Dental Health Info Article

How Much is Dental Insurance?

When choosing your dental insurance plan, the first thing you’re likely to consider is how much it costs. After all, maintaining your teeth can be expensive, and the whole point of dental insurance is to save money. There’s no exact price when it comes to dental insurance, mainly due to how many variables there are to consider. However, by looking at average dental insurance costs, you can work out how much you ought to be paying for your dental insurance. 

Monthly premiums

Premiums are the amount that you pay every month towards your insurance. Obviously, they can vary considerably depending upon which plan you pick, with more comprehensive options costing more. So, how much can you expect to pay every month? According to, the average American pays around $360 per year in premiums, or between $15 and $50 each month. Of course, premiums are also affected by which type of dental insurance you have. According to the NADP:

  • The average cost of a DHMO is $18.59 a month, or $223.06 annually.

  • The average cost of a PPO is $32.12 a month, or $285.44 annually.

  • The average cost of an Indemnity plan is $24.00 a month, or $288.00 annually.


Deductibles (for PPO plans) are the amount of money that you must pay before your dental insurance kicks in. If the amount you need to pay is less than the monthly premium, you’ll have to pay for the entire treatment yourself. For example, if you have a monthly premium of $50, but the cost of a procedure is $40, you’ll have to pay the entire $40 yourself. By and large, you should be aiming to enroll in a plan with a low deductible in order to keep your costs down. So, how much should you expect to pay in deductibles? Generally speaking, a deductible is around $50.

Annual maximums

Most dental plans have an annual maximum. This is the maximum amount of money that the plan will pay towards your dental costs in a year. Once you reach the maximum, you’ll have to pay the rest of your dental costs out-of-pocket, without further help from your insurance provider. The more you pay for your plan, the higher your annual maximum. You can reach your annual maximum very quickly with just one major procedure, so selecting a plan with a high annual maximum is a good bet. Annual maximums vary from plan to plan, but normally, they’ll lie somewhere between $500 and $1,500.


After the deductible kicks in, you’ll pay what’s called a co-payment, which is your share of the cost. Depending on what the procedure is, you can pay anything from 0% of the bill to 50% of the bill. So, how much will individual procedures end up costing you?

  • Preventive – Virtually all preventative and diagnostic treatments are 100% covered by dental insurance plans, meaning that you’ll pay $0 towards them. These treatments include cleanings (although there’s usually a cap on how many you can have in one year), x-rays and routine exams.

  • Basic – 80% of the cost of basic procedures tend to be covered by dental insurance plans, so you’ll generally pay between 20% and 30% of the fee, after the deductible.

  • Major – Around 50% of the cost of major procedures are covered by dental insurance, and you’ll pay the other half.

Remember, you need to stay in-network to enjoy the benefits of dental insurance. Assuming you’re on a PPO plan, you’ll still receive coverage if you go to a dentist who isn’t in the network, however, the savings won’t be nearly as much, and you’ll end up paying much higher fees.

How much does dental work cost if you’re uninsured? 

The cost of out-of-pocket dental care can vary substantially, depending on where you live. For example, if you’re based in a rural area, you may be charged less for a dental procedure than people who are based in an urban area with a high cost of living. Here’s what you can expect to pay for dental treatment without insurance, according to data from

  • Check-ups – A dental check-up costs an average of $288, a figure that covers cleanings, x-rays, and routine exams.

  • Root canals – You can expect to pay around $120 for one exposed root removal procedure, or $185 for one residual tooth root removal procedure. 

  • Extractions – On average, extractions cost $75-$300 for non-surgical, gum-erupted tooth extractions, $150-$650 for surgical extractions with the use of anesthesia, and $185-$600 for complicated surgical extractions. 

  • Fillings – Filling treatments cost around $50-$150 for one amalgam filling, $90-$250 for one composite filling, and $250-$4,500 for one gold/porcelain filling.

  • Crowns – Depending on the materials your crown is made from, you can expect to pay around $328 for a resin crown, $776 for a metal crown, and $821 for a porcelain crown.

Are there any ways to reduce your dental treatment costs? 

Although you shouldn’t skimp on your dental care in an effort to save money, as you’ll probably just end up spending more in the long run, there are a couple of different tactics you can use to cut back on your dental insurance costs:

  • Take excellent care of your teeth. It sounds obvious, but if you maintain a good brushing and flossing regime, you’ll prevent tooth decay and cavities and reduce the need to receive dental treatment in the first place. 

  • Space out your check-ups. Although it’s always been recommended that you see your dentist at least once every six months, this may not be necessary if your oral health is in good shape. Visiting your dentist once a year can be sufficient, and help you cut back on costs in the process. 

  • Don’t act too fast on wisdom teeth. Having your wisdom teeth extracted can be a major cost, but it’s not always necessary. In fact, many wisdom teeth are extracted as a preemptive measure, not because they’re actually causing issues. But most public health experts claim that extracting healthy teeth is not the right move. 


So, how much is dental insurance? As we’ve seen, it can vary considerably from plan to plan. If you want comprehensive coverage, you’re probably going to have to pay slightly more. However, for the added peace of mind and flexibility of your plan, it’s probably worth doing so.

Want to find the perfect dentist for your insurance plan? Call 1-800-DENTIST today and book your next appointment!