Health Insurance

Best Dental Plans With No Waiting Periods

Sophie Wei
Sophie Wei3 Apr 2023

ypically, most dental plans have extensive waiting periods before coverage begins. These periods can last anywhere from 6-12 months and can prevent services such as tooth extractions, cavity fillings, dental surgery, and other services from being covered. However, a select number of dental plans with no waiting period have affordable premiums and reasonable deductibles. We have gathered some options for you to consider below: 

Best Dental Plans With No Waiting Periods

The following chart outlines the best dental plans with no waiting periods tailored to different dental needs. This chart also breaks down the advantages and disadvantages associated with each plan.  

Best for: Pros Cons

Best overall:  

Spirit Dental and Vision

  • No waiting period for any service
  • High annual maximums, up to $5000
  • Ability to choose your own dentist
  • Plans are not available in every state


Most affordable:

Delta Dental

  • No deductibles
  • Only co-pays per procedure.


  • Some more complex procedures are not covered
  • Premiums must be paid upfront


Best for preventative care: Humana


  • Covered on the first effective date with a large network of providers
  • Extensive routine service and cleaning coverage annually


  • Minimal orthodontic-related coverage
Best for basic coverage: UnitedHealthcare
  • No waiting period for basic coverage, and accepted in each state
  • Can add 3 individuals to your plan per family for $50 deductible


  • Plans vary by state


Best for veterans: 


  • Affordable coverage for veterans and CHAMPVA members
  • Ability to see out-of-network providers
  • No annual in-network deductible


  • Waiting period for orthodontic-related coverage
Best for orthodontics: Ameritas
  • All plans include orthodontic coverage
  • Next-day coverage an no enrollment fees
  • Child orthodontic services available


  • Limited to in-network providers for lower-cost plans


Deductible and Coverage Limit Per Dental Insurer

The following chart outlines the differences in deductible cost and coverage limits for the plans mentioned above. The differences between the number of in-network providers for each plan is illustrated below: 

CompanyIn-network ProvidersDeductibleCoverage Limit
Spirit Vision and Dental111,500 providers$100 lifetime deductible $750-5,000
Delta Dental364,000 providers

No deductibles

Copays are <$20 for up to two cleanings per year

Humana270,000 providers$75 annual $1,000-1,500
United Healthcare1.3 million providers$50 annual $1,000-3,000
Met Life 146,000 providers$25-75 per individual $1,000-3,500
Ameritas111,500 providers$50 annual deductible$750-2,500

Why Choose a Dental Plan With No Waiting Period?

Coverage for dental services can be difficult to obtain; dental waiting periods are an additional obstacle to dental coverage. The duration of the waiting periods might vary; some may last for even 12 months after enrollment. Additionally, depending on your plan, waiting periods might apply only for particular procedures, such as major surgeries or even routine procedures. However, sometimes waiting periods can be waived. This usually requires a letter demonstrating continual coverage; if you have had a gap in coverage, you are typically not eligible to waive your waiting period. 

There are two main types of waiting periods: 

  1. Employer waiting period: if you receive insurance coverage from your employer, they might mandate a certain waiting period before your coverage starts
  2. Pre-existing condition waiting period: some insurance companies have waiting periods specifically for individuals with pre-existing conditions; this is to prevent people from buying an insurance plan just to cover a major surgery or expensive procedure.

On the other hand, plans without waiting periods allow you to access care immediately once your plan is active. This is beneficial because your dental services can be covered as soon as you enroll in your insurance plan. You do not need to provide any documentation to waive said waiting period.

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Dental Plan Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some frequently asked questions to help you better understand waiting periods and dental plans. 

What is a frequency limitation on a dental plan? 

Frequency limitations are restrictions set by certain insurance companies. Essentially, these restrictions limit the number of services you have coverage for under your plan. Frequency limitations might limit the amount of dental cleanings you can get annually or might limit the number of x-ray services you can receive. These limitations vary from plan to plan. 

What is a dental insurance maximum? 

A dental insurance maximum is a limitation set by your insurer for the amount of money they can spend for your coverage. For instance, most plans have maximum limits of around $1,000-2,000. This means that the services you use annually must not be billed for over your maximum, or you will be responsible for the full cost. 

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What happens if I go to the dentist during a waiting period? 

Depending on your plan, whatever services are not covered during the waiting period, you will be responsible for the full out-of-pocket cost. However, it is important to note that although some plans have waiting periods, those periods might only be applicable to certain procedures or surgeries. Some plans offer immediate dental cleanings with no waiting period but waiting periods for more intensive procedures. As such, it is important to know what services might be covered under your respective plan. 

Bottom Line

Immediate access to dental services is often necessary as routine dental procedures are essential to preventative care. Dental insurance can be difficult to deal with as the majority of plans mandate extensive waiting periods that might prevent you from adequate care. As such, if you value your dental health, consider the plans listed above and take control of your dental health today!

Sophie Wei

Sophie is a 2024 Pharm D. candidate studying pharmacy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She has a passion for healthcare and writing and hopes to make meaningful contributions to healthcare transparency and accessibility. In her free time, she likes to take care of her houseplants, cook, and hang out with her cat.