Best Dental Insurance in Texas

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Contributor, Benzinga
March 22, 2022

Jump straight to it: The best way to get dental insurance in Texas is with

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) established a number of essential benefits that health insurance providers need to offer to policyholders. The ACA does require that health insurance companies provide dental benefits to dependents, but dental benefits aren’t considered an essential benefit for adults. This means that the majority of health insurance plans don’t cover dental treatments or maintenance for adults.

Most adults get their dental insurance or benefits through their employer — but it’s also possible to buy an independent plan. Unlike ACA-compliant plans, dental insurance plans in Texas are offered by private companies and are less controlled than ACA plans. This means that you’ll need to carefully consider the costs and benefits of each plan before you enroll to make sure you have coverage for dentists, specialists and treatments you need.

We’ll help you learn more about dental insurance take a look at some affordable dental insurance plans in the Lone Star State. 

Quick Look: The Best Dental Insurance in Texas:

Best Dental Insurance in Texas

Let’s take a look at some of the best dental insurance providers in Texas.  

1. Best Overall: UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare offers affordable and comprehensive dental insurance plans for individuals and families. Deductibles start at just $50 and many of United’s plans include retainers. Its network of dental professionals is extensive and encompasses over 85,000 dental offices across the U.S.

This means that you’ll get the financial benefits of a DHMO without endlessly searching for a dentist who accepts your insurance. United offers a number of tiered insurance plans and premiums start at about $80 a month. This might be a bit more expensive than other plan providers but its exhaustive list of covered services may make the extra cost worth it.  

2. Cheapest Dental Insurance in Texas: Physicians Mutual

Physicians Mutual should be your first stop if you’re looking for the most affordable dental insurance in Texas. Its generous PPO dental insurance packages have no deductible and plans are available for as little as $25 a month if you’re under the age of 50.

Physicians Mutual’s plans cover 350 of the most common dental procedures, which range from routine exams to tooth extractions and crowns. Its plans also have no lifetime or annual maximum coverage amounts, which means you have the opportunity to save more.

Major care has a waiting period of 12 months but this may be worth the financial benefits if you don’t think you’ll need a lot of urgent procedures. 

3. Best for Easy Quotes: Guardian Direct

Need dental coverage fast? Guardian Direct offers a simple and intuitive quote process that allows you to quickly compare your coverage options in as little as 30 seconds.

Just visit its site, enter your zip code and you’ll see 4 coverage options laid out in front of you along with price points and details on what’s covered.

DHMO plans are available for as little as $10 a month and its most affordable basic plans also have no waiting periods.

You’ll need a more expensive plan to get coverage beyond preventive care — but Guardian Direct allows you to see full plan choices without waiting days for a representative to contact you or entering any sensitive personal information. 

4. Best for Convenient Customer Service: Cigna

Cigna might be the right dental insurance provider for you if you’re after excellent customer service.

Cigna is one of the only companies to offer 24/7 customer service, which can be a crucial asset if you have a dental emergency and need to find an in-network dentist.

Cigna also offers plans with $0 preventive care and plans start at just $35 a month. Over 15 million customers have already chosen Cigna, so it’s the largest dental insurance provider in Texas.

What is Dental Insurance? 

Dental insurance is a type of protection that helps offset the cost of dental care and procedures and incentivize you to keep your smile healthy. Dental insurance covers oral health care, which ranges from treatments for gum disease to root canals.

Most dental insurance plans cover a percentage of your bill after you meet your annual deductible. Your deductible is the amount of money you need to spend on your dental care before your insurance kicks in and starts covering your care. For example, let’s say your deductible is $200 and your cleaning costs are $180 — in this case, you’ll pay for your entire treatment. Most plans specify that the deductible resets annually.

Your insurance will cover a percentage of your care after you meet your deductible. The specific percentage that your insurance covers depends on the procedure and your benefits schedule.

The percentage of your treatment that you must pay is called a copay. Imagine that your insurance plan specifies that you have a 20% copay for root canals. Let’s say you’ve met your deductible and your root canal costs $1,000. You’ve met your deductible, you’ll pay $200 for your root canal treatment and your insurance will cover the remaining $800. Most dental plans do not have out-of-pocket maximums like health insurance plans do.

Your dental insurance plan might also have a yearly maximum. Your yearly maximum is the total amount of coverage that your insurance provider will provide each year. In other words, you’ll be responsible for the costs of your care if your expenses go over your yearly maximum.

The maximums on these plans are often quite low — about half of dental plans have yearly maximums of $1,500 or less. This makes it especially important to compare your coverage options and your dental insurance costs to make sure that your plan makes financial sense. 

Average Cost of Dental Insurance in Texas

Dental insurance premiums in Texas are similar to premiums throughout the country. The average private dental insurance plan costs about $366 per year. Family plans usually cost around $680 per year.  

Types of Dental Coverage

There are 3 main types of dental insurance and benefits plans: 

  • Preferred provider organization (PPO): PPO plans provide you with a list of in-network dentists who accept your insurance. You also have the option of seeing an out-of-network dentist, but your expenses will be higher. PPOs are ideal if you already have a dentist you enjoy seeing.
  • Dental health maintenance organization (DHMO): DHMO plans have a set list of dentists who accept your insurance. Like a health insurance HMO, you aren’t allowed to see doctors out of your network. However, DHMOs are often more affordable than PPO plans.
  • Referral or discount plans: A referral or discount plan is an agreement with a dentist or group of dentists to get a lower price on the dental services and treatments you need. A discount plan is not a form of insurance and it doesn’t pay for any of your treatments. Instead, it simply lowers the price you pay out of pocket. These plans often come at no cost to you but they’re also exceptionally limited. 

What Does Dental Insurance Cover?

Seventy-seven percent of people have some form of dental insurance or benefits, according to the National Association of Dental Plans. But what is and isn’t covered?

Most people have a “100-80-50” benefits schedule. This means that your plan will likely cover:

  • 100% of preventive care: Preventive care includes routine and regular care that helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Exams, X-rays and annual or biannual cleanings are almost always 100% covered under most dental insurance plans.
  • 80% of basic procedures: Basic procedures are common oral treatments. Extractions, fillings, root canals and treatments for gum disease are all usually considered basic procedures. Most plans cover 80% of the expenses of basic procedures.
  • 50% of major procedures: Major procedures are intensive and rare dental treatments. Bridges, inlays and dentures are all usually considered major treatments. our insurance will cover 50% of the cost of any major procedures you need if you have a 100-80-50 benefits schedule.

Keep in mind that the 100-80-50 schedule is only the most common type of benefits schedule. Every policy differs in how it groups dental treatments. Some plans consider root canals to be a basic procedure and others classify them as a major procedure. The classification of your dental procedures has a significant impact on how much you’ll pay for treatment, so it’s important that you compare benefits schedules before you choose a plan. 

What Does Dental Insurance Not Cover? 

There are a few things that your dental insurance plan might not cover.

  • Cosmetic procedures: Purely cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening are usually not covered by dental insurance. Some dental insurance plans even consider crowns and dental implants to be cosmetic.
  • Orthodontic work: Many dental insurance plans don’t cover orthodontic work, including braces and retainers.
  • Preexisting conditions: Unlike ACA-compliant health insurance plans, dental insurance providers don’t need to offer coverage for preexisting conditions. Your dental insurance provider may refuse or limit treatment for chronic oral issues you have when you sign up for your plan.
  • Treatments during your plan’s waiting period: Most private dental insurance plans have a waiting period that you need to see through before you can use your benefits. Your insurance usually won’t cover any type of treatment or procedure during your waiting period. Routine care like cleanings and X-rays may or may not be covered, depending on your provider.

It’s important to remember that dental insurance plans have much more freedom to control their own coverage than ACA-compliant health insurance plans. Don’t assume that a particular treatment or procedure is covered under any plan unless it’s specifically laid out in the plan’s terms. 

Smiles are Bigger in Texas

It’s possible to protect both your teeth and your wallet with an affordable dental insurance plan. Don’t be afraid to take some time and compare plans, costs and benefits before you choose a provider. Be particularly aware of waiting periods and yearly maximums — especially if you have a chronic dental condition or you need urgent dental care. 

Frequently Asked Questions


How does dental insurance work?


Dental insurance works like any other health insurance plan. You accept treatment from a provider, potentially make a copayment and your provider will file claims on your behalf.


Does dental insurance cover basic care?


Dental insurance generally overs basic care like cleanings even 6 months, fluoride, x-rays, and fillings. Dental coverage generally also covers emergency care, etc.

Dental Insurance Methodology

To determine the best dental insurance providers, we pored through all United States carriers. We winnowed the list by only including companies that have a wide coverage area and product offering. To further break down the list to the true best dental insurance providers, we gave weight to carriers that offer discounts, are available in all states and have multiple payment plan options.

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