A dental clinic
January 28, 2024

Dental insurance is not instant. After you buy a policy, you will have to wait for it to go into effect. The time between purchasing your policy and receiving coverage is called the waiting period. Every dental insurance company is different, and the waiting period can range from 30 days to over a year.

Read on to learn more about how dental insurance waiting periods work, so you can make the right choice when you purchase your policy.

What Is a Dental Insurance Waiting Period?

Dental waiting periods are the amount of time it takes for a policy to become active after buying it. These vary by policy, but the average range is between six to 12 months. Some dental waiting periods are only 30 days.

Waiting periods exist for several reasons:

  • They can give patients access to appropriate preventive care (which is usually active right away) before undergoing major procedures.
  • Waiting periods can protect dental insurers from having policyholders drop their coverage early.
  • Having dental waiting periods can help companies keep premiums lower.
  • Waiting periods help companies avoid customers only buying insurance to treat complex oral health problems that are more expensive to cover.

Types of Dental Insurance Waiting Periods

All dental waiting periods are not the same, and you can usually get access to some services right away. Most policies require patients to wait for a certain period of time before they can undergo certain types of treatments.

Here is a breakdown of typical dental waiting periods:

  • Preventative care: Cleanings, X-rays, and dental exams are usually free and available right away.
  • Basic care: Routine procedures like fillings and sealants are often covered after six to 12 months.
  • Major care: Oral surgeries, root canals, dental implants, onlays and inlays, and other more advanced procedures are typically covered after a year of having insurance.

Keep in mind that every policy is different, and it is important to read the coverage terms and conditions to understand how your insurer handles different procedures. If you are buying dental insurance because you want to have certain treatments done, be sure to:

Can I Visit the Dentist During My Waiting Period?

Yes, you can see a dentist any time with dental insurance, but if you are currently in a waiting period, you will have to pay for any treatment or services you receive with your own money at the regular cost. Preventative care, like a dental exam and cleaning, are usually covered right away.

If you need care before your waiting period ends, you can speak to your dentist’s office about financing assistance and payment plans.

Find the Right Dental Insurance for You

Dental insurance should cover all your needs, including emergencies. Get great coverage at the right premium for your budget. Learn more about dental insurance options today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all dental insurance plans have a waiting period?

Not all dental insurance plans have a waiting period, but policies with waiting periods are more common than those without. Waiting periods can vary greatly among providers, so it is important to carefully explore your options and compare several plans before deciding on a provider.

Are there dental insurance plans with no waiting period?

Yes! There are some dental insurance plans that do not have a waiting period, so you can be covered and start receiving treatment right away. Contact us at Live Health to learn more.

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