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Secondary Dental Insurance

By Aaron McWilliams - Updated October 18, 2020

Save With Secondary Dental Insurance

Secondary insurance, or “supplemental insurance,” can greatly reduce your medical costs, but it’s a different story for secondary dental insurance. Dental costs all over America continue to rise, but even with dental insurance, many families are having a hard time getting their necessary dental maintenance done. This has left many people searching for secondary, or supplemental, dental insurance. But what is secondary dental insurance, and where can it be found?

Types of Secondary Dental Insurance

When many people speak of secondary insurance, they are referring to a supplementary plan which can be used at the same time as their primary insurance policy. What these people are hoping to do is use their primary policy at the dental office (which leaves them with a co-pay) and then have a second – supplemental – policy which helps cut down the cost of the co-pay from the first policy. This sounds wonderful, and indeed this type of secondary dental insurance would be very beneficial; but in the world of dentistry there are very few policies, if any, which operate this way.


This idea of secondary dental insurance is borrowed from the world of medical insurance. In the medical world, there are companies which do offer true supplemental insurance. However, in the world of dentistry, things run a bit differently. Most dental offices will only honor one policy at a time for any given procedure, therefore not accepting secondary dental coverage in the way most people look for it. The reason why is rather simple. All insurance on the market works with the same method behind the scenes. These companies pre-negotiate a reduced fee for each procedure with the dentist. Therefore a dentist is not compensated for 100% of the work rendered and will only accept one type of coverage per procedure given. Look at it like trying to use a coupon on a product that is already offered at a sale price. In most cases, the store will only accept the sale price or the discount coupon—but it will not profit if it accepts both.

Thankfully, there is another meaning for secondary dental insurance. It is a plan which can be used when the primary policy does not pay at all for certain procedures. This type of supplemental plan is also helpful if a person has reached their maximum on the primary plan. This can be very useful because the patient is still only using one plan at a time while at the dental office. A patient can carry multiple supplemental plans into the dentist; they will just be required to choose one policy or the other when paying the bill.

This type of supplemental help can usually only be found by finding a dental plan that is not technically insurance and doesn’t have similar waiting periods, maximums or deductibles. There are many different dental savings plans available which meet these requirements and can significantly reduce the cost of dental work.

3 Examples Where Secondary Discount Plans Can Be Helpful

Medicare Icon

You are on Medicare or Medicaid. These government programs cover limited dental work, and some only if you have to visit the Emergency Room because it gets so bad.

Dental Insurance Icon

As referenced above, if you have a "traditional" dental insurance policy, with waiting periods, deductibles and maximums which does not cover pre-existing conditions. These limitations mean that many of your procedures will not be covered when you need them. If you have a large family, or even if you need multiple fillings and the occasional root canal, you can quickly hit your maximum and have to pay the rest out of pocket. The premiums are also very expensive – traditional insurance is designed to get more money from you in premiums than it will pay out in claims.

Not Included Icon

Your current plan does not include the procedure you need. (Bear in mind that the Careington 500 Series plan from 1Dental.com helps you save on all dentistry procedures, even certain cosmetic procedures including implants and veneers.)

How do dental savings plans work?

These plans do not have the limitations typical of insurance – making them easy to use, especially in conjunction with another plan.

Your dentist will charge you from a pre-negotiated list of discounts at the time of your visit instead of a filing a claim.

Their in-networkonly systems allow companies to offer them for as little as $99/year.

These plans do not have the limitations typical of insurance – making them easy to use, especially in conjunction with another plan.

These plans do not have the limitations typical of insurance – making them easy to use, especially in conjunction with another plan. While dental offices typically accept only one plan per visit, you can strategically use different plans on different visits. By gaining a dental savings plan in addition to the insurance you already have, you may gain more freedom to save on more procedures!

For example, you can use an additional dental savings plan...

  • During a waiting period.
  • To save on a procedure your insurance won't cover.
  • To discount the subsequent visits after you hit your insurance maximum.
  • To choose on a visit-by-visit basis whether your insurance or your discount plan offers better savings.

To successfully use a dental savings plan in addition to the insurance you already have:

Determine the procedures that you need and what type of dentist you need (general dentist, orthodontist, etc.)

Check with your original insurance and with your discount program to determine which offers the lowest price for each procedure (plans like the Care 500 plan have all their prices available online.

Schedule your appointments based on which plan will save you the most money

At the time of your visit, tell the dental office which plan you would like to use for that visit.

Instead of secondary dental insurance, using a dental discount plan to supplement your primary dental insurance is typically cheap and easy. Finding the right dental savings plan is fast and easy when you visit 1Dental.com .

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