Determining the Best Dental Insurance ProviderExpert advice is seldom free. (Image credit: NABC) Many dentists appreciate patients calling in with cosmetic concerns. However, those who pay for basic or advanced dental treatment from a private provider often do not leave the dental office with a smile that comes from the heart and not the pockets. From routine cleanings to root canal treatments, many patients are left with a less than perfect smile. However, by better understanding dental coverage policies a dental professional near you can better see you for treatments in the budget you can afford. Your best dental insurance plans cover preventive care as well as basic dental care. Preventive care includes regular cleanings, fluoride treatments and x-rays. Even visits to the dentist should be covered. For example, if you have a cavity, you should receive a free cavity filling before you need one to replace a filling that was removed because of the cavity. A regular cleaning plan, including toothbrush cleaning twice a year, fluoride treatment twice a year, and professional cleanings at the end of a tooth’s life, will help maintain good oral hygiene. Basic dental insurance premiums will likely cover preventative care. If you choose a plan that covers basic procedures but does not include preventative services, then your dental care costs could end up being higher than necessary. Luckily, there are ways to lower dental insurance premiums. Consider the copays you pay each time you visit the dentist. You can lower these copays by raising your deductibles per year. You can save money on dental discount plans, if you join more than one plan. The price savings will vary by provider, so you’ll want to compare a variety of providers before deciding on a dental discount plan to join. You should also consider the annual maximum that your insurance company sets for their discount cards. This amount may be higher than what you currently pay for annual dental visits. Always check with your dental care provider to make sure you’re still within their annual maximum. Consider waiting periods when you buy insurance. Most dental care coverage plans have waiting periods that apply to several months before the plan will take effect. This gives you time to save for proper oral care. You’ll want to consider the impact that this will have on you. If your teeth are already in need of immediate attention, you might find that waiting for a few months will mean that you’ll have to pay much more than if you had immediately gone in for immediate care coverage. The amount of money you’ll save by joining dental savings plans will vary among companies. They will typically offer you a fixed dollar amount per month for a fixed number of months. If you live near a participating dentist, you may even be eligible to earn a discount on your care. In this case, you’ll simply pay less per month as a result of earning a discount on your dental care. If you don’t mind the cost, you may want to choose indemnity plans over dental insurance. These indemnity plans cover everything except pre-existing dental problems. For most individuals and families, this isn’t a concern. However, if you have an existing condition, you may wish to spend more money on insurance so you have adequate protection should you need it. Most dental insurance providers require you to visit a dentist at least twice each year, with some requiring more often. It’s important to ask your provider what services they cover for these visits. If they don’t offer coverage, you’ll likely be forced to obtain it from another source or pay out-of-pocket. Before you decide on a specific provider, be sure to shop around and get several quotes.