

Some other great features are the $100 lifetime deductible per person, preventive care coverage at 100% with three cleanings a year, and guaranteed acceptance. On most policies, the Basic and Major categories of care have increased coverage amounts for the first three years on most of Spirit's policies, with the annual maximum ranging from around $1,200 to $5,000, depending on your plan level.

One thing to note is that Spirit does not cover prosthetics for missing teeth unless the prosthetic also covers a tooth lost while the subscriber is insured with them. In comparison, the premium rates vary based on where you live and other variables. An online search found that for a woman under 50 in CA, the range was roughly $44 to $108.

Best for Braces : Anthem


Anthem Essential Choice PPO Incentive

Anthem Essential Choice PPO Incentive

Key Specs
  • 6 plans available
  • Range of annual coverage limit is from around $1,000 to $2,500
  • Available in 14 states
Why We Chose It

Anthem is the best dental insurance without waiting periods for braces because the Anthem Essential Choice Incentive plan has no waiting periods for braces. The Incentive plan pays 50% coinsurance for up to roughly $500 a year in orthodontic maximum for kids' braces from the first day of coverage. 

Pros
  • Incentive plan provides 50% coinsurance on kids’ braces day 1

  • $1,000 to $2,500 in annual maximum between 6 plans

  • Will wave the waiting period with proof of previous coverage

Cons
  • Rates vary based on geography and demographics

  • Most affordable policy doesn’t cover braces or other major services

Since, the 1940s, Indianapolis-based Anthem is one of the largest health benefits companies in the U.S. It offers numerous health plans and specialty plans to over 41 million subscribers.

AM Best gives it a stellar rating for financial strength and for long-term issuer credit rating. The Indianapolis-based company has also won numerous awards, including a place on Fortune’s the World’s Most Admired Companies for 2020. Anthem is available direct and through employers.

Anthem is the best dental insurance for no waiting periods for braces because one of their plans, the Anthem Essential Incentive plan, covers children's braces on day 1 for up to $500 per year at a 50% coinsurance rate. The Anthem Essential Choice Platinum also covers braces after a waiting period, but it is only 6 months when other plans require 12 months.

While it doesn't cover braces, Anthem Dental Net 3000 also had no waiting periods for 500 covered procedures with no deductible or annual maximums. The range of rates for a woman in California under 50 is about $16 to $60 a month, and the Incentive plan is roughly $58.

Best for Seniors : Physician’s Mutual


Physician’s Mutual

Physician’s Mutual

Key Specs
  • 3 plan levels
  • No annual maximums
  • Available in all 50 states
Why We Chose It

We chose Physicians Mutual as the best dental insurance with no waiting periods for seniors because it covers preventative immediately and basic coverage after three months. At 12 months, you have 350 procedures covered, with no annual maximums and no deductibles. 

Pros
  • No waiting period for preventive care

  • No annual maximums or deductibles

  • 500,000 in-network providers

  • Covers over 350 procedures

Cons
  • 3-month waiting period for Basic coverage

  • 12-month waiting period for Major coverage

  • No senior discount

Physicians Mutual has been around since 1902 and is based in Omaha, NE. It offers dental insurance to individuals and families, as well as life and health insurance. Per their website, A.M. Best gives Physician’s Mutual top ratings for financial strength.

Physicians Mutual Preferred Plus has three excellent plans for seniors who need dental insurance with no waiting periods. It immediately covers preventive care and basic care just three months later. One drawback is there is a 12-month waiting period for Major care. However, once that is met, the three plans cover 350 dental procedures at a generous amount.

Also, the programs have no annual maximums or deductibles associated with the benefits. The premium rates are affordable for seniors. For example, the range of premiums is about $30 to $47 each month in California. Moreover, Physicians Mutual's nationwide network makes it easy for seniors to find a dentist nearby.

Best for Basic Coverage : United Healthcare


United Healthcare

United Healthcare

Key Specs
  • 10 plans, 8 with no waiting periods
  • Maximums in some plans range from about $1,000 to $3,000
  • Available nationwide
Why We Chose It

We went with United Healthcare because it has eight dental insurance plans with no waiting periods for preventive care and basic. Also, the high-end plans have generous coverage maximums at a reasonable premium per month. 

Pros
  • No waiting period for Basic care

  • No waiting period for Preventative care covered at 100%

  • Shorter waiting periods on Major coverage for some plans

Cons
  • Some of the plans only cover

  • Basic care at 35% on day 1

    Plan availability varies by state

United Healthcare is a prominent nationwide brand for insurance with a top rating from A.M. Best. It insures 30 million people nationwide and is underwritten by the Golden Rule Insurance Company. The company has a robust network of providers of roughly 182,000. United Healthcare's dental plans are available in most states through employers and direct, but the plan features may vary based on where you live. 

There are no waiting periods on Basic and Preventive care, generous annual maximums on the higher levels, and shorter, six-month waiting periods for Major coverage on many of its plans. In addition, several plans cover preventive at 100%. There are also no age restrictions on coverage. Moreover, the premiums are lower than we expected. For example, the monthly premium for a woman under 50 in California ranges from $24 to $64, depending on the plan.

Best for Root Canals : Humana


Humana

Humana

Key Specs
  • 5 programs, 1 for veterans
  • $1,000 to $1,500 on annual maximums
  • Available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico
Why We Chose It

We chose Humana because you are covered on your first effective date. Also, as you subscribe longer, you get more coverage for root canals up to 50%. 

Pros
  • No waiting periods on most plans

  • Root canals covered on day 1

  • Substantial nationwide network of 270,000 providers

Cons
  • Not all plans cover major services like root canals

  • First year coverage on root canals is only 20%

Headquartered in Louisville, KY, Humana was founded in 1961. It's a large, well-known brand for insurance with a wide range of insurance products and a substantial nationwide presence. It also has top ratings from A.M. Best. Policies are available direct and through employer groups. 

We like Humana's dental plans with no waiting periods for the best for root canals category because their Loyalty Plus PPO has no waiting periods and covers root canals at 20% on day 1. That coverage increases over the next three years until it reaches 50%.  Also, waiting periods might be waived on Basic and Major care for the other plans they have available if the new subscriber shows similar dental coverage for the previous 12 months. In addition, you can choose any dentist.

However, you get more discounts if you choose an in-network dentist. One thing to bear in mind is the Loyalty Plus PPO also has a higher lifetime deductible of about $150 for an individual and roughly $450 for a family. The rates for a woman under 50 in California range from around $19 to $60.

Best Budget : MetLife TakeAlong Dental


MetLife

MetLife

Key Specs
  • 3 programs 
  • Annual maximums range from around $750 to $2,000
  • Available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia
Why We Chose It

We chose MetLife TakeAlong Dental because the premiums are reasonable: Preventive, Basic, and Major coverage are the same as other providers.

Pros
  • No waiting periods on Preventive care

  • High Plan offers $2,000 in annual maximums per subscriber

  • Has generous benefits for routine dental care and comprehensive services

Cons
  • Waiting periods on Basic and Major care services

  • Deductibles on High plan are higher at $75 and $225

MetLife has been providing insurance products for over 152 years. Underwritten by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in New York, MetLife provides benefits to 20 million people. MetLife also has high ratings with J.D. Power and Associates and AM Best and is available in 50 states and the District of Columbia. It offers benefits through employers and direct to individuals. 

The MetLife TakeAlong Dental plans give you 100% coverage for Preventive care from day one and six months for Basic care. Like PPO plans, you can pick your dentist; the coverage is the same in and out of network. The higher the plan level, the more coverage you have for Basic and Major care. The highest level plan has a lower deductible than the low option.

Plus, you can keep your children on the benefits until they turn 26. Perhaps best of all, the premiums are competitive. The rates for an individual under 50 in California come in at about $18, $38, and $45 per month, and $60, $111, and $138 per family.

Final Verdict

You can get an excellent dental insurance plan without waiting periods. Some are less expensive month to month, like MetLife’s TakeAlong Dental, but do not cover as much as the insurance programs with higher monthly premiums, like the ones provided by United Healthcare. Some of the best dental insurance for no waiting period is not the least expensive but has a great benefit (e.g., Anthem for braces or Physicians Mutual for seniors). However, the overall best dental insurance for no waiting periods in 2021 is Spirit Dental.

Spirit Dental has reasonable rates, excellent coverage benefits, and no waiting periods for any category of care. Moreover, it has a lifetime deductible of only $100 and preventative care is covered at 100% from day one of coverage. It also has generous annual maximums that go up to $5,000 per subscriber. 

Compare the Best Dental Insurance for No Waiting Periods

Company Plans Providers In-Network (#) Coverage Limit Deductible
Spirit Dental
Best Overall
8 111,500 $1,200 to $5,000 $100 lifetime deductible per person
Anthem
Best for Braces
6 133,000 $1,000 for braces $50 individual; $150 family
Physician’s Mutual
Best for Seniors
3 500,000+ None None
United Healthcare
Best for Basic Coverage
10 182,000 $1,000 to $2,000 $50 individual; $150 family
Humana
Best for Root Canals
5 270,000 $1,000 to $1,500 $50 individual; $150 family
MetLife TakeAlong Dental
Best Budget
3 472,000 $1,000 to $2,000 From $25-$75 individual;             $75-$225 family, depending on your plan

How to Choose the Best Dental Insurance for No Waiting Period

There are several other critical considerations that you should use to comparison shop dental insurance with no waiting period. Here are a few of the most essential ones:

  • Coinsurance Amounts: This amount is what you pay after the deductible toward the treatment invoice.
  • Coverage Annual Maximum: This amount is the most the policy will pay per subscriber in a given year. 
  • Deductible: This amount is what you pay before your dental insurance policy's benefits and coverage apply. Sometimes the deductibles are satisfied annually; some are lifetime deductibles.
  • Exclusions: These are what the policy does not cover, an essential data point for policyholders.
  • In-network vs. out-of-network: You save the most when you work with an in-network provider; benefits often decrease out of network. 
  • Waiting Period Waiver: Some dental insurance companies will waive the waiting periods for the Basic and Major care categories if the insured can show dental insurance coverage for 12 months before enrolling in the new policy. You will often see this clause in the fine print below the summary of benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Dental Insurance Plans With No Waiting Period Cover Everything?

It depends on the policy. The ones we have identified in our list have at least one policy that often does cover everything with no waiting period. However, even with these policies, you will see in the details that the coverage increases the longer you subscribe, often over three years. 

When you are shopping for dental insurance policies with no waiting period, you'll find that most plans do not have waiting periods on cleanings and exams, but they do for fillings, crowns, or braces. That's because dental insurance divides care into three service categories: Preventive, Basic, and Major. Here’s a rundown on those different categories:

  • Preventive: This category is your routine dental care, usually including cleanings, X-rays, exams, fluoride treatments, and sealants. Dental insurance policies typically have no waiting period for preventive care.
  • Basic: These are dental treatments that dentists handle in-house, like fillings, simple extractions, some periodontal care, like scaling and root planing, etc. Many policies add a waiting period of three to six months, and sometimes longer, on this category of care. 
  • Major: These treatments are more complex, like bridges, crowns, dentures, implants, orthodontics, and root canals, among others. 

We also advise you to look at the details on the policy in the fine print when comparing coverages and waiting periods. Most dental insurance companies will not waive the waiting period if the coverage of the policy the new subscriber is moving into is not very similar to the policy they had before. If your policy has this waiver and you think you might qualify, be sure to talk with the plan administrator or dental insurance company representative to determine how to take advantage of it.

Who is Eligible for Dental Insurance With No Waiting Period?

For many of the policies we identified in this category, anyone is eligible. However, there are sometimes waiting periods that are determined by your employer. Also, some policies have a pre-existing condition exclusion period. 

Is It More Expensive to Use Dental Insurance with No Waiting Period?

It depends on the category of care you seek. For example, it is not more costly to get preventive care, as dental insurance policies with no waiting period usually provide these and pay 100%. However, if you have Basic or Major care needs, you might pay more in the first year or two than you would by year three. That's because many policies will increase coverage the longer you subscribe. For example, many United Healthcare plans pay a smaller percentage on day one of coverage than they do a year later.

How We Chose the Best Dental Insurance for With No Waiting Period

We looked at many variables when comparing the dental insurance policies with no waiting period. We started by choosing plans that had no waiting period in their policy description. Then we reviewed the number of programs available without a waiting period, the network size of the company, the number of states where it's available, the annual maximums, and deductibles. We also compared coverage and the rates quoted to determine the best one. Lastly, we looked at the company's ratings from unbiased sources. Also note: It is essential to investigate the policy stipulations for where you live.

Was this page helpful?