• What is Full Coverage Dental Insurance?



    Editor's Note: This article last updated September 21, 2015.

    Because dental procedures are so expensive, full coverage dental insurance is something that many individuals utilize. It saves you money on both common and involved procedures – from a routine cleaning to a root canal. Full coverage dental insurance differs depending upon the company and the plan you choose. However, many aspects are the same.

    What is Dental Insurance?

    Dental insurance is just like health insurance, in that you choose a company and a plan. Most plans offer a certain amount of coverage per year, and in order to receive the coverage, you pay a monthly premium. When you need a dental procedure done, you refer to your policy to determine what is covered and how much you’ll expect to pay for that particular procedure.

    What Kinds of Procedures are Covered with Full Coverage Dental Insurance?

    The types of procedures that are covered and the cost for each will differ depending upon the dental insurance company you choose. For instance, with one company, you might expect to pay half the normal costs of most procedures while with another, you may end up paying a third of the cost. The prices and procedures will also differ with each plan available from a particular company. Most companies offer the same types of coverage, including:

    Basic coverage – With basic coverage, you’d receive a certain number of cleanings and check-ups per year. You might expect to pay a percentage of what those check-ups and cleanings would typically cost you, depending upon the plan you’ve chosen. This kind of dental care is considered preventative, keeping you from experiencing serious dental issues that would require more involved procedures and cost more money.

    Minor Dental Care – This typically covers very minor procedures that are fairly common. For instance, having a tooth filled is a very common procedure. Many people have experienced cavities and although not everyone will need fillings, many will. Your insurance company may partially cover the cost of fillings and other common procedures that are more involved than a simple cleaning or check-up.

    Major Dental Care – Procedures like root canals, tooth extractions, denture fittings, and surgery are considered major dental care. Most full coverage policies will cover a very small portion of these procedures. Even with a small portion being covered, it can be a serious help, since these procedures are typically extremely expensive.


    It’s important to know what dental procedures you’re in need of before purchasing a plan so you can get the appropriate coverage. In addition, you should check to determine whether having a pre-existing condition (such as gingivitis or something similar) would prevent you from being able to use your dental insurance for procedures associated with that condition. This could potentially end up causing you to have to pay the full amount of the procedure you have done, even with the new insurance. 

    By understanding full coverage dental insurance and the areas of coverage, you can better select a plan that suits you and your dental needs. Using the above information, determine your own level of needs and the kind of insurance you’ll have to get. Once you have a good idea of what general type of insurance you need, our reviews of dental insurance providers will help you choose the right company.

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