Best Kids Dental Insurance

Contributor, Benzinga

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Need to get your child to the dentist for a toothache that just won’t quit? You might not have dental insurance through your employer — and it may be more affordable to purchase a children’s dental plan.

It’s important to find a plan that works best for you and your family. This guide walks you through the types of coverage available and the cost of kids dental insurance. Here are Benzinga’s recommendations for the best dental insurance companies for your kids.

Quick Look: Best Kids Dental Insurance

The Best Dental Insurance for Kids

Many dental insurance providers don’t offer plans specifically designed for children. However, some individual plans give your child coverage benefits as a dependent. Family dental insurance plans are also an option to cover both you and your child.

1. Humana

Humana dental plans increase your coverage over time. Both the coverage limit and percentage paid by the plan increase each year up to a certain limit.

A Humana plan could be a great option to enroll your children when they are young. As they age and need more dental services, your insurance plan will have higher limits. 

Best For
Humana Pharmacy
N/A
1 Minute Review

As one of the largest and most popular dental insurance providers in the United States, Humana offers customers a wide network of dentists, with approximately 270,000 current dental care providers. Humana dental insurance lets you save money on costs without traveling far for care. Rates for basic plans are low and include 100% coverage for preventive services. Humana can help you get the most out of your money for dental benefits. 

Best For
  • Families
  • Early retirees
  • Entrepreneurs
Pros
  • Preventive care at 100% coverage
  • Can be used with more than 270,000 dentists nationwide
Cons
  • Annual maximum benefits as low as $1,000
  • Can be used with more than 270,000 dentists nationwide

2. Guardian Dental

The dental plans from Guardian help you protect your child’s teeth with affordable plan options. Guardian also has one of the largest networks of dentists across the country. Access to an in-network dentist could save you a lot of money, depending on your provider.

You’ll likely save on the cost to visit an in-network provider with so many dentists available.

get started Call Now securely through Guardian Dental’s website
Best For
Young adults and families with children and teens
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1 Minute Review

Guardian provides comprehensive dental insurance you can buy independently or through your employer. It covers basic and preventive care, as well as more advanced services like root canals, crowns, bridges and dentures. 

Guardian has an extensive network of more than 120,000 providers. It offers a range of plans so you can choose a plan that fits your budget and your dental needs. Guardian’s plans start at just over $8 per month. 

The plans that Guardian sells directly are PPOs, which means you can see dentists outside the network, but you’ll pay more than if you see an in-network dentist. Guardian also offers HMOs through employers. HMOs may not pay if you see an out-of-network dentist. 

Guardian also offers teledentistry, so you can consult with a dentist from home if you’re experiencing issues. 

While everyone should consider dental insurance, Guardian’s affordable plans are especially good for young adults who might have a limited budget and limited dental care needs. Guardian also offers plans with orthodontic care (braces) and regular, preventive service for families. 

Best For
  • Families with children and teens
  • Young adults
Pros
  • Teledentistry
  • Range of plan options
  • Affordable basic plan
Cons
  • Mobile app has limited functionality

3. Delta Dental

Delta Dental has developed plans to meet almost any insurance need — it’s one of the largest dental insurance providers in the country. Delta Dental is one of the few providers that offers child-only dental plans.

You’ll need to check with Delta to determine if a child-only plan is available in your state. You could potentially save hundreds on the cost of a dental plan in states where child-only coverage exists. Child-only plans tend to cost less than family plans or individual dental plans.

Best For
Cleaning + exams
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1 Minute Review

Delta Dental is a dental insurance company with over 80 million members and a network of nearly 339,000 dentists nationwide. As the largest dental insurer in the U.S., Delta Dental offers coverage for individuals and families and small businesses and retirees. With over 60 years of experience, Delta Dental offers some of America’s best dental insurance plans.

Best For
  • Orthodontic procedures
  • Cleaning and exams
Pros
  • Nationwide coverage available
  • Multiple dental insurance options
  • Price matches discount providers
  • No waiting period for preventative treatments
Cons
  • Availability varies by state

4. MetLife

MetLife family plans are more affordable than other options. The real savings, however, comes from a low family deductible. The deductible for a family dental plan from MetLife is only $150 a year.

That means you’ll be required to pay up to $150 for dental services for each of your family members. Once the deductible is met, your out-of-pocket costs will be much lower.

get started securely through Metlife’s website
Best For
Save up to 45% on fees
N/A
1 Minute Review

Choose from PPO, HMO/Managed Care and MetLife TakeAlong Dental plans with MetLife. MetLife offers a broad range of both providers and covered expenses as well as a handy mobile app. Get a quote today.

Best For
  • Flexibility to see any dentist
Pros
  • Extensive provider network
  • Cost savings
  • No network restrictions
Cons
  • Saving depend on several factors like cost of plan and frequency of use

5. UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare also offers a range of dental plans and it’s known mostly for health insurance. One option for dental coverage through UnitedHealthcare is to choose a children’s health insurance plan with dental coverage.

Children’s health plans must offer dental coverage, so this could be a good way to get a child-only dental plan.

get started Call Now securely through UnitedHealthCare’s website

Kids Dental Insurance: An Overview

Just like adults, children need to follow a regular routine of brushing, flossing and caring for their teeth and gums. Sometimes even regular brushing isn’t enough to keep teeth clean and free of food debris.

Leftover food particles can lead to bacteria growth, which increases your child’s chance of tooth decay or cavities. Cavities are damaged areas on the surface of the tooth. If these damaged areas are left untreated, cavities can form into holes in the tooth. About 20% of children ages 5 to 11 have 1 or more untreated, decayed teeth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dental insurance plans help cover the cost of expensive dental treatments. Some dental insurance companies offer dental plans specifically for children. Many plans provide regular cleaning services and dental checkups at no extra charge.

The Affordable Care Act made children’s dental services essential coverage for children under 18. This means any health insurance plan that covers children must also offer dental benefits. Dental coverage for children can be a part of the health insurance plan or can also be a standalone plan.

Types of Coverage Offered

Dental coverage for children varies greatly from plan to plan. Your state and your insurance provider also play a large role in coverage options.

Most dental plans for children include 100% coverage for:

  • Regular checkups once or twice a year
  • A limited number of teeth cleaning services per year
  • Preventive care to help reduce your child’s chance of developing tooth decay

Plans that provide 100% coverage for these services mean you won’t pay out of pocket for the covered service. For example, your child’s dental plan may state that they are covered for up to 2 dental cleanings per year. Your child can have his or her teeth cleaned at the dentist 2 times a year at no cost to you.

Other coverage for children’s dental insurance plans often include:

  • Fluoride treatments to help delay the development of tooth decay
  • Tooth fillings to treat cavities that form
  • Orthodontics, such as braces, to help straighten your child’s teeth

There are many options when you look for a children’s dental plan. Some companies don’t offer child-specific plans but provide coverage for pediatric dentistry within a family dental plan. It’s important that you read your policy carefully to see what children’s dental procedures are covered.

Average Cost of Dental Insurance for Kids

Cost is likely a major factor for you when you purchase dental insurance for your children. The average cost of dental insurance for an individual adult is $350 per year. Children’s dental plans are generally less expensive on average.

You can also get dental coverage for you and your children through a family dental plan. A family plan could cost between $850–$1,000 per year for a family of 4. Like individual plans, the cost will vary greatly depending on the amount of coverage you choose.

You’ll need to get quotes from several companies to find the most affordable dental insurance for your child. It’s important to remember that only some insurance companies offer dental plans specifically for children. It’s much more common for providers to cover children’s dentistry as part of a family plan.

CompanyStarting CostOverall Rating (out of 5)
Delta Dental $16/month4.8
Guardian Dental $20/month4.5
Humana $40/month3.5
UnitedHealthcare $21/month4.5
MetLife $32/month4

How to Get Covered Quick

Most dental insurance plans require you to undergo a waiting period before you can begin using the service and before you’re eligible for full insurance benefits.

Different plans offer different waiting periods. For example, you may be able to purchase a dental insurance plan for your child with no waiting period. This means you can go to the dentist right away once the policy is in place.

On the other hand, a waiting period of up to 6 months is common. In this case, you must wait 6 months from the time you took out the policy for your child. You can take your child to the dentist and receive insurance benefits once the 6-month waiting period is up.

A more expensive plan has a shorter waiting period than a less expensive plan, but some dental insurance companies waive the waiting period for preventive services and teeth cleaning.

More Expensive Plan vs. Out of Pocket Dental Expenses

Consider a more expensive plan with no waiting period if your child needs to get dental treatment quickly. Look at the services your child needs and the cost of the treatments. Compare the out-of-pocket costs of treatment with potential dental insurance plans.

Treatments that cost more than the annual premium of an insurance plan for your child may make a more expensive plan worth it. For example, your child may need a procedure that costs $500. You find a children’s dental plan for $350 per year, with no waiting period, that would cover up to $450 of the service. Your out-of-pocket cost would be $350 for the plan and $50 for the service, or $400. This is less than the full cost of treatment.

What to Look for in a Dental Insurance Company

Dental insurance for your children requires you to thoroughly research plan options from a number of providers. You need to carefully consider several factors as you look at providers. Ask yourself these questions to find the right insurance company for your child:

  • What is the monthly or annual premium for coverage?
  • How much of each treatment do I have to cover out of pocket?
  • Are there annual limits on benefits, such as up to $1,000 of services per year?
  • Is this plan available in my state or local area?
  • Is the insurance company financially stable enough to pay any claims I might have?
  • Does the company provide child-specific dental plans?
  • Is there a plan that covers the treatments my child may need?

It can be easy to only look at the monthly or yearly cost of a plan but you should also consider the other costs associated with the plan. Many dental insurance plans have a deductible. A deductible is an amount you are required to pay out of pocket before insurance benefits start.

For example, a dental plan may have a $50 deductible per person. You would be responsible for the first $50 of any treatments your child needs.

Along with the cost of the plan, you’ll want to feel confident with the company that issues the plan. Be sure to research multiple providers and consider:

  • Length of time the company’s been in business
  • The mission and values of the company
  • 3rd-party reviews from actual customers
  • Customer service
  • Accessibility of online accounts, smartphone apps and 24/7 customer lines

Find Dental Insurance for Your Child

Protecting your child’s teeth with a dental insurance plan is a great option to reduce the cost of dental services. Get the coverage you need at a price that fits your budget — research quotes from top dental insurance providers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

How does dental insurance work?

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How does dental insurance work?
asked
A
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When you use dental insurance, you submit your information to the provider, they may require a copay and you will be billed for anything your insurance doesn’t cover.

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Q

Is dental coverage part of health insurance?

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Is dental coverage part of health insurance?
asked
A
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At times, health insurance bundles policies with dental insurance. However, most dental insurance is sold as a separate policy.

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Q

What kinds of dental insurance are available?

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What kinds of dental insurance are available?
asked
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Dental insurance plans range from PPOs to HMOs and dental discount plans. Review the available coverage during your open-enrollment period.

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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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