Dental Insurance for Seniors: Is it Worth the Investment?

Dental Insurance for old aged

As we age, maintaining oral health becomes increasingly important due to the natural wear and tear on our teeth and gums over the years. Good oral health is not just about having a bright smile; it significantly impacts our overall health and well-being.

However, many seniors face substantial dental care costs, which can become a significant financial burden, especially for those on a fixed income. Regular dental visits, treatments for gum disease, cavities, and more serious dental procedures can add up quickly.

Dental insurance for seniors can help alleviate these costs, but is it truly worth the investment? This article explores the need for dental insurance, the types of plans available, and the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.


Why do adults need dental Insurance?

Medicare, the primary health insurance for seniors, does not cover routine dental care, central services, or procedures. Many seniors do not have access to necessary dental care, leading to potential oral health issues. Dental insurance can bridge this gap, providing seniors with the coverage they need.


Types of Dental Insurance

There are two primary types of dental insurance for seniors:

i) Traditional Dental Insurance

These plans operate like traditional health insurance, with premiums, deductibles, and copays. They often cover preventative care, basic procedures, and significant services, but the extent of coverage can vary.

ii) Dental Discount Plans

These plans offer discounted rates for dental services from participating dentists. While not insurance in the traditional sense, they can significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs for dental care.


Pros and Cons of Dental Insurance for Seniors


  • Reduced out-of-pocket costs: Dental insurance can lower the costs of dental care, making it more affordable for seniors.
  • Access to necessary dental services: Insurance ensures that seniors can access a range of dental services, from routine check-ups to major procedures.
  • Preventative care coverage: Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are often covered, helping prevent more serious issues.
  • Potential for better oral health: With coverage, seniors are more likely to seek dental care, leading to improved oral health.


  • Premium costs: Monthly premiums can add up, especially on a fixed income.
  • Limited coverage for significant procedures: Some plans may need to cover more expensive procedures.
  • Deductibles and copays: Out-of-pocket costs can still be substantial, even with insurance.
  • Potential for limited provider networks: Some plans restrict coverage to a network of dentists, which may not include your preferred provider.

Also Read: Why Dental Insurance is Important for Seniors


Best Dental Insurance Plans for Seniors

Choosing the right dental insurance plan can be challenging. Here are some of the top providers:

i) Delta Dental

One of America’s leading dental insurance providers, offering affordable dental coverage to more than 80 million people of all ages.

ii) Humana

Offers dental insurance coverage in every state and a range of plans suitable for older adults and retirees.

iii) Cigna

Cigna insures more than 17 million people and offers three insurance plans that may be suitable for seniors.

iv) Aflac

It currently serves around 50 million people in the United States and is an excellent option for seniors who may need to see multiple specialists for different treatments.

vi) Aetna

A primary health insurance provider whose history dates back to the 1800s, offering many insurance plans for seniors on Medicare.

vii) UnitedHealthcare (UHC)

Offers ten dental plans to choose from, with orthodontic and preventive care options.


How much average coverage do the dental insurance companies provide?

Dental insurance plans require out-of-pocket costs like premiums, deductibles, copays, and coinsurance, often higher than health insurance. Coinsurance can be 40% or more, and annual benefit caps are usually low ($1,000 to $3,000). After reaching the cap, you pay all costs. Comprehensive plans exist but rarely cover 100% of dental expenses.


What Dental Work is Included in Dental Insurance?

Dental insurance typically covers a range of services, divided into three categories: preventive, basic, and major.

i) Preventive Care

  • Routine exams and cleanings
  • X-rays
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Sealants

ii) Basic Care

  • Fillings
  • Simple extractions
  • Root canals
  • Periodontal treatment (gum disease)

iii) Major Care

  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Dentures
  • Complex extractions (e.g., wisdom teeth removal)
  • Oral surgery


Additional Options

Medicare Advantage

Seniors can enroll in a Medicare Advantage program, a Medicare plan offered by a private insurer that may include added benefits such as dental coverage.


This joint federal-state program provides dental coverage in participating states for people who meet certain income and asset requirements.



Dental insurance for seniors is a valuable investment, providing access to necessary dental care and improving oral health. While there are pros and cons to consider, seniors should weigh their options carefully and choose a plan that suits their needs and budget. By doing so, they can ensure a healthy, happy smile for years to come.