But not every dental insurance plan is right for every person's needs. Some people just want coverage for checkups. Other people need more dental care. Others aren't sure what they'll need – but they're very particular about which dentist they see. That's why dental insurance companies like Guardian offer plans with different levels of dental benefits and costs. Read on to find out how to shop for the dental quote that's right for your needs and budget.

Why some dental quotes are higher than others

When you compare dental insurance plans from different companies – or even the same company – a lot of the difference in cost can be explained by two things:

  1. How much is covered
  2. How many dentists are in the network 

Full coverage dental plans cover a lot of different procedures, so they typically cost more than basic dental coverage plans that just pay for regular checkups. And plans that let you see any dentist tend to cost more than insurance plans that limit you to just a few dentists.

There are two main kinds of dental plans: one lets you see any dentist, the other doesn't

Dental PPO: More Dentist Choice

Dental HMO: Less Dentist Choice

Similar to a PPO health insurance plan, these dental insurance plans typically have an extensive network of dentists but also let you see out-of-network dentists. But when you stay in-network, you pay less and don't need to submit claims. Is your dentist in Guardian's network? Find out here.

These dental plans tend to offer lower premiums, but there's also less flexibility with a limited network of dentists. Like HMO health care plans, you choose a Primary Dentist and have to go through him or her for all your care, including specialist referrals. Many DHMOs have no deductibles or maximums – and while there are copayments for most non-preventive treatments, your overall costs will likely be lower.

There's also another type of dental insurance with no provider network:

An indemnity plan lets you see any dentist, but you have to pay the entire fee upfront then submit a claim. The insurance company reimburses a portion – usually between 50% and 80% of the "reasonable and customary" charge. These plans tend to have higher premiums and are harder to find.

Here's what different plans can cover

Even a low-cost, basic dental plan will cover regular checkups at affordable prices and plans with greater dental coverage will help pay for basic treatments as well. A full-coverage dental insurance plan typically costs more per month but helps pay for major services that might otherwise cost thousands. Here are some examples of the different categories of services that may be covered – but every plan is different, so look at the Plan Summary for specifics. 

Preventive care

Checkups, cleanings, routine x-rays, and sometimes, fluoride treatments

Basic restorative care

Fillings, extractions, and other services

Major restorative care

More complex treatments such as root canals, as well as crowns, bridges and dentures

Orthodontic treatment

Braces and other types of teeth aligners  

What other costs are there besides the premium?

Good question! A plan quote only tells you the amount you have to pay every month to keep your coverage. But there can be other costs as well, even with a comprehensive plan.


The yearly amount you have to pay before dental insurance plans start to cover services


The percentage of costs you owe for services once you've met your deductible


Fees charged for specific services or treatments

Annual Maximums

A cap on what's covered; the most dental plans will pay for dental services in a given year - you are responsible for all charges over the annual maximum

Waiting Periods

Major procedures such as root canals usually have a waiting period (e.g., six or twelve months) before they are covered

Getting your money's worth from dental insurance

Preventive care helps keep your mouth healthy

Early detection to catch potential problems

Lowering your out-of-pocket expenses

In-network discounts

Most plans pay all or most of the charge for checkups – so there's no reason not to see your dentist for regular preventive dental services.

Regular visits to the dentist help keep teeth and gums healthy so that you can catch and fix a minor issue before it turns into a bigger, more expensive (and painful) dental health problem.

A dental crown can cost $2,000 or more. Some comprehensive plans can lower that to under $700. *


Insurance companies negotiate preferred rate with their PPO network dentists (the average Guardian discount is 36%**).

Dental care is important for your overall health

Dental insurance works with health insurance to help keep you healthier. Guardian studies1 – and a growing body of third-party research2 – show that maintaining good oral health can help avoid or better manage serious health-related issues:

  • Diabetes Periodontal infections contribute to problems with glycemic control, which compromises the health of diabetic patients.
  • Heart disease The inflammation associated with periodontal disease has a high potential to contribute to coronary artery disease. Good oral health can lower that risk.
  • Pregnancy Studies have indicated that mothers with high levels of certain oral bacteria were found to have children with similarly high levels of bacteria, along with a higher risk of tooth decay.
  • Self-esteem Research shows that healthy teeth and gums are important to individual self-esteem and how people feel about themselves.

Did you know?

Guardian also provides dental health member guidance for Maintaining oral health during Covid-19 and beyond.

Frequently asked questions about dental insurance quotes

Who has the best dental insurance?

Different dental insurance plans offer various combinations of benefits, features, and coverage options. But generally speaking, the best dental insurance for an individual or family is the plan that lets them see a dentist they like and offers coverage for the treatments they're likely to need, at a price that fits their budget. 

Can you buy dental insurance on your own?

Yes, absolutely. If coverage isn't available through your employer, you can find an affordable dental insurance plan. Major insurance companies like Guardian make it easy for individuals and families to compare quotes and buy a plan directly online

Is there any dental insurance that covers everything?

We are not aware of any dental insurance plan that pays 100% of every dental care expense.

How much does comprehensive dental insurance cost?

There are many dental plan options available. Monthly insurance coverage starts at around $15/month per person for some Dental HMO plans. It can go up to $50/month or more for a Dental PPO plan, depending on your age, the state you live in, the insurance company, coverage benefits, and other factors.

Is a dental discount plan better than dental insurance?

One of the most important advantages of having dental coverage is that preventive checkups are usually covered at 100%. That encourages people to get regular dental care, which helps catch minor issues before they become major issues. Dental discount plans don't eliminate the cost of checkups, cleanings, routine x-rays, and the like, which may discourage some people from getting regular dental care.

Are you a dental professional? Find out how to join Guardian's growing network of dentists.

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* Here's how we calculated: We'll assume you have a PPO dental plan that covers major procedures at 50%, you're past the waiting period, and your dentist's customary fee for the treatment is $2,000. With a 35% in-network discount, the fee goes down to $1,300. After paying your $50 deductible, the insurance company pays half of the remaining $1,250 charge, and you owe the other half ($625). You save $1,325, and your total out-of-pocket expense is $675. 

** 35% saving off standard dental insurance rates with an in-network dentist.


"Stay in Good Company" Guardian Dental Health eBook

2 "Systemic manifestations of oral diseases," www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3329699/

DentalGuard Insurance is underwritten and issued by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY.  Products are not available in all states.  Policy limitations and exclusions apply.  Optional riders and/or features may incur additional costs.  Plan documents are the final arbiter of coverage.  This policy provides DENTAL insurance only. 

Policy Form #GP-1-DG2000, et al.

Policy Form # GP-1-DEN-16

Exclusions & Limitations:

Important Information about Guardian's DentalGuard Indemnity and DentalGuard Preferred PPO Plans:  This policy provides dental insurance only.  Coverage is limited to those charges that are necessary to prevent, diagnose or treat dental disease, defect, or injury.  Deductibles apply.  Waiting periods may also apply for some services.  The plan does not pay for: oral hygiene services (except as covered under preventive services), orthodontia (unless expressly provided for), cosmetic or experimental treatments, any treatment to the extent benefits are payable by any other payor or for which no charge is made, prosthetic devices unless certain conditions are met, and services ancillary to surgical treatment.  The plan limits benefits for diagnostic consultations and for preventive, restorative, endodontic, periodontic and prosthodontic services.  The services, exclusions, and limitations listed above do not constitute a contract and are a summary only.  The Guardian plan documents are the final arbiter of coverage. 

Guardian Direct plans are underwritten and issued by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America or its subsidiaries, New York, NY. Products are not available in all states. Policy limitations and exclusions apply. In the event of a conflict between this document and the language stated in your Guardian insurance policy, the language of the policy shall control.


This advertising content is not currently intended for anyone in the state of New Mexico.

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