Cosmetic Dentistry Discount Cards

Dental discount cards are alternatives to traditional dental insurance and are designed for individuals, families and groups who want to save money on dental procedures.

Dental discount cards, sometimes called discount dental plans, are provided by management companies that negotiate with local dentists’ offices to offer patients discounts of 10 to 70 percent off selected dental procedures. These plans are not the same things as dental insurance.

Dental Discount Cards versus Dental Insurance

Although these two types of dental plans sound similar and they both provide help with payment for dental procedures, they are quite different.

Dental Insurance

Dental insurance is usually offered as part of a benefits package through your employer. Oftentimes, you need to go through a screening or application process, and you can be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. If you are approved or if you receive insurance through your work, you usually need to contact your insurance company and get pre-approval to have your dental work covered.

When your dental work is completed, your dentist usually submits a claim to your insurance company, which then tells you how much you have to pay, usually as part of a deductible or as part of an annual payment allowance. Dental insurance plans are usually expensive, which is why only three in every 10 Americans have dental insurance.

Dental Discount Cards

On the other hand, dental discount cards give you actual discounts on dental procedures. The process is fairly simple. You can find a plan online and then join the plan. Dental discount cards do not have age or health restrictions, and you cannot be denied a dental discount card due to a pre-existing condition.

Once you receive your card, you visit an approved dentist. If the service you receive is covered in your plan, you will receive a discount of up to 70 percent on the service. You must then pay for the entire discounted rate at the time of the service. One of the biggest benefits of dentistry discount cards is likely that anyone can get them and that you only pay for services that you actually receive.

Services Covered

While each discount dental card is different, the types of services usually discounted include:

  • braces
  • cleanings
  • crowns
  • dentures
  • examinations
  • fillings
  • fluoride treatments
  • implants
  • root canals
  • some cosmetic dentistry
  • x-rays.

Cons of Dentistry Discount Cards

Although it is often a favorable and affordable choice for many people, using dental discount cards for dental care can have some drawbacks, including that:

  • Not all dental procedures are eligible for discounts.
  • You must pay for the dental procedure at the time of service.
  • You must visit a dentist who honors the dentistry discount card, which may limit your selection of dentists.
  • You usually have to pay a yearly fee for obtaining and using the card.

Pros of Dental Discount Cards

For some people, the pros outweigh the cons of dental discount cards. Many people find these plans to be an affordable alternative or supplement to dental insurance. The benefits can include:

  • Dental discount plans usually provide discounts for some types of cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics that insurance may not cover.
  • There are no health or age restrictions to receiving a card.
  • There are no yearly maximums on the amount of services you can receive.
  • You cannot be denied a dental discount card due to a pre-existing condition.
  • You will be given a considerable discount on the price of the service that you receive.

The most important thing is to find a dental plan that works best for your individual needs. It is always a good idea to do your homework and know all of the options of the plan you decide to choose.


Discount-Dental (n.d.). Discount Dental Plans vs. Dental Insurance. Retrieved April 11, 2008, from the Discount-Dental Web site.

Singh, Ray (2008). Dental Insurance and Dental Plans-The Difference. Retrieved April 11, 2008, from the eZine Articles Web site.

Stewart, Joe (2007). Dental Discount Cards vs. Dental Insurance-Which Is The Best Deal? Retrieved April 11, 2008, from the eZine Articles Web site.