Dentalplans 101 – An Introduction to Discount Dental Plans

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

In addition to health insurance plans that reduce the cost of medical expenses, individuals can help reduce the cost of dental expenses with discount dental plans. A discount dental plan is not dental insurance, but can work with an insurance plan. Understanding how a discount dental plan works, and how it differs from an insurance plan, will allow individuals to make informed choices on the type of plan that works best for their personal situations.


A dental insurance plan requires:
–Monthly premium payments
–A waiting period for a specified activation date
–A deductible amount be met before any payments are made
–The policy holder to pay a co-payment before the insurance makes a payment to the dental provider
–Requires a waiting period, generally 6 months to a year, before paying for non-routine dental procedures
–Policy holder pays any difference that the insurance plan does not pay
–An annual limit, or cap, on the amount of benefits that can be paid
–Paperwork from the dental provider detailing the services given before a payment is made

A discount dental plan offers:
–Monthly membership fees
–No waiting period for the plan to be activated
–No deductible requirements, the discounted costs for services are immediately available
–No co-payment as the member will pay the agreed upon discount price at the time of service; the discount plan does not make payments to dental providers
–Immediate availability of all dental services within each member’s unique plan
–No hidden fees or costs as each member will know the discount price due at the time of service
–No dollar or procedure limits on the amount of covered dental services and the discount dental cost applies to each service provided
–No required paperwork from a dental provider as plan members will pay the agreed to discount price at the time of service


Specific dental insurance plans have pre-negotiated rates with dental providers who accept specific dental plans.

Discount dental plans have a list of participating dental providers who have accept pre-determined discounted fees from plan members. Members can make appointments with any of the general or specialized dentists accepting their discount plans. Discount plans vary in member cost, covered procedures and the cost for services. One website that compares discount dental plans, by zip code, will help people select a plan to fit their needs. The site is:

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