Best Dental Insurance for Seniors


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Retirement Living analyzed 19 dental insurance plans and bundles to determine the best senior dental plans. After consulting with licensed insurance experts and evaluating each provider’s offerings, we identified the eight best dental insurance for seniors according to cost, waiting periods, and coverage for preventative, basic, and major care.

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  • Great for dental and vision plans
  • Low-cost family rates
  • U.S. and U.K. dental network

Careington Dental offers four dental discount plans for individuals and families. Dental plans start at $9.95 per month with a one-time $20 processing fee. Each plan offers dental discounts at over 67,000 dental partners, with no deductibles or coverage limits to worry about.

(6 Reviews)
  • Great dental marketplace
  • 10% to 60% savings
  • 25+ plans offered provides dental coverage to more than 1 million customers across all 50 states. has an extensive network including more than 100,000 dentists across the country.

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  • Great for no waiting periods
  • Elite care coordinators
  • National network of 200,000+ providers

Smart Health Dental offers insurance plans with up to 100% coverage on preventive procedures. Depending on plan type, seniors can get up to 50% coverage on treatment and repairs to bridges, implants, and dentures. Plans come with no waiting period, so you can use your benefits immediately.

(4 Reviews)
  • Great network
  • DMO, PPO and hybrid plans
  • Well-known provider

Aetna offers multiple dental insurance plans. Choose from network-only DMO plans, network option PPO plans, hybrid plans and dental indemnity plans.

(3 Reviews)
  • Great lifetime deductible
  • Range of coverage options
  • Great loyalty benefits

Spirit Dental offers dental insurance for children and adults in the United States, with options for orthodontia, senior dental care and vision insurance. The company features affordable plans with higher maximum benefits compared to competitors, including a $100 lifetime deductible.

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  • Great for annual cleanings
  • Annual max benefit increases
  • Plan variety

Denali Dental & Vision offers three dental insurance plans to cover individuals of all ages. The Denali Ridge and Summit plans cover 100% of preventive services, up to your annual maximum, including two exams and four cleanings per year — almost unheard of in the dental insurance industry. A network of over 300,000 dentists across the country covers services provided at any dentist you prefer.

(4 Reviews)
  • Great for bundling
  • Save 25% by paying annually
  • No deductibles, significant savings

1Dental sells dental discount plans for an affordable annual fee in exchange for savings all year round on dental and orthodontic procedures and throws in free vision discount benefits. No waiting periods.

Guardian Dental
(28 Reviews)
  • No waiting period, preventative care
  • $1,500 annual maximum payout
  • 80% coverage for basic care

One of the largest dental insurance providers in the country, Guardian offers Guardian Dental Direct individual policies across the country with excellent coverage options and low rates usually reserved for group plans.


Retirement Living analyzed 11 dental insurance plans to determine the best vision insurance for seniors. Each dental insurance plan was evaluated based on the following key metrics, which we determined after consulting with licensed insurance experts:

  • Cost (premiums, deductibles)
  • Senior plan types (individual, individual +1) 
  • Care coverage for basic, preventative, and major care
  • Network 
  • Plan availability
  • Bundling options
  • Provider reputations

Specifically, we evaluated member plans that would be most valuable to seniors. This included coverage for dentures and implants, as well as dental plans available for seniors on Medicare and with existing vision coverage. To source dental plan cost information, we used a zipcode in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Comparing the Best Dental Insurance Companies for Seniors

ProviderLowest-premium PPO planLimitDeductibleAvailabilityCare Coverage*
Careington Dental500 Dental
Savings Plan
(discount plan)
NoneN/ANot available in VT or WA20% to 60% discount per visit
DentalPlans.com25+ optionsVaries$50–$150NationwideVaries
Smart Health DentalPreventative PPO$750$0NationwidePreventative: 80% year 1; 100% years 2 & 3
Basic: 50%–80%
Major: 0%
Aetna DentalDirect Preferred PPO$1,250$50 per person
$150 per family
NationwidePreventative: 80%
Basic: 100%
Major: 50%
Spirit Dental & VisionPreventive Plus PPO$750 ($1,000 year 3)$100 lifetimeVariesPreventative:100%
Basic: 50%
Major: 20%
Denali Dental & VisionDenali Ridge PlanUp to $6,000$100 lifetimeNot available in AK, KS, MD, ME, MO, MT, NC, NM, NY, PA, RI, SD, UT and WAPreventative:100%
Basic: 50%
Major: 10% (up to 50% in fourth year)
1DentalDental Access Plan (discount plan)NoneN/ANationwide15% – 50% discount per visit
Guardian DentalStarter$500 ($1,00 year 3+)$0 in-network
$50 out-of-network
Basic: 50%
Major: 0%
Dental Insurance for Seniors
*Year one

Should Seniors Buy Dental Insurance? Our Verdict

Oral health is important at any age, especially as you age. Seniors may deal with age-related oral health problems like receding gums, lower saliva production, and physical or cognitive limitations that make brushing and flossing more difficult.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should see a dentist annually, even if you don’t have any teeth or wear dentures. Dental check-ups can help detect and prevent issues like cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover most dental services, including routine cleanings, unless a dental procedure directly relates to a covered medical treatment. 

The dental insurance plans listed here cover 100% of preventative services that Medicare won’t cover. If you opt for a dental discount plan, you could save between 15% to 60% on the cost of dental treatment.

Dental care is expensive in much of the country, rendering it unaffordable for many. But poor dental hygiene can lead to other health problems, such as:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Cardiovascular disease

So, should you buy dental insurance? If it will help you pay for preventive services and routine dental care, yes. 

Senior dental plans are relatively affordable, as you’ll see below. Whether you opt for a dental discount plan or a dental insurance policy, it’s important to find some way to save on procedures common for seniors. 

Buying Tip

Many of the insurance providers featured on our list offer the option to bundle vision insurance and additional services helpful to seniors, such as telehealth, hearing, and prescription benefits. When comparing dental insurance costs, consider how bundling might help you save on healthcare expenses overall.

Best Dental Insurance Plans and Providers

Careington Dental

Great dental and vision plan | 5 Stars

Careington Dental offers several dental discount plans to cover your oral health needs after you reach your dental insurance limits or as a stand-alone product. You can save up to 60% on dental services like implants, crowns, root canals, veneers, and dentures. Each plan offers dental discounts at over 67,000 dental partners, with no deductibles or coverage limits to worry about. 

Choose from the budget-friendly Careington POS with complimentary prescription drug savings, the Careington 500 Series, which includes everything plus discount savings on vision care, Lasik, and prescriptions, or the 500 Plus Series, which provides free 24/7 telemedicine consults. 

  • Bundling options: Vision, Lasik, hearing, prescriptions
  • Network: Over 67,000 providers
  • Waiting periods: 72 hours
  • Availability: Nationwide 
  • Annual deductibles: None
  • Coverage limits: None

Great dental marketplace | 5 Stars offers over 25 dental savings and dental insurance plans from top insurers like Cigna, Aetna, Humana, and Delta Dental. You can choose your plan by your budget, dental needs, or dentist. Members save around 50% on dental procedures with their dental savings plans. Dental insurance plans typically cover 100% of preventive services, 80% of basic care, and 50% of major care procedures.

  • Bundling options: Telemedicine, vision, prescription, group plans
  • Network: Over 100,000 in-network dentists
  • Waiting periods: 72 hours for dental discount plans; up to 6 months for preventive and basic care; 12 months for major work
  • Availability: Nationwide
  • Annual deductibles: None for dental discount plans; $50 per person and $150 per family for dental insurance policies
  • Coverage limits: Varies by dental plan

Smart Health Dental

Great for no waiting periods | 5 Stars offers over 25 dental savings and dental insurance plans from top insurers like Cigna, Aetna, Humana, and Delta Dental. You can choose your plan by your budget, dental needs, or dentist. Members save around 50% on dental procedures with their dental savings plans. Dental insurance plans typically cover 100% of preventive services, 80% of basic care, and 50% of major care procedures.

Smart Health Dental partners with Renaissance Dental for dental insurance with no waiting periods or deductibles. The Preventive PPO plan covers diagnostic and preventive services at 100% and up to 80% of basic services. The Comprehensive Elevate plan covers 80% of routine care, 40% of basic, and 20% of major services, with increasing coverage each year. 

While its maximum coverage amount is lower than some plans, the plan’s ability to cover a bigger portion of major services in year one could help seniors save more. Through Aetna, Smart Health Dental also provides discount dental plans for seniors with 15% to 50% savings on various dental procedures such as bridges, root canals, dentures, implants, and bridges.

  • Bundling options: Vision, prescriptions, and telemedicine (dental discount plans)
  • Network: National network of 200,000+ providers 
  • Waiting periods: None
  • Availability: Nationwide
  • Annual deductibles: None
  • Coverage limits: $750 first year

Aetna Dental

Great network | 5 Stars

Although Aetna has a vast network of over 400,000 dental providers, its PPO plans allow you to see dentists in and out of the network, though you’ll save more with in-network providers. Aetna’s budget-friendly Preventive PPO covers 100% routine exams, cleanings, images, and sealants. The Dental Direct Core and Preferred PPOs cover basic and major services. However, you’ll pay 10% to 30% more for services with a lower annual benefit maximum with the Core plan. 

There’s also the Aetna Vital Savings discount card for dental care your insurance won’t cover or after you meet your coverage maximum. You’ll get 15% to 50% on dental care, prescription savings, and access to special offers on healthy living programs like gym memberships, Lasik, massage therapy, and weight-loss programs. 

  • Bundling options: Prescription savings, vision, healthy living discount program
  • Network: Over 420,000 dental providers
  • Waiting periods: None for preventive services; 6 months for basic services; 12 months for major services (waivable if insured for the last 90 days)
  • Availability: Nationwide
  • Annual deductibles: $50 per person; $150 per family
  • Coverage limits: $750 – $1,250

Spirit Dental & Vision

Great lifetime deductible | 5 Stars

Spirit has several dental plans, including its Spirit Senior Preferred PPO. This plan covers 100% of preventive services, 65% basic services, and 20% major services, increasing in the second year to 100% basic and 50% major, up to $3,000 in annual benefits. Spirit stands out for its one-time $100 deductible instead of a yearly deductible like most dental plans. While most dental plans only allow two cleanings per year, Spirit Dental allows three cleanings per benefit year and two exams — this is a huge benefit for seniors needing preventative care.

The senior dental plan also includes hearing benefits of up to $75 per year for an exam and a $200 hearing aid benefit in the first year, increasing to $300 in the second year and $400 in the third year. You can also add vision benefits to your plan for $7 per month, making it one of the best dental and vision insurance bundle options available.

  • Bundling options: Vision, hearing
  • Network: Ameritas dental network (Over 592,000 access points)
  • Waiting periods: None
  • Availability: Varies by plan
  • Annual deductibles: $100 lifetime
  • Coverage limits: $750 – $1,500 first year

Denali Dental & Vision

Great for annual cleanings | 5 Stars

Denali dental and vision plans use the Renaissance network, which has over 300,000 dental and 98,000 vision access points nationwide. This means that Denali is a good option if you are shopping for a dental and vision insurance bundle. The Denali Ridge and Summit plans cover 100% of preventive services, up to your annual maximum, including two exams and four cleanings per year — almost unheard of in the dental insurance industry. 

There are no waiting periods; you only have to pay one lifetime deductible. Both plans allow for out-of-network providers, though you’ll save up to 50% by choosing an in-network provider.

  • Bundling options: Vision
  • Network: Renaissance Dental network (over 300,000 dental access points)
  • Waiting periods: None
  • Availability: 37 states and Washington, D.C.
  • Annual deductibles: $100 lifetime per person in-network; $200 lifetime per person out-of-network
  • Coverage limits: $750 – $1,200 first year


Great for bundling | 5 Stars

Consider 1Dental if you’re looking for the best dental and vision insurance bundle. 1Dental offers dental discount plans from two top dental insurers, Careington and Aetna Dental Access, and vision benefits through EyeMed. The dental discount plans have no waiting periods, deductibles, or caps on dental services, and you can save up to 50% on dental care when you see an in-network dentist. You can purchase a single plan or combine both and get a bundled rate that helps you save on basic care and specialist services. Both plans include vision and prescription discount savings. You can also save 25% by paying annually for your plan. 

  • Bundling options: Vision and prescription plan, bundling both dental plans unlocks additional savings
  • Network: Over 226,000 dentists in Aetna Dental Access network; over 67,000 providers in Careington network
  • Waiting periods: None
  • Availability: Nationwide
  • Annual deductibles: None
  • Coverage limits: None

Guardian Dental

No waiting period, preventative care | 5 Stars

Guardian Dental offers HMO and PPO dental plans, though plan availability varies by state. HMO plans are typically cheaper but only provide coverage for in-network dentists. PPO plans allow you to see any dentist, but you can save up to 40% by choosing an in-network provider. 

With multiple options available, it’s easy to find a plan that meets your dental needs, whether your focus is preventive or restorative care. The Diamond plan covers half the cost for implants, dentures and orthodontics following a 12-month wait, and 80% coverage for basic care (such as fillings) with no waiting period. For its Achiever and Diamond plans, Guardian Dental offers a generous $1,500 annual maximum payout for services, which is higher than some competitors.

  • Bundling options: None
  • Network: Over 130,000 providers nationwide
  • Waiting periods: Varies by plan
  • Availability: Nationwide
  • Annual deductibles: $0 in-network; $50 for out-of-network
  • Coverage limits: $500 – $1,500

What Is the Best Dental Insurance With No Waiting Period?

Several of our list of best senior dental plans don’t have a waiting period for preventive care. The best dental insurance with no waiting period for basic and major services are:

A waiting period is the time between when you buy your policy and when it starts paying for covered dental care. Most dental insurance plans require a 6-month wait for basic services and 12 months for major services. 

If you go to the dentist for a procedure during the waiting period, the dental plan won’t cover it, and you’ll have to pay in full. The insurance company might even consider it a pre-existing condition because it happened before you had dental coverage and won’t cover the same procedure if you need it again.

Expert Tip

“If you need basic or major work done and your waiting period isn’t over, I recommend considering a dental discount plan, too. It usually comes with no waiting periods; even if there is, it’s three days or less. By combining coverage, you can get your dental work done at a discounted rate instead of waiting months for your waiting period to be over and risking further damage or unnecessary pain.”

Best Dental Insurance for Seniors On Medicare

The best dental insurance for seniors on Medicare depends on their dental health and history and their type of Medicare plan. 

Original Medicare doesn’t cover dental services unless the services are necessary for a covered Medicare procedure to succeed. For example, if you have an infected tooth that must come out before you can be cleared for a surgery Medicare covers, it will cover the required dental service. 

Most Medicare Advantage plans provide routine dental coverage, but fewer cover basic and major services. If they do, the benefit usually has a low annual maximum limit of $1,000 or less, and you must use an in-network provider. 

For seniors who need more dental coverage, we recommend the following options:

  1. Offers plans from Medicare-friendly insurance companies like Cigna Dental, Humana, and Delta Dental. 
  2. Spirit Senior Preferred PPO: In addition to dental coverage, it includes hearing and vision benefits you might not have with an Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan. 
  3. Dental discount plans: This might be better for some older adults, as it provides a discount rather than dental insurance. Before booking an appointment, just make sure you contact the dentist first to ensure they’re still in the plan’s network.
Dental X-ray
Dental X-ray. Source: Getty

What Does Dental Insurance Cover?

Dental insurance helps cover your out-of-pocket costs. While the specifics of coverage may vary, a comprehensive dental insurance plan is designed to cover a wide range of preventive and comprehensive services, providing you with peace of mind about your oral health.

Here’s what most dental plans for seniors cover:

  • Preventive services such as exams, dental X-rays, and one to four cleanings per year. Most plans don’t have a waiting period for preventive care and cover costs at 100%, up to the number of allowed services per year.
  • Basic services like fillings, simple extractions, and periodontal maintenance services. Some plans don’t have a waiting period, but a 6-month waiting period is common. Plans cover between 30% and 100% of basic care, but some have graduated coverage that increases at each renewal.
  • Major services are usually restorative procedures like dental implants, crowns, inlays, veneers, bridges, and dentures. These services are the most expensive and typically have the least coverage, ranging from 20% to 60%.
  • Annual maximum limit: This is the most the dental insurance company will pay for a covered service in a single year. There may be a cap per service type or a limit that applies to all covered services.
  • Lifetime maximum limit: A lifetime limit is the total amount the insurer will pay through the life of the policy. For example, it’s common to have a lifetime limit on orthodontia, like Spirit dental plans, which cap orthodontic services at $1,200 per child.

When to Consider Supplemental Dental Insurance

Dental implants, bridges, and other restorative procedures can cost thousands of dollars, and your dentist might not offer a payment plan. Even the best dental insurance plan can have coverage gaps or long waits for comprehensive dental benefits. You might consider supplemental dental insurance depending on your overall health and dental care needs.

The perfect plan might be different types of plans to meet your needs. 

For instance, you might pick a plan that your preferred dentist is in-network and covers preventive care at 100%. Then, get another plan with a high annual maximum for major dental work and the largest network of dentists so you can find the right specialist for your future needs. If you need work done sooner, buy a plan with a short or no waiting period for major services.

Medicare beneficiaries on a fixed income can often qualify for a Medicare Supplement dental plan with a $0 premium through insurers like Humana, Aetna, and Cigna. Check out the Medicare Advantage marketplace to see what you qualify for and at what cost.

You could also add a dental discount plan, which offers additional discounts for eyewear, contacts, and hearing aids. Dental discount plans don’t have coverage caps, waiting periods, or lifetime limits. They can be a good choice to use in place of dental insurance (you can’t use insurance and discount plans for the same procedure).

How to Compare Dental Plans for Seniors

Consider the following when searching for the best dental insurance for seniors:


The cost you pay for your dental insurance plan is known as the premium. Many plans require annual premiums, though some offer monthly premiums with a small billing fee.


Depending on your deductible, you’ll have to pay a certain amount for covered services before your insurer starts paying its share. Most plans come with annual deductibles you must meet each year, but some, like Spirit and Denali Dental, have lifetime deductibles you only have to meet once.

Dental Services Covered

Most dental plans have exclusions, so check your policy carefully to ensure there’s coverage for the services you need. For example, many plans exclude adult orthodontic care; some might exclude some restorative services like dental implants.

Everyone has different dental needs. If you only go to the dentist for exams and cleanings, focus on a plan that covers preventive care at 100% and at least two cleanings per year. But if you have basic or restorative dental care needs, look for plans with robust comprehensive coverage with a large annual maximum to get the most out of the policy.

Out-of-pocket Costs

The most comprehensive plan covers the majority of expenses, reducing overall costs. Compare affordable dental insurance plans to find the right one with the maximum benefit to help you maintain a healthy smile in your golden years.


Some policies have a maximum annual benefit for all services, while others have different caps for various services. Pay attention when comparing plans, as some may have a lifetime benefit for certain procedures like orthodontia, implants, or dentures.

Waiting Periods

Some of the best dental plans for seniors don’t have waiting periods, but many have 6- or 12-month gaps for basic and major dental work before your plan will start paying for covered procedures.

Compare Top Dental Insurance Companies

4.6 Stars
DentalPlans logo
4.8 Stars
4.6 Stars

PPO Dental Insurance vs. HMO Dental Insurance

Another factor to consider is the type of insurance you buy. The most common dental plans are plans for dental health maintenance organizations (DHMOs) or dental preferred provider organizations (DPPOs).

Compared to a DPPO, a DHMO typically has:

  • Cheaper premiums
  • No annual maximum
  • Small or no deductibles
  • Set copays or covered service amounts predetermined between your insurer and dentist
  • Little or no copay for preventive care

Although DPPOs are often more expensive and may require you to pay more for services out of pocket, they have benefits that might make PPO plans more attractive than HMO plans: a large network of providers, no specialist referrals, and out-of-network coverage.

If you choose an HMO plan, you’re only covered if you see an in-network provider. And if you require a specialist like an endodontist or oral surgeon, you need a referral first. PPO plans allow you to see any dentist or specialist without a referral, but you’ll usually pay more out of pocket for out-of-network dentists.

Monthly Cost of Senior Dental Plans

Monthly premiums for a senior dental plan depend on the insurance company, plan type and coverage details, and your ZIP code. To answer the question, “how much is dental insurance?” we sourced plan costs for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a city that was recently named a top retirement destination. 

Here are some examples of what a dental plan for seniors might cost you. Plans for two people or a family will have higher rates.

Dental Insurance CompanyDental PlanMonthly Cost, Individual
AetnaDental Direct Preferred PPO$25
Delta DentalPPO Individual Premium Plan$36
HumanaComplete Dental Insurance$54
Renaissance DentalDental Insurance Plan III$39
Spirit DentalSenior Preferred PPO$33
GuardianAchiever Plan$44
Senior Dental Plan Costs

Cost of Common Dental Procedures Without Insurance

Dental insurance often pays off for seniors, especially when considering the costs of common dental procedures. We sourced dental procedure cost estimates using the independent non-profit FAIR Health Consumer and listed the most common ones below.

ProcedureCost Estimate*
X-Rays$70 – $92
Root canal$1,230 – $1,849
Tooth extraction$196 – $456
Filling$195 – $273
Crown, inlay, onlay$1,225 – $1,675
Periodontal services$286 – $334
Dentures (complete)$2,336 – $3,089
Bridges and implants$1,306 – $9,524
Routine adult cleaning$119 – $147
General exam$69 – $85
Dental Procedure Costs, No Insurance
**Calculated using pricing estimates for Alabama, a state with a low healthcare cost index and Washington, a state with a high healthcare cost index, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

Senior Dental Insurance FAQS

Does Medicare cover dentures?

Original Medicare doesn’t, but some Medicare Advantage plans cover dentures. Plans vary in terms of coverage details, such as the deductible, copay, and annual maximum benefit limit. You are also typically restricted on how often you can get a new set of dentures; every five years is the most common.

Do seniors get free dental care in the USA?

Seniors can get free dental care in the USA. Here are a few places to look:

  • The Oral Health America (OHA) website
  • Call the Department of Aging to speak with an Eldercare location specialist.
  • Dial 211 to connect with a United Way-trained professional who can help you find the right organization or agency in your area.
  • Contact the Medicaid and Medicare Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
  • People with little or no income can find federally-funded health centers to get sliding scale dental care through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
  • Call the Dental Life Network at 303-534-5360 to see if you qualify for free dental treatments.
  • Dentistry From The Hearth (DFTH) provides free cleanings, fillings, and extractions for those in need, thanks to a network of volunteer dentists and hygienists.
  • Check the American Student Dental Association’s website for a list of dental hygiene schools in your area for low-cost preventive care.
  • The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics has 1,400 clinics nationwide offering affordable dental care to those in need.

Dental Insurance Companies By State

Conclusion on Dental Insurance

Bottom Line: Cost and coverage are the two most important factors to consider when searching for dental insurance companies.

Our top choices offer an excellent selection of policies and discounts that can protect your savings without requiring you to pay excessive premiums. The companies service almost all markets in the U.S. Remember that you can probably go out of network to see the dentist you prefer, but you will pay more out of pocket for doing so. If you have a favorite dentist, call their office to ask what dental insurances consider them in-network.

Senior citizens are very likely to have dental care expenses that could increase as the years go by and they currently can’t rely on Medicare to cover the costs. Dental insurance and dental discount memberships are an affordable way to manage these costs but know what you are buying and understand the levels of coverage before you buy a plan.

1Great networkAetna Dental
2Great dental
3Great lifetime deductibleSpirit Dental
4Great for dental and vision plansCareington
5Great for annual cleaningsDenali Dental
6Great for
7No waiting period, preventative careGuardian
8Great for no waiting periodsSmart Health Dental
The Best Dental Insurance Companies

Additional Dental Insurance Resources

If you’re over 65 and looking for dental coverage read these important things to know about dental insurance before making a selection.

While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires kids to have dental insurance, it’s optional for adults. Dental insurance companies work with the ACA to meet this requirement and give you, the adult, options for coverage as well. Read about dental insurance and the ACA.

If you’re concerned about paying for dental procedures, here are nine affordable dental care options.

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