Put a Big Smile on Your Face with a Dental Savings Plan

I opened my inbox and right near the top was a frantic letter from Lisa, who’s facing an emergency dental situation with a $15,000 price tag on it. She is desperate for options that will let her keep her teeth while not plunging her into debt.



Another letter from the Madison family related that their finances are so tight, they cannot afford the luxury of regular dental care—not even routine x-rays and cleaning. That letter ended, “Is there a dental plan for families in our situation? Please answer soon before our teeth fall out!”

RELATED: Would You Floss for $8,000?

While I am not a dentist, I know that dental care is not a luxury. It is essential to the good health of every family member. And the best way for Lisa and the Madison Family to avoid big dental bills is to practice regular preventive care. Even then, routine hygiene and x-rays should be seen as absolutely mandatory.

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As for Lisa, she’s in a tough situation. I’m not confident that dental insurance—if by some miracle she could get it now—would be that helpful. The problem is that typically you must wait six months to a year before certain procedures are covered. Her condition could be excluded completely as preexisting. Then there’s a maximum annual benefit of $1,000 to $1,500. And the annual premium on most individual dental plans? Typically half of the annual benefit. I’m not sure if any portion of her $15,000 dilemma would be considered cosmetic, but I hope not because most dental insurance does not cover cosmetic procedures.

I am excited because I have good news for Lisa and the Madison family—something I hope all of my readers will also consider seriously: Dental Savings Plans. These plans are not insurance, don’t work like insurance and do not carry the downside of most dental insurance.

Dental Savings Plans are membership plans, similar to the way I am a member of Costco, where I pay an annual fee, which gives me full privileges at Costco warehouse clubs for the year. I just show my card to enjoy highly discounted prices on the things I need. That’s how a Dental Savings Plan works. You sign up with a plan your dentist accepts, pay your membership fee, get your card, and enjoy highly discounted dental services and procedures.

The cost of a Dental Savings Plan varies but basically, an individual pays around $120 per year, and families pay around $170 per year—yes, for the entire family.

Most insurance companies are now offering these dental savings plans. There are many to choose from, and they are all listed in one place at DentalPlans.com. If your dentist doesn’t participate, you could ask him or her to sign up or find a dentist in your area that does (thousands do!). When you use a dentist in your plan, you get a discount of up to 60 percent, depending on the plan.

Dental Savings Plans have no annual maximums, do not exclude preexisting conditions, have no monthly premiums (membership fees are paid once each year) and there are no waiting periods.

I know you have questions about Dental Savings Plans. All the answers are at the DentalPlans website. You can look up your dentist, find dentists in your area and the Dental Savings Plans they accept. It’s easy to determine which plan might be best for you. If you have any additional questions, you can give them a call at (844) 239-7927.

More good news: I’ve worked out a special deal for our EC family. When you use the promo code DPL10, you will get 10 percent off the membership fee plus 2 months free on any Dental Savings Plan through DentalPlans. I don’t think that offer will last forever, but for now make sure you use the code to get the most you can, assuming of course that a Dental Savings Plan is right for you.

First published: 3-10-16; Updated 5-18-19

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6 replies
  1. Skeeter Jorgensen says:

    I am commenting on the put a smile on your face…. I have a frown! We tried the dental savings plan. We had o u r teeth cleaned an updated Xrays. We presented the card with our #. Our dentist was listed on th web page, our dentist didn’t know anything about it. They figured out, with my husband’s insistence, if th e y did honor the claim, we would save $3.00. The company will not refund our $147.00. So we are both scowling. Just thought I would let you know. Skeeter Jorgensen Bell. Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

  2. Mrs. Potts says:

    My dentist’s receptionist directed me to a dental plan, the only one my dentist participates in. I am so glad she was so helpful. I sadly have to use it next week for an extraction.

  3. Bonnie Alcorn says:

    May I suggest that you contact a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) 501(c)3, known in my area as a “community clinic”? This a federally funded organization that offers full dental services (beyond xrays & preventative services), on a sliding scale based on your income, and very reasonable payment options. I live in a small town, and there are 5 local offices within a 100 mile radius, so it should not be difficult to locate one. I recently got an upper dental plate, which included office visits, xrays, extractions, fittings, and follow-up care for less than $1,000. The only down-side is that, because it serves the low-income population, there is a considerable wait (3 months) for the initial appointment. Beyond that, it goes quickly. They do make exceptions for emergencies, however, when the patient is in pain.

  4. P. says:

    I used dental plans over 5 years ago and it worked great. At the end of last year we decided not to get insurance because of the high cost so I turned to dental plans again. Before signing up for the plan they showed me a list of fees and they did look as good as mentioned in the article. Once I actually paid for the membership and the complete table was different, much higher in my case. Also, my dentist doesn’t want to honor even that anymore. They keep claiming that Cigna has a new table, again, with higher prices. 🙁

  5. Leah Vare says:

    Thanks for this article. I received it the day before I was scheduled for two extractions. My husband had an extraction at the same dentist two months ago and paid $180.00. I signed up for one of these plans and paid $158.00 for two extractions. Mine were more complicated than my husband’s single extraction and would have cost $247.00 each. The bridge I need will now cost $2000.00 instead of $4000.00. I have been paying $190.00 twice a year to have my teeth cleaned. This plan has already paid for itself but I will be interested in seeing how much I will save with the Plan I chose.
    Leah Vare, King of Prussia, PA

  6. Birgit Nicolaisen says:

    We are blessed with a union contract that includes dental care. We go to a participating dentist for cleanings, x-rays and flouride treatments for the kid and pay nothing out of pocket. We can go up to 3 times a year. I haven’t had to have extensive work done, so not sure how much of that is covered. But when I didn’t have this insurance, I went to our local community college where they train dental hygienists and you can get a teeth cleaning etc really cheap because they need people to practice on.


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