Don’t Let Your Dental Benefits Go to Waste

By Krista DeKuyper | September 28, 2023 | Dental Care, Health Insurance

Don’t Let Your Dental Benefits Go to Waste. Many Canadians have some form of health and dental insurance coverage. Whether it is employee benefits or an individual health insurance plan, there are almost always dental benefits that form a part of that coverage.

These dental benefits can play a big part in maintaining good dental health, which is a very important factor when it comes to our overall health situation. 

So why do we sometimes allow this dental coverage to go to waste? Not using those benefits is money that’s lost to us!

Types of Dental Coverage and Benefit Levels

There are three main types of dental coverage: basic (or routine) services, preventative services and major dental.

Basic services are routine in nature. They are straightforward and do not typically involve a high degree of cost. Examples of routine services are:

  • Fillings (amalgam and white)
  • Routine extractions (not requiring sedation or a surgeon)
  • Root canals (may be considered major dental, depending on the insurance company involved)
  • Re-cementing of dental crowns

Preventative services consist of dental services that address issues that can result in further problems later on (such as cavities and gum disease). Scalings, cleanings and check-ups are all good examples of this. In addition, laboratory costs such as x-rays are usually lumped into this category.

Some examples of preventative services are:

  • Cleanings
  • Examinations and x-rays
  • Scalings
  • Fluoride treatments

Restorative Services

The final type of dental coverage is major dental, also know as restorative services. Major dental consists of services that are costly to perform and are more complex in nature. Examples of major dental coverages are:

  • Crowns, onlays and inlays
  • Bridges
  • Dentures
  • Corrective procedures

Now that we know the types of dental insurance coverage available let’s look at their corresponding coverage levels.

Most health and dental insurance plans lump preventative and basic services together. Coverage typically ranges from 70% to 100%, with yearly maximums ranging from roughly $600 to $1,200. Generally speaking, employee benefits plans have higher coverage amounts and yearly maximums compared to most individual health plans. (For more about group insurance versus individual health plans go here).

Major restorative services may or may not be offered via an employee benefits plan. Oftentimes major dental is only available via an individual health pan after a given waiting period goes by (a common length of time is 3 years). Major dental is usually covered at 50% to 60%, and any major dental costs add to your yearly maximum total.

Understanding Dental Benefits and Anniversary Years

Health and dental insurance plans have an anniversary year, after which the plan can be renewed.

Most dental insurance plans have their anniversary year based on the effective date of the policy. Coverage is guaranteed for one year after the policy is effective, after which it enters a renewal period.

Having said this, there are some health and dental plans that are based on the calendar year and not the effective date of the policy. Coverage is good up until the end of the calendar year, after which it may be renewed.

It is very important that you know when your policy’s renewal date is, otherwise you may inadvertently leave some unspent dental dollars on the table!

Know Your Benefits and Have a Dental Care Plan

Knowing exactly what you are covered for is the first step to not leaving dental dollars on the table. The second step is to make sure you have a dental plan drawn up with your dentist so that you don’t let any of these benefits go to waste.

Most family dentists automatically write up a dental plan for you once they familiarize themselves with your dental insurance coverage. They should work with you to draw up a schedule for preventative procedures such as cleanings and scalings, along with any required routine services.

You should also make sure that any required major dental services are planned for. Crowns are a common procedure that can take several years to implement, depending on your coverage amount and yearly dental maximum.


We hope you found this article about dental insurance benefits useful.

If you are interested in learning more about health and dental insurance coverage please call us at 1-800-474-4474. We are here to help.

You are also welcome to get instant, online quotes for health and dental insurance plans at our web site, free of charge!