Should You Buy Your Own Dental Insurance?

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It’s an investment, but one you may be glad you made.

It’s an old joke that if you manage to land a job that provides dental insurance, you hold onto it with your life. “The work is excruciating, but we get full dental!” Unfortunately, a lot of entry-to-mid level jobs don’t provide dental insurance, which means if you want it, you might have to pony up for it yourself. So the question is, do you need dental insurance badly enough to shell out for it yourself? Well, there’s a few factors to consider.

The individual cost of dental insurance varies wildly depending on whether you live alone or with a family, as well as the general state of your teeth. If you have naturally resilient teeth and take good care of them, then it might be smarter to just pay for the occasional cleaning at your local dentist out of pocket. Some providers have in-house plans that get you a couple of cleanings a year for a flat rate.

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On the other hand, if you’re prone to regular problems like aches and cavities, it might be smarter to get dental insurance, as you may need to visit a dentist more frequently. Contrary to what the lack of jobs providing it may imply, dental insurance isn’t that expensive if you buy it through a health insurance marketplace, especially compared to health insurance. If you’re only buying it for yourself and you just need a few fillings now and then, as well as the occasional surgical procedure like a wisdom tooth removal, you could probably get a decent plan for $15-$30. Obviously, like health insurance, dental insurance won’t cover everything, but if you’re making regular trips to the dentist, it may be a smarter investment, especially since certain dentists with better equipment might not see you if you’re not insured.

It’s also just a matter of preventative spending. Speaking from experience, no matter how well you take care of your teeth, they have a habit of wrecking themselves, so it may be wise to play it safe and have insurance in case you need a root canal and a crown and don’t want to pay the whole thing out of pocket (which, trust me, costs a lot).

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