For an annual or monthly payment you can get a dental insurance plan which is an insurance policy. This may cover specified individuals or all the family.
What is covered by a dental insurance plan?
Dental insurance plans are not standard policies as every insurer is different. There is a great deal of difference between what various insurers provide within a dental plan. Certain insurers provide diverse plans, with great variation amongst them.
The basic rule with a dental plan is similar to that of health insurance; the more you pay, the more comprehensive the cover you get.
Certain dental health insurance policies are defined as NHS cover as they purely aim to cover the NHS treatment costs. Specific UK dental insurance policies aim to cover private treatment costs. Dental insurance cover aims at preventative, minor and major restorative dental treatments.
Dental plans also include multiple limits. Each kind of treatment has a limit that is paid out for that treatment and another limit for the amount paid for that kind of treatment over a year.
Moreover, you can get cover for dental emergencies and accidents, usually anywhere in the world.
What is the cost of UK dental insurance?
The cost of UK dental insurance is dependent on how comprehensive the cover is that you select. It is advisable to get several quotes for dental insurance plans in order to compare them and get the best dental plan for you.
Do any special restrictions apply to dental plans?
The majority of UK dental plans only insure you should you have good teeth to begin with and need no work doing. Certain dental insurers request that you declare that you frequently visit a dentist. Other insurers ask your dentist to fill in a form to ensure that there is no outstanding work to be done and that you are a regular visitor.
What a dental plan does not cover
Each dental plan policy is different. Generally speaking, dental plans do not pay out for:
- Cosmetic treatment
- Dental implants
- Orthodontic treatment
- Sports injuries unless you had been wearing a mouth guard when the injury occurred
What types of dental insurance plans are available?
Dental care insurance plans cover the costs of going to the dentist. The majority of policies cover emergency and routine treatment. Some of the policies cover NHS treatment; some cover private treatment and some cover both.
Dental care insurance plans for children
Children receive automatic cover in a family dental care insurance or dental maintenance plan. On occasion you can add children to individual or family dental care insurance or dental maintenance plans. Certain dental maintenance plan providers provide special cover for children, which parents are able to buy. Specific independent schools provide dental care insurance plans to pupils.
Dental maintenance plans
Dental maintenance plans involve paying a monthly or annual fee for dental treatment. Certain dental maintenance plans do not always include dental insurance. Certain insurers and dentists refer to these as capitation plans.
Dental implant cover
Dental implant cover pays for the costs involved in replacing dentures. They enable individuals to regain their smile. Dental implant insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing your dental implant.
Tooth whitening cover
Tooth whitening cover is self explanatory. Tooth whitening is highly popular. Recently this kind of insurance has appeared in Europe; until now there has been no UK insurer that offers this cover.
Dental cover for businesses as well as their employees
Businesses can purchase dental care insurance, specialist cover or maintenance plans for directors and employees. There are a handful of dental care insurance plans or maintenance plans for small businesses.
Self-employed individuals can buy individual insurances; up to now there have been no specialist business plans designed for them.
There are various dental plan providers who offer what they term corporate cover for generally larger companies. Cover can be company paid, part company paid, or voluntary basis paid for by employers.
The National Health Service (NHS)
We are all entitled to treatment from an NHS dentist; however, finding one is not as easy as it sounds. In certain cities and towns you will not find a single dentist who is willing to admit new NHS patients. With private dental insurance you have a wider choice as to dentists.
Even though dental treatment is on the NHS that does not mean it is free. Pregnant women, children and those receiving means-tested benefits get free dental treatment, whereas, others have to pay.
In England, NHS dental charges fall into the three categories: with basic treatments like scaling and polishing costing from £15.90; intermediate treatment like fillings or extractions costing from £43.60; and complex work like dentures, crowns and bridges costing from £194.
Obtain cover from your employer
Your employer may offer private dental treatment if it pays for your insurance. You may pay tax on it as you do with your salary given that it is a ‘benefit in kind’. However, it is normally a lot less expensive paying for it yourself.
There may be voluntary schemes your employer or trade union or professional association provides that you could pay to join, so, you get prices which are lower than those you would get buying directly.
Buying dental insurance
- Buying dental insurance is a great option. With certain dental policies you have to wait, say, three to six months prior to making a claim. Therefore, it pays to read the small print.
- Insurance plans usually cover general dental treatment, emergency work, injuries and serious oral diseases. Cosmetic dentistry is excluded, so, your policy is not going to pay out for teeth whitening, dental implants or porcelain implants.
- The majority of dental insurance policies stipulate that you have to pay something towards your treatment costs, a quarter of all expenditure with a limit of £500 per annum.
- As with other private medical treatment, its cost and demand for it increases with age, so read your policy with care.
- Certain policies permit you to go to any dentist, others specify your own dentist, or just private dentists, or just NHS dentists.
Alternatives to dental insurance
Health cash plan
As opposed to purchasing a tailored dental insurance policy, you can cover some private dental treatment costs with a healthcare cash plan. Healthcare cash plans constitute a low cost way to cover dental costs. You are able to reclaim cash up to specified limits for various factors should you pay for NHS or private treatments, such as, hospital stays, osteopathy, dental or optical treatments.
The disadvantage is that health cash plans pay partially towards the cost. Certain health cash plans make you pay 50% or 25% towards all treatment costs. All health cash plans set an annual and or per treatment limit usually considerably below current dental charges.
Private medical insurance
It is purely the very expensive private medical insurance plans that include dental insurance.
You can choose to go abroad for major treatment. Being a dental tourist usually means you save thousands of pounds. You will have to find a dentist abroad who charges a fraction of the UK cost for the chosen dental treatment.
Get cover from your dentist
Many dentists actively promote ‘capitation' plans to their patients, especially new patients, in order to spread your dental care costs over a year. The leading provider of such schemes is Denplan, to which a third of UK dentists have signed up to.
Denplan involves a dentist inspecting your teeth and placing you in a priority listing. The worse the state of your teeth and the more work that needs to be done, the higher price you pay for dental care.
You can opt for budget capitation plans which just cover routine and preventative work, like dental examinations, x-rays and hygiene treatment and x-rays. However, they do not cover more costly treatments.
A disadvantage of capitation plans is that you are restricted to a specific dentist and pay the same set amount per year, usually £240, regardless of the level of treatment you receive.
Who receives free treatment?
You receive free dental treatment on the NHS should you be, at the time when treatment starts;
- under 18
- 18 and a full time student
- pregnant, or had a baby in past 12 months
- a NHS inpatient receiving treatment from a hospital dentist
- a NHS dental service outpatient
- a community service dental patient
- on a very low income
- receiving income support, jobseekers allowance or pension credit
- We are all aware that cultivating dental health is better than trying to fix dental problems.
- The present guidelines for good oral health are a check up every 12 to 24 months.
- Most dentists are highly concerned that having irregular check ups means it will take longer to pinpoint a problem, and then it will be more expensive to fix it.