Which Dental Insurance is Right for You?

Keeping your teeth and mouth healthy is not an easy task. Optimal dental health requires an investment of time and energy — for example, you must brush for the dentist-recommended two minutes for twice a day, control the amount of teeth-harming food and drinks you consume, and select the right toothbrush and toothpaste for cleaning your mouth. Additionally, you must invest money as well. It is no secret that dental procedures, such as root canals and wisdom teeth removal, can result in large bills that can seriously harm your bank account.

Thankfully, dental insurance has you covered (literally)! At its core, dental insurance is a contract between you, your dentist, and an insurance company. In return for a yearly premium (and deductible, depending on your policy), the company agrees to pay a percentage of the fees charged by your dentist. Many people use insurance, as the yearly premiums and deductibles amount to far less than having to pay 100% of all dental costs.

Dental insurance generally comes in three types: Indemnity, Dental Health Maintenance Organization, and Participating Provider Network. Read on to find out which type of dental insurance is the best for you.



Indemnity insurance is the most basic type of the three. Some dentists do not participate in insurance networks. In this case, an indemnity plan may be the best for you.

  • Pros
    • Typically, a large percentage of dental fees are covered by the company.
    • You possess the freedom to choose any dentist of your liking, even one that is not apart of an insurance network.
  • Cons
    • You must deal with waiting periods. This means after a dental procedure, you must pay the full cost out of your pocket and then file a claim with your insurance provider to receive compensation, a process which may take some time.
    • You may have to pay a deductible, a set cost you must pay before you can file a claim.
    • Some indemnity plans have “caps” or “maximums” as to how much compensation they will give out in a single year. Be sure to review your policy.


Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO)

DHMO insurance, often called “managed plans”, allow you to select a pre-approved dentist within the company’s network.

  • Pros
    • Because you are using a dentist in the company’s network, general dental work has little to no cost.
    • Most DHMO plans do not come with deductibles, “maximums”, or waiting periods.
    • This type of plan is often the cheapest of the three types.
    • Your dentist can refer you to specialists, who may perform work at reduced rates
  • Cons
    • Only the work and procedure specifically outlined in the policy is covered. Be sure to review this.
    • You do not have as much freedom in choosing a dentist as compared to indemnity plans.

Paid Provider Organization (PPO)

PPO plans operate similar to a DHMO, but you are able to select a dentist of your choosing, even if he or she is not apart of the insurance network.

  • Pros
    • You have the option to select any dentist, in-network or out-of-network.
    • Even if you use up your yearly maximum, many PPO plans still allow you access to reduced rates.
    • Networked dentists offer lower rates.
  • Cons
    • Many PPO plans come with yearly maximums; once exhausted, any additional costs will be your responsibility.
    • You will likely have to pay more for out-of-network dentists.
    • Like DHMO plans, coverage is limited to what is spelled out in the policy.


Still not sure what dental insurance is right for you? Feel free to contact your friends at Greenspoint Dental. We will give you all the information you need to finance your next visit. Contact our Houston offices today!