Best Cheap Tennessee (TN) Dental Insurance

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Contributor, Benzinga
November 1, 2019

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Quick Look: The Best Dental Insurance in Tennessee

Want to find the best dental insurance in Tennessee? Whether you’re by the Mississippi, Smoky Mountains or living in Music City, we’ll help you find the right dental plan for you.

We looked at a variety of factors to pick out the best dental insurance companies. Take a look at our top picks for the best dental insurance Tennessee has to offer.

Best Dental Insurance Providers in Tennessee

To find the best dental insurance in Tennessee, you need to know your budget and coverage needs. Before you start to shop for insurance, sit down and consider your needs. Decide on a budget for your insurance as well as what dental services you’d like covered.

Take your insurance needs list and compare it to our top picks for dental insurance companies in Tennessee to help you find the best dental plan.

1. MetLife: Best Overall

MetLife is best known for life insurance and retirement accounts, but it also offers dental plans. It has group plans for businesses and take-along plans for individuals.

These plans come in a low, medium and high option for coverage and cost. The MetLife PPO High plan provides one of the best dental plans available. The plan has an annual maximum of $2,000 and only a $25 deductible.

2. Humana: Cheapest Dental Insurance in TN

Humana is a large insurance provider and is often one of the most affordable options for dental insurance. In Tennessee, Humana offers a DHMO plan for only $10.29 per month.

As a DHMO plan, there are no waiting periods and no deductibles. There’s also no annual maximum and no copayment for biannual x-rays, teeth cleanings and topical fluoride treatments.

3. UnitedHealthcare: Best for Plan Choices

As one of the largest health insurance providers in the country, it’s no surprise UnitedHealth offers several dental insurance plans.

Choose from 10 different affordable plans to find one that’s right for you. Prices range from around $16–$40 per month. Plan choices include basic coverage or more extensive coverage and higher annual maximums.

4. Nationwide: Best for High Annual Maximums

Like UnitedHealth, Nationwide is a large insurance provider. The dental insurance plans from Nationwide give you some of the best choices for high annual maximums in Tennessee.

Two Nationwide plans have annual maximums of $2,000. Most plans only offer between $1,000–$1,500 in annual benefits. A Nationwide plan is ideal if you need expensive dental procedures in the near future.

5. Ameritas: Best for Dental and Vision Benefits

A lot of dental insurance providers offer vision benefits as add-on coverage. Ameritas is one of the few that include vision benefits in dental plans. The vision benefits include $100 toward any covered eyecare expenses. You also get the benefit of increasing annual maximums. You can roll over part of your unused maximum benefit at the end of each year, up to a certain limit.

Types of Dental Coverage

Dental insurance generally comes in 2 varieties:

  • Dental Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
  • Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO)

Before we take a close look at the types of dental coverage, consider these important dental insurance terms to know:

  • Premium: The cost of your dental insurance. Premiums are usually paid monthly or annually.
  • Dental network: A group of dentists and oral health facilities who contract with an insurance provider. A visit to an in-network dentist usually costs less than a visit to an out-of-network dentist.
  • Deductible: The amount of money you must pay before your insurance benefits start. Deductibles can be charged per visit, per year or per lifetime. A per visit deductible is charged each time you visit the dentist. Annual deductibles must be met once a year. Lifetime deductibles must be met only once the entire time you’re enrolled in the plan. Most deductibles are annual.
  • Waiting period: The length of time you must have the plan active before you can use the benefits. Waiting periods are usually 6–12 months, depending on the cost of the procedure.
  • Annual maximum: This is the total dollar amount a plan pays in dental benefits per year. Once you reach this maximum, you have to pay out of pocket for dental treatments. For example, your annual maximum is $1,500. You have a dental procedure that costs $2,000. Your plan pays for up to $1,500 of the service and you must cover the remainder.
  • Coinsurance: Coinsurance is the amount of a procedure your insurance covers as a percentage. Your plan pays 80% of a service, for example, and you cover the remaining 20%.
  • Copayment: Like coinsurance, a copayment is the amount of a dental service you must cover. Copays are fixed dollar amounts for each service. Your plan covers $80 of a $100 service, for example, and you pay the final $20.

Dental Preferred Provider Organization

A PPO plan uses a dental network to offer you discounted prices on dental treatments. When you visit an in-network provider, you pay a coinsurance based on your plan. You still receive benefits if you go to an out-of-network dentist, but they are reduced.

For example, your plan may pay 80% for a service at an in-network dentist. At an out-of-network dentist, the plan pays only 50%.

PPO plans have deductibles and waiting periods that you must meet before you can use your insurance benefits. They also have annual maximums, which limit the dollar amount of benefits you can receive each year.


  • Visit any dentist
  • No need to declare a primary dentist
  • Don’t need a referral to visit a specialist


  • Waiting periods for more expensive services
  • Deductibles
  • Annual maximum benefits
  • Higher premium prices

Dental Health Maintenance Organization

Unlike PPO plans, DHMO plans don’t have deductibles or waiting periods. DHMO plans pay in-network dentists a set amount each month. The amount is based on the number of people enrolled in the plan. When you enroll, you choose a primary dentist or oral health facility.

Each time you visit the dentist, you must go to your primary dentist or receive a referral to visit a specialist. You’ll pay a fixed copay for services. Some DHMO plans have annual maximums while others do not.

If you choose to visit an out-of-network dentist, your dental treatments are unlikely to be covered. You pay for the entire cost of the service out of pocket.

DHMO pros:

  • Lower premiums
  • No deductibles or waiting periods
  • Fixed prices for services

DHMO cons:

  • No flexibility to visit other dentists
  • Need a referral to see a specialist

What Does Dental Insurance Cover?

Dental insurance plans in Tennessee vary by insurance company. Each specific plan covers different services and procedures. However, most average plans offer coverage for common procedures like:

  • Teeth cleanings
  • X-rays
  • Routine checkups
  • Fillings
  • Root canals
  • Crowns
  • Extractions
  • Oral surgery

Make sure you check what services are covered by a dental insurance plan. There are many options for basic coverage that only includes preventive care and basic procedures. These plans might cover teeth cleaning and fillings, but not root canals or crowns.

Know what services you might need to help you find the right dental insurance. If you never expect to get a root canal or major oral surgery, you might save money with a basic coverage plan. On the other hand, if you have a history of necessary dental work, a plan with extensive coverage could be a better choice.

What Does Dental Insurance Not Cover? 

Like the procedures dental insurance does cover, the services a dental plan doesn’t cover vary between plans. If you’re unsure if a plan does or doesn’t cover a certain procedure, always check the plan details or contact the insurance company for clarification.

Most dental insurance plans in Tennessee don’t cover:

  • Orthodontia
  • Cosmetic dentistry
  • Major preexisting conditions

Many plans cover minor preexisting conditions, such as small cavities. More serious conditions, however, are usually excluded. Ask the dental insurance company if your condition can receive dental benefits if you have a preexisting condition.

It’s important to be aware that you don’t have coverage of certain services during your waiting period. Most dental plans offer a 6-month waiting period for basic services and a 12-month period for more expensive procedures.

You have a waiting period of 6 months for basic services, for example, and are on month 3. You get a cavity and need a filling. In this case, you can’t use your dental benefits for another 3 months.

Average Cost of Dental Insurance in TN

The cost of dental insurance in Tennessee ranges from as little as about $10 per month to almost $70 per month. Most of the plans available are about $20–$35 per month. There are plenty of affordable dental insurance options to choose from.

The average cost of dental insurance in Tennessee is just under the national average. Most people pay about $350 per year, or about $29 per month, for an individual dental plan nationwide.

The monthly premium isn’t the only cost for dental insurance. You should also consider the cost of the deductible, annual maximum benefits and coinsurance costs as you choose a plan. The cheapest plan isn’t always the most affordable for your oral health situation.

Some dental insurance companies offer discounts on dental plans. You can contact the company to ask about discounts that may not be listed in plan brochures. Be sure to look for discounts such as:

  • Military and veteran discounts
  • Organization discounts
  • Bundle discounts to combine dental insurance with other services, such as vision insurance
  • Cash discounts, which are quite common among medical providers

What to Look for in a Dental Provider

The cost and coverage level of a dental plan are often the most important factors to consider to choose the right plan. In addition to cost and coverage, you should consider the dental insurance provider before you pick a plan.

You may never have an issue with your dental insurance company. However, if an issue does come up, you want to trust your insurance provider will do its best to help make it right.

Look for a dental insurance provider with certain positive characteristics, including:

  • A good BBB rating
  • Positive reviews from real customers
  • Financial stability
  • Easy communication access through chat, email, phone and social media
  • A mobile app to help you review your coverage
  • An online system that allows you to review claims and coverage

Find Dental Insurance in TN

To find the best dental insurance plan for you and your family, consider your budget and coverage needs. Use our top dental insurance companies in Tennessee as a starting point for your research into dental plans.

Find the perfect dental insurance plan and get a quote today, because the investment is worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions


How does dental insurance work?


A dental insurance plan charges a premium in exchange for covered benefits. Unlike health insurance plans, dental insurance plans usually have a cap on benefits, which means your plan may stop providing coverage once you reach the annual cap, often between 1k and 3K. Like other types of healthcare insurance, dental insurance focuses coverage on essential services, like cleanings, fillings, etc. Many plans don’t cover braces or elective cosmetic procedures. Get the cheapest premium here.


Is dental coverage part of health insurance?


Some health insurance plans bundle dental coverage as well but, in many cases, dental insurance is a separate plan. Healthcare plans that are ACA-compliant are required to offer dental coverage to children but there is no requirement that adults have dental insurance coverage. Choosing a separate dental insurance plan can be a cost-saving step and helps make dental health costs more predictable. Check out our best providers for the cheapest rate.


What kinds of dental insurance are available?


Your choices for dental insurance plans are similar to health insurance choices. You can choose from a dental HMO, which helps to keep premium costs low by keeping services within controlled network. Dental PPOs give more freedom to choose your dentist and care but cost more than HMO plans. A third option is called a dental indemnity plan, which pays a fixed amount or percentage for covered services. Compare quotes from our top providers for the best price.


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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