Dental insurance in the UK
May 13, 2007 by Peter Jameson
Dental insurance offers more flexibility because you get to choose the dentist that you want and you can claim for treatment whether you use a NHS dentist or decide to go private. By and large, you will pay the dentist for your treatment and then claim the money back from your insurer.
There is no obligation to go for a check up prior to taking out insurance and premiums are based solely on your age and they can vary widely, so be sure to shop around.
Extent of cover
Dental policies don’t often pay for the full cost of treatment and most policies set their maximum payouts in any twelve month period and some will only pay 75% of the treatment with an annual maximum cap. You will generally have to enroll three to six months prior to using a plan but be sure to check this with the insurer before you sign up.
Dental insurance will pay for all treatment such as crowns, root canals, bridges, dentures and other laboratory work up to the maximum annual limits. Emergency treatment is also normally available through dental insurance plans but exclusions might include cosmetic work and orthodontic treatment such as braces and implants.
You might also discover that treatment of oral cancer, the surgical removal of roots, treatments on the salivary glands and things like serious dental abscesses are excluded.
You might also consider signing up for capitation schemes as these schemes allow you to pay on a monthly basis instead of paying your bill every time you visit. The premium is determined after you have consulted a dentist and it covers most regular treatment including check-ups and might also cover fillings, X-rays and extractions.
They are probably the best choice if your teeth are in good health and you just need them to be maintained.
The downside to capitation schemes is that you can only visit a dentist that has signed up for such a scheme, so if you already have a dentist you may have to change him or her.
If you do decide to take out a capitation scheme please make sure that you read your policy terms and conditions very carefully as some schemes don’t cover the cost of laboratory work like crowns, bridges or cosmetic dentistry.