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Best Dental Insurance South Africa


“A great smile is the universal welcome!” So make sure your pearly whites get the cover they deserve!

Many medical aid schemes do not cover dental work which often comes as a shock to customers that weren’t aware of the small print on their policy! With costs of dental work rising year on year, you should look to extend your traditional medial aid cover with an appropriate dental insurance plan.

Why do I need Dental Insurance?

As you get older, the health of your teeth becomes more and more important and will have a significant impact on your overall quality of life in the latter years. As such, it only makes sense to take good care of your teeth with good general oral hygiene and good quality dentistry – however many people put off dental expenses until it’s too late! Many dental procedures – such as root canals or extractions and even the standard filling – are all avoidable with regular checkups and quick action when dental work is required.

However, the rising cost of living, additional squeeze on incomes and more restrictive terms in general medical cover have meant that many South Africans simply can’t afford proper dental work when it is needed. Consider the average costs of some more common procedures below:

Typical Dental Procedure Costs:

Root canal: R900 to R2 500
Crown: R2 500 to R4 500
Implant: R8 000 to R25 000, plus possible theatre costs (R 10 000)
Wisdom Teeth Removal: R7 000 to R20 000, depending on whether done in hospital or at dentist’s practice
Source: Dental Risk Company

Whilst a dental insurance policy is unlikely to cover the cost of full treatment, depending on which policy you select, it will help ease the cost burden significantly!

This gap in traditional medical insurance can be successfully filled by purchasing a dental insurance policy that will ensure crucial dental work is not delayed, or worse still, ignored, as a result of the associated costs.

I have medical aid – do I need dental insurance?

It is a common misconception that your medical aid will automatically cover dental work as well! This is unfortunately less and less common, with most medical aid schemes providing no cover at all for dental work or expecting policy holders to cover these by dipping into emergency funds or medial savings accounts. This is often not realistic, as members rely on these funds to cover the normal medical expenses.

How to find the best dental insurance in South Africa

If you’re looking for the best dental cover available to South Africans, we list some of the more popular dental cover providers below this article to help you make an informed decision!

Opting for dental cover will provide the peace of mind that you know you and your family are covered for any unforeseen – or expected – dental expenses and will greatly help in budgeting your medical expenses appropriately.

Like with all insurance, make sure you understand the various dental insurance plans available, and how well they cover your dental work requirements. Ultimately, the scope of dental cover will largely be dependant on your monthly premium, so make sure you don’t overpay based on your individual needs.

How to find the best dental insurance plan in South Africa?

Since dental insurance is – relatively speaking – still a new product, there aren’t that many insurers that do offer dental cover. Furthermore, dental cover introduces some new terminology that customers may not be familiar with from their medical aid. However, if your unsure as to any of the above, you’ve come to the right place as we’re about to dive into the best places to get dental cover in South Africa (see the full list here) as well as a quick guide on what to look out for when choosing dental cover.

The different dental insurance plans available

Like with any insurance product, there are different options available depending on your requirements: from simple plans covering your basic dental care, to more expensive packages covering additional dental services such as oral hygiene or even cosmetic procedures.

First of all, you should take some time to decide on what sort of plan is best suited. Consider the current state of your dental health, any historic issues you might be aware of or expected expenditures that might arise in the short term. Also consider whether you’re looking for dental cover for just yourself or a policy that covers additional dependants such as wife and children.

Once you understand what it is you’re after, it helps to read through any policy documents you might have on existing medical aid schemes or health insurance. Some basic dental cover may be included under some “managed care” plans so make sure you don’t over-insure if you’re already covered.

Types of Dental Insurance Plans

Not all dental procedures are covered under all plans, so scrutinising the plan before making a decision is important to ensure it will meet your individual needs. Most dental insurance companies will provide tiered offerings – i.e. Gold, Silver, Platinum etc. – with increasing cover. An example of what services might be included in entry level cover is below:

EXAMPLE SERVICES INCLUDED IN ENTRY-LEVEL DENTAL COVER:

  • Consultation & X-rays
  • Oral hygiene instructions & scale and polish
  • All fillings amalgam & white
  • Extractions
  • Emergency treatment
  • Treatment of sensitive teeth
  • Pain & Sepsis
  • Dental prescriptions
  • Local anaesthetic
  • Fluorite treatment and fissure sealants for children

Note that for example in the above breakdown, any root canal or bridge work would not be covered. Similarly, most dental insurance does not cover cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening or braces.

How much does dental insurance cost?

As mentioned previously, costs do vary on the type of plan purchased, however entry level dentist cover can start from as little as R190 per month per member and rise to R500+ depending on what services are included.

You should try and get various online quotes to compare each provider. As a starting point, we recommend the list of our top dental insurance providers in South Africa listed further down this guide.

How do you claim for dental work with dental cover?

Good question! Similar to a lot of medial cover, dental cover claims are normally paid as a portion of the overall cost of treatment, i.e. you could expect in the region of 80% to be covered after the ‘deductible’ or co-payment has been adjusted for (that is the difference between what the insurance scheme will pay vs the actual cost of the procedure).

The deductible is specifically the difference between your dentists costs and the National Health Reference Price List (NHRPL for short) which determines how much a particular consultation or procedure SHOULD cost. It creates an average reference price for doctors and specialists, and therefore an overall pricing guideline for patients. Note that not dentists can still set their prices independently and it’s worth checking if they adhere to NHRPL or not.

So do you actually need dental insurance?

Now that we’ve gone through the types of dental cover and the cost of such policies, the next question will be whether you actually need it! Unfortunatey this is not such an easy question to answer, as like with most insurance products, you don’t need them until you do and then it’s mostly to late…

However you can make an educated decision on whether you need dental cover or not by consider

a) how many dentist visits have you had in recent years
b) how much did you spend on dental procedures
c) how many visits do you expect in the future
d) what are likely expenditures against these visits
e) are you expecting more dependents (i.e. children) that could inflate your dentistry bill

Once you have a good understanding of the above scenarios, you can compare the total expected cost vs the monthly dental insurance payments and chose an option that makes financial sense.

Also, it’s important to be honest about the current – or expected future – health of our teeth. If you require frequent fillings and have been lax with oral hygiene, you might want to plan for additional dentist visits in the near future!

And finally, a very important consideration for deciding which dental cover to chose is to confirm which dentist are actually enrolled in the plan! Even though most dentists are part of some insurance network, some private dentists aren’t, and you would need to confirm with your insurer if and how a claim from a non-participating dentist would be paid.

Best Dental Insurance Companies South Africa