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Delta Dental Insurance Plans

Affordable Dental Coverage for the whole family!

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By Insurance Industry Expert & Author
Updated on

Company Overview & Coverage Options

A fundamental question for consumers shopping for dental insurance is “Will my dentist take my coverage?” because insurance is only as good as dental professionals who accept it. In other words, how good are a plan's dental benefits if they're rejected by your preferred dentist and oral surgeon and orthodontist?

Delta Dental has the distinction of being the single largest dental insurance provider in the United States with over 80 million people enrolled across the plans offered by Delta Dental entities. The company leverages this scale of enrollees to attract a large number of dentists to their networks. According to the company, 128,000 dentists and over 198,000 office locations accept one or more Delta Dental plans. Insurance acceptance differs by plan type. For example, Delta Dental PPO has a national network of more than 68,000 dentists practicing in over 119,000 locations. In comparison, their DeltaCare USA offering has just 22,000 dentist office locations, about a fifth of the number of PPO network locations.

The Delta Dental parent company, Delta Dental Plans Association, is a not-for-profit organization. It was originally formed in 1966, but its earliest precursor began in Washington State in 1954. The company has proven very stable over the years, enjoying enormous market growth in the decades following its creation. By 2008, total premium revenue was around $15 billion. By the same year, Delta Dental member companies processed over 81 million dental claims, or approximately 1.5 million every week, with an accuracy rate of 99.5 percent. The organization itself is comprised of 39 independent companies such as Delta Dental Insurance Company, Delta Dental of California, Delta Dental of New York, Delta Dental of North Carolina, and the Hawaii Dental Service. Not surprisingly, Delta Dental plans are available in every one of the United States as well as Puerto Rico and some other U.S. territories. The brand's success with consumers has enabled them to contribute significant sums to philanthropic dental care efforts. The member companies of Delta Dental contributed $79 million in 2018 to community programs across the country expanding access to oral care to underserved populations. In total, 11 million people were helped through 1,700 separate programs.

Plan Options

Delta Dental has a broad portfolio of plan options for consumers to consider. The plans differ not just on deductibles and out-of-pocket costs for services but also breadth of features and the maximum amount of dental expenses to be covered during a single plan year. Since plan options differ by state, we will use Delta Dental plans available within a single state (Tennessee) to illustrate our point.

A very affordably priced Dental for Everyone Gold PPO has the following out-of-pocket costs in 2022 during the first year of coverage (note - this plan increases its coverage from the first year of enrollment to the third year of continuous enrollment):

Procedure 1st Year of Coverage for In-Network Dental Care
Plan Coverage After Deductible Patient Out-of-Pocket Costs
Cleaning (2x Annually) 60% 40%
White Filling 50% 50%
Crown 0% 100%
Root Canals 0% 100%
Simple Extractions 0% 100%
Orthodontia Not Covered Service 100%
Annual Maximum Benefit* $1,000 per insured person per calendar year Expenses (beyond normal cost-sharing) for covered care exceeding $1,000
Waiting Periods Major services not covered for first 12 months of coverage Major services not covered for first 12 months of coverage
Deductible $50 per insured person per calendar year $50 per person per calendar year
* The Annual Maximum Benefit is the highest amount that the insurer will spend on an enrollee's covered dental services within a 12-month period.

Our comparison plan is the higher cost Immediate Coverage Plan PPO, which is also from Delta Dental. The Immediate Coverage Plan PPO has the below out-of-pocket costs during the first year of coverage during 2022. As was the case for the Dental for Everyone Gold PPO, the Immediate Coverage Plan PPO increases coverage from the first year of enrollment to the third year of continuous enrollment.

Procedure 1st Year of Coverage for In-Network Dental Care
Plan Coverage After Deductible Patient Out-of-Pocket Costs
Cleaning (2x Annually) 80% 20%
White Filling 60% 40%
Crown 10% 90%
Root Canals 10% 90%
Simple Extractions 10% 90%
Orthodontia For eligible dependent children: 50% after $150 Lifetime Orthodontia Deductible up to $300 calendar year maximum and $1500 Lifetime maximum per eligible dependent child For eligible dependent children: 50% after $150 Lifetime Orthodontia Deductible up to $300 calendar year maximum and $1500 Lifetime maximum per eligible dependent child
Annual Maximum Benefit* $3,000 per insured per calendar year. For orthodontia: $300 calendar year maximum and $1500 lifetime maximum $3,000 per insured per calendar year. For orthodontia: $300 calendar year maximum and $1500 lifetime maximum
Waiting Periods None for preventive, basic, and major dental services. 12-month waiting period for orthodontic services None for preventive, basic, and major dental services. 12-month waiting period for orthodontic services
Deductible No deductible for diagnostic, basic, and major dental procedures. $150 per person lifetime deductible on orthodontics No deductible for diagnostic, basic, and major dental procedures. $150 per person lifetime deductible on orthodontics
* The Annual Maximum Benefit is the highest amount that the insurer will spend on an enrollee's covered dental services within a 12-month period.

When comparing the two plans above we observe several differences. Immediate Coverage Plan PPO, while having a higher premium, also has lower out-of-pocket costs than the Dental for Everyone Gold PPO for various dental services (e.g. white filling, crowns, root canals). It also has a higher maximum benefit. Lastly, while both plans do not have orthodontic coverage in the first year, the Immediate Coverage Plan PPO does have care for orthodontic services beginning in the second year of continuous enrollment.

Issues to Consider When Shopping

Not all dental benefits are equal. Some are more relevant to your personal oral health circumstances than others. For example, a person with straight teeth will find orthodontic benefits less significant than a person with crooked teeth. Consequently, a consumer considering a Delta Dental health plan should evaluate the different options in light of what their needs are as well as what services may be likely. A final consideration concerns dental care that may not be anticipated but still may happen. Oral health events like cracked molar or an impacted wisdom tooth don't always provide the early warnings we would prefer. Given these possibilities, it is important to ask the following types of questions of a dental plan you are considering for purchase:

  • How would the plan cover an unexpected event like breaking a tooth and requiring a crown?
  • How would the plan address the need for a partial denture?
  • What is the highest amount of dental expenses the plan will cover in a year?

* Delta Dental is coverage underwritten by Delta Dental Insurance Company and available to members of Benefits Association Inc, in the Enterprise states. (AL, CA, DC, DE, FL, GA, LA, MS, MT, NV, PA, TX, UT and WV)

Our best-selling Delta Dental plans

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Dental for Everyone
Gold PPO

Largest network of dentists

Plan Type: PPO
Plan Maximum: $1000

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Delta Dental Logo

Dental for Everyone
Diamond PPO

Benefits increase after the first and second years

Plan Type: PPO
Plan Maximum: $2000

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Delta Dental Logo

Dental for Everyone
Immediate Coverage

Immediate coverage with no waiting periods

Plan Type: PPO
Plan Maximum: $3000

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See why our Delta Dental Customers trust us to help them find the right plan

"I had a great experience with Manny. He is really helpful and funny at the same time which made me not afraid to ask as many question as I would like too."
Garden Grove, CA
"Reuben, the customer service individual could have not been more helpful (very knowledgeable) and was very pleasant to do business with. If the other employees are as competent and helpful as Reuben then, yes, I would recommend this company to anyone!"
Fort Pierce, FL
"Very helpful in identifying the best plan to suit our needs. Agent was professional, polite and efficient. Would recommend without reservations."
Hoschton, GA
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What Is Preventive Dental Care?

When shopping for a new dental plan, you may come across the phrase “preventive dental care.” It’s an important term to understand because preventive dental care services are among the most important and frequently used benefits within dental insurance. The goal of preventive dentistry is to promote good oral health and to prevent oral illnesses, cavities, and disease. A patient can complement the efforts of preventive dentistry through a combination of frequent teeth brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and avoiding smoking as well as food and drinks that can damage teeth.

There are a variety of treatments that dentists provide as part of preventive dental care. These include:

Preventive dentistry is commonly covered in dental plans and may even lack a copayment or other out-of-pocket fee. Preventive dental care is often contrasted with restorative dental care. Examples of restorative care include fillings, crowns, root canals, and bridges. These services run the range of basic to major dental care and traditionally involve out-of-pocket costs on the part of the patient. Other categories of dental care include orthodontry and cosmetic dentistry. This latter category of care includes services such as teeth whitening, white fillings, veneers, and dental implants.