We examine the differences between various dental insurance plans and discuss whether it would be more beneficial for you to utilise the NHS or a dental payment plan.

The inner workings of dental insurance

The majority of dental insurance policies require that you pay your dentist for any treatment you receive and then submit a claim to the insurer for reimbursement of those costs.

Dental insurance policies cover preventative care such as checkups, scaling and polishing, and X-rays, as well as restorative care such as fillings, root canals, and crowns, which can be received at either NHS practises or private clinics, or sometimes both. In most cases, this does not include elective cosmetic dental work such as teeth bleaching.

Private vs NHS dental insurance

Check to see if you have access to a dentist working for the National Health Service (NHS) in your area before investing in private dental insurance. The NHS provides an online tool for locating dentists.

Some dental insurance policies will only cover you for treatment provided by dentists working for the NHS, while others will also pay for some private dental work.

Policies that are limited to NHS care typically have lower premiums and offer a number of other benefits.

The majority of dental insurance plans that are accepted only by the NHS will pay out an unlimited amount toward treatment received through the NHS during the course of the policy year.

The private policies that we researched all had maximum benefit levels established for checkups, scale and polish/hygienist visits, and treatment, and the majority of these policies also had caps on the percentage of the total cost that they would pay toward.

Dental insurance policies compared

These tables illustrate the minimum annual premium required to purchase dental insurance that covers both preventative care and treatment for a person who is 60 years old.

Not the cost of the policy or its level of protection, but the alphabet determines the order of the policies. You can find out what the maximum percentage of the dental cost that can be claimed under the plans is for the various types of treatment by clicking on the link that says “more info.”

The most that can be claimed for examinations

When am I able to submit a claim for a check-up?

What is the maximum allowable cost for routine treatment?

When am I able to file a claim for routine treatment?

What is the maximum reimbursement for urgent care?


No limit1 month

No limit1 month




3 months and £500

3 months and £500


Dental Cover 10£168.85

Local NHS limits

Immediate local restrictions imposed by the NHS

Four months

Not covered by this


NHS£84.00£23.80Immediately£130.4060 days£425


Level 1£167.34

No limit30 days

No limit30 days

Do you really require insurance for your teeth?

It may appear that purchasing dental insurance is a wise financial decision; however, before making this decision, it is important to consider a number of factors, including the number of times you go to the dentist annually, whether you go to a public or private clinic, and the state of your mouth in general.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the annual expenditure of a household on dental, optical, and medical services is approximately one hundred and forty dollars, which is less than the annual premium of a number of dental insurance policies.



Dental trauma can not only be excruciatingly painful but also prohibitively expensive. Accidents and emergencies are typically covered by dental insurance policies, and some policies will even cover you for accidents and emergencies if you happen to be travelling outside of the country.

Significant undertakings

Crowns, dentures, and bridges are examples of complex dental work that fall under NHS Band 3, which carries a price tag of £282.80 (but can cost up to £384 in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and only $203 in Wales as of 2021). If you go to a private clinic, on the other hand, the price may be significantly higher.

Dental insurance is one option for covering the cost, but there are a few other choices that are worthy of consideration as well. Check out the following list of options that we have.

The choice to pay on a monthly basis

Many companies that offer dental insurance will let you make payments on a monthly basis, which can put your mind at ease if you are concerned about expensive bills.


Dental care provided at no cost by the NHS

Free dental care is provided by the NHS to all individuals under the age of 18 (or 19 if they are enrolled in full-time education), pregnant women, and mothers of children younger than one year old, in addition to a large number of individuals receiving low-income benefits.

Prolonged pauses required before receiving benefits

The policies that we looked at have a qualifying period that ranges from one to four months, during which time you are unable to make a claim for routine treatment.

However, there are some that will permit you to make a claim right away for checkups.

Limits on how much money can be paid out

Numerous policies limit both the total cash amount and the percentage of the overall charge for treatment that they will pay toward private medical care, meaning that they do not cover the full cost of private medical care.

Consider the following scenario: you’ve just had a procedure that cost $150, and your insurance policy has a maximum cash payout of $200. If the policy has a contribution limit of 55%, then the maximum amount it will pay out is £82.50, and the remaining balance will be your responsibility.

The table that is located above provides information regarding the claim limits for each policy.

Limited coverage for cancer

Coverage for cancer is frequently an expense that insurers are willing to pay out for the one time; however, after the initial claim, coverage for cancer is typically excluded from the policy.

Alternatives to dental insurance

There is no guarantee that purchasing dental insurance will be the most cost-effective method of paying for dental work.


Why not put that money, which you would have put toward an annual premium to an insurance company, into a savings account instead?

The advantage of selecting this alternative is that any money that is not used will continue to belong to you, and the less you use it, the larger your backup fund will be in the event of an unexpected event.

The disadvantage of this is, of course, that your ability to pay for treatment is entirely dependent on the amount of money you have saved up, which could be significantly depleted if you need to start paying for treatment right away or if you need multiple procedures done in a short period of time.

Making a purchase with a credit card

If you pay for major dental treatments with a credit card that offers 0% interest on purchases, you can stretch out the cost of those treatments over a period of up to 21 months (at the time this article was written).

Keep in mind that even if you pay the minimum amount each month, you will still be required to make repayments.

Dental plans

You can avoid paying the total amount of the bill all at once by enrolling in a dental payment plan that allows you to pay a set amount on a monthly basis.

Health savings accounts

Health cash plans typically have lower premiums than other types of health insurance. You will receive a lump sum of cash in exchange for a premium payment. It’s possible that this won’t cover the entire tab, but at least it brings it down to a more manageable level.

Individual or family-based health insurance

Even though monthly premiums can be pricey, dental care is included in the benefits of many private health insurance policies.