20118 N 67th Ave Ste 308

Glendale, AZ 85308

How To Maximize Your Dental Insurance Benefits

A person fills out a dental insurance form

Hello, friends of Smile Science Dental Spa! We’re thrilled to have you with us on this journey to healthier smiles and brighter days. Today, we’re discussing a topic that can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming: dental insurance. Don’t worry! Our aim is to make this as straightforward as possible for you. After all, understanding your dental insurance can help you maximize your benefits, saving you money while keeping your smile in top shape.

Understanding Your Dental Insurance Plan

When you first look at your dental insurance plan, you may come across a plethora of terms that seem confusing. Deductibles, premiums, co-pays, out-of-pocket maximums – what do they all mean? Let’s break them down together:

  1. Premium: This is what you pay to keep your insurance active, typically monthly.
  2. Deductible: The amount you pay out-of-pocket for services before your insurance begins to cover costs.
  3. Co-Pay: This is your share of the cost of a dental visit, which you pay upfront when you receive the service.
  4. Out-Of-Pocket Maximum: This is the most you’ll have to pay in a year for covered services. Once you reach this amount, your insurance pays 100% of the costs.

At Smile Science Dental Spa, we pride ourselves on our commitment to patient education. Both Dr. Richard Dawson and Dr. John Turke have spent countless hours helping patients navigate their dental insurance plans. They’re always ready to help answer your questions and ensure you understand your coverage.

Dental Insurance vs Health Insurance: Understanding the Difference

Hey, folks! It’s easy to confuse dental insurance with health insurance. After all, they both involve insurance, right? But there’s a world of difference between the two.

Unlike health insurance, dental insurance doesn’t offer high coverage limits. Most dental plans have an annual maximum that they will pay out, often between $1,000 to $1,500. This means that if your dental expenses exceed this amount in a year, you’re responsible for the remaining costs. Contrast this to health insurance, where once you hit your deductible, your insurance kicks in to cover a significant portion of your expenses, sometimes up to 90% or more.

Dental insurance plans typically cover 100% of preventive care, around 80% of basic procedures like fillings, and 50% of major procedures like crowns. The low out-of-pocket coverage of dental insurance makes it less of an insurance and more of a discount plan.

Employer-Sponsored vs Self-Coverage Dental Insurance

When it comes to dental insurance, you usually have two options: an employer-sponsored plan or a self-coverage plan.

Employer-sponsored plans are often more cost-effective as your employer covers a portion of the premiums. However, these plans usually have a limited choice of dentists and may not cover certain treatments fully.

Self-coverage plans, on the other hand, might cost more out-of-pocket, but they often offer more flexibility. You can choose a plan that suits your specific needs and select your preferred dentist. But remember, it’s crucial to read the fine print and fully understand what is and isn’t covered before you make a choice.

Alternatives to Dental Insurance

Sometimes, traditional dental insurance might not be the best fit for everyone. Don’t worry; there are other options out there!

Dental membership plans are a popular alternative. With a dental membership plan, you pay an annual fee directly to your dental office in exchange for a package of preventive care and discounts on other treatments.

Similarly, dental discount plans can offer significant savings. You pay a membership fee to get access to a network of dentists who have agreed to offer reduced rates to plan members. This could be a smart move if you’re expecting to need a lot of dental work.

Remember, every smile is unique, and so are our dental needs. Whether you have dental insurance or you’re considering an alternative, the team at Smile Science Dental Spa, including Dr. Richard Dawson and Dr. John Turke, is here to help you navigate your options. Our goal is to ensure your dental care is affordable, transparent, and, most importantly, beneficial to your oral health.

Annual Maximums and Why They Matter

One important feature of many dental insurance plans is the annual maximum. This is the maximum amount your insurance plan will pay for your dental work within one year. It varies from plan to plan, but once you reach your annual maximum, any further costs will be out-of-pocket until the new year begins.

Here’s why that’s important: if you have unused benefits by the end of the year, you lose them! They don’t roll over to the next year. So, it’s crucial to use these benefits to the fullest. Need a filling or a crown? Don’t wait till the next year if your annual maximum hasn’t been met yet. Utilize your benefits, maintain your oral health, and save money!

Preventive Care: Your Insurance’s Best Friend

Did you know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? This age-old wisdom holds true for dental care. Regular cleanings, check-ups, and certain preventive treatments can save you from hefty dental bills in the future by catching issues early before they become major problems.

The good news is, most dental insurance plans are huge fans of preventive care too! In fact, many insurance plans cover preventive care entirely, often without a deductible. These covered services can include:

  1. Regular Cleanings: Professional cleanings remove plaque and tartar build-up, keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
  2. Dental Exams: Routine exams allow your dentist to detect potential issues early.
  3. X-rays: These provide a detailed view of your teeth and jaw, helping spot hidden issues.
  4. Sealants and Fluoride Treatments: Often used for children, these treatments can help prevent cavities.

Remember, every insurance plan is different, so it’s always a good idea to check your coverage. The team at Smile Science Dental Spa is also here to help you understand your benefits better!

Schedule Treatments Wisely

Another way to maximize your dental insurance benefits is by smart scheduling of your treatments. If you need extensive dental work that exceeds your annual maximum, consider spacing the procedures across two calendar years. This way, you can take advantage of two years’ worth of maximums, rather than paying a large amount out-of-pocket.

For instance, if you have a treatment plan that includes several fillings and a crown, you might want to schedule the fillings in November or December, and then get the crown in January of the next year. However, always consult your dentist before making such decisions as delaying certain procedures might not be in your best interest health-wise.

At Smile Science Dental Spa, our team is experienced in treatment planning and can assist you in scheduling your treatments to ensure you get the most out of your insurance benefits.

Don’t Skip Regular Dental Visits

It might be tempting to skip regular check-ups and cleanings, especially if your teeth feel fine. However, remember that preventive care is the foundation of dental health. Regular dental visits allow for early detection and treatment of oral health issues, which can save you money in the long run by preventing the need for more extensive and expensive treatments later.

What’s more, most dental insurance plans cover regular checkups and cleanings, usually at 100%. That means, by skipping these visits, you’re leaving money on the table. Regular dental visits are essentially a part of your dental insurance benefits – be sure to use them!

The team at Smile Science Dental Spa is committed to working with you to optimize your insurance benefits while providing top-notch dental care. Your oral health is our priority!

Keep Your Dental Insurance Information Updated

The next tip might sound simple, but it’s crucial: Always keep your dental insurance information up-to-date. This includes updating any changes to your policy or if you switch insurance providers. Keeping your dentist informed about your current dental insurance situation ensures that you receive the coverage you’re entitled to and prevents unexpected out-of-pocket costs.

Moreover, providing your dental office with accurate insurance information allows the staff to give you a more precise estimate of what your insurance will cover and what you might owe. This transparency can help you plan your dental treatments more effectively without any surprise costs.

At Smile Science Dental Spa, our team strives to make your dental care experience as seamless as possible. If you have any changes in your insurance status, we encourage you to communicate with us promptly so we can continue to provide the best care for your oral health needs.


Understanding and maximizing your dental insurance benefits is a vital aspect of maintaining optimal dental health. Your dental insurance is a powerful tool that can help you afford the dental care you need. Don’t let these benefits go to waste by neglecting regular check-ups or not fully understanding your coverage.

Remember, the team at Smile Science Dental Spa, including Dr. Richard Dawson and Dr. John Turke, are here to help you navigate your dental insurance. We’re more than willing to answer your questions and help you understand your coverage better. After all, we’re all on the same team when it comes to ensuring your smile is as healthy and bright as it can be. Take charge of your dental health by making the most of your dental insurance today!

Citations and Further Reading

  1. 11 Helpful Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Dental Insurance
  2. What is a dental insurance annual maximum?
author avatar
Richard Dawson, DMD General Dentist
Dr. Richard Dawson, DMD, is a prominent dentist in Glendale, AZ, focused on cosmetic, implant, and emergency dentistry. A graduate of Midwestern University, he co-founded Smile Science Dental Spa with Dr. John Turke in February 2023. Passionate about helping patients achieve beautiful and healthy smiles, Dr. Dawson brings a blend of expertise and compassion to his practice. He regularly shares insights and tips on dental health on his blog, providing valuable information for both new and existing patients alike.


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