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If you live in the UK, you may well receive dental care through the NHS. However, if for whatever reason you are not willing or able to have an NHS dentist, or if you require a lot of dental work, you may have considered health insurance that covers dental care.

You may be wondering what exactly dental cover is and whether it is included in most medical insurance policies. In this article, we answer these questions.

What is dental cover?

Dental cover is a part of health insurance that pays for oral health and maintenance. It covers everything from routine check-ups to emergency care, from oral cancer care to complex treatments such as fillings, crowns, and oral surgery.

However, it should be noted that dental cover does not include cosmetic work such as teeth whitening or veneers.

With dental cover, you can get back the money you paid your private or NHS dentist for treatment. After paying your dentist up-front, you will later be reimbursed by your insurer. If you like, you can choose to pay an excess on your dental cover, as with most other types of medical insurance.

Dental cover protects you from steep treatment fees in the future. Even though the NHS, care costs can be quite high. Paying insurance means you don’t have to worry about making unexpected large payments.

Another benefit of dental cover is that it lets you avoid long NHS waiting lists. You can access care promptly and without hassle.

Does health insurance cover dental?

Most medical insurance policies do not cover dental work by default. However, you can usually add dental cover as an independent health cash plan. This is when you pay for the treatment up-front and later get your money back from your insurer.

Dental insurance plans will have a predetermined cover limit—for example, £300 per year. This means that your insurance plan will cover up to £300 of work for you.

Is dental care covered as standard?

Dental care is not usually covered under a standard health insurance policy and must be added on. Like optical cover, dental cover is a bolt-on benefit. This means that it does not impact your core insurance policy but instead is more like a separate health plan.

What is included in dental cover as part of health insurance?

Dental care pays for oral health and maintenance. As such, it includes a wide range of treatments and care. Some of these include:

  • Routine dental treatment: this includes regular check-ups, dental x-rays, and simple hygiene treatments like scaling, cleaning, and polishing.
  • Emergency care: dental emergencies must be treated in a timely fashion to avoid long-term complications. Examples of such emergencies include bleeding, abscesses, and swelling, or trauma such as breaking or knocking out a tooth.
  • Restorative or remedial dental treatment: this type of treatment includes fitting dentures, crowns, fillings, bridges, etc.
  • Unexpected restorative or remedial dental treatment: this includes cover for mouth cancer treatment.
  • Oral surgery.

When purchasing dental cover, you should always double-check precisely what your insurance covers.

What types of dental care are not covered by health insurance?

Dental care does not cover cosmetic dental treatment. Procedures such as tooth whitening or the application of veneers are therefore not included in dental insurance plans.

Most policies also do not include treatment for pre-existing conditions—for instance, returning problems with a root canal. Each insurer will have its own definition of what exactly constitutes a ‘pre-existing condition,’ so you should always check your policy documents to see what treatments are or are not covered under your plan.

If you are still unsure what types of care and treatment are covered by your insurance plan, you should reach out to either your insurer or insurance broker for clarification.

Health insurance plans with dental coverage

If you are interested in purchasing dental cover, you may be wondering which providers offer it as an option. Many of the leading insurers in the UK offer dental cover as a bolt-on benefit. It is well-worth looking thoroughly into the providers available to you, but here is a shortlist of options to get you started:

  • AXA Health offers two different kinds of dental insurance. One covers people who receive treatment through the NHS; the other is for people who receive private dental treatment.
  • Bupa also offers dental insurance. Their Dental Cover 20 plan is available to patients receiving private treatment.
  • Simplyhealth offers four different levels of dental cover ranging from £9.55 per month to £28.87 per month. Each tier comes with different benefits and offers a different level of cover, with the most expensive option offering the most protection.

Why should I have dental cover?

Ultimately, whether you choose to have dental cover is up to you; however, it is worth considering. Oral care and maintenance can be quite expensive. Dental insurance is an affordable way of making sure you get the care you need without having to pay unexpected large fees.

With dental cover, you can also avoid the long waiting lists of the NHS, meaning that you can receive treatment promptly. The earlier you deal with dental issues, the better, as acting early can save you from dealing with longer-lasting problems.

If you are interested in purchasing dental cover, make sure that you investigate all available options to see which provider offers the best policy for you.

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