Denplan is one of the best-known dental payment plan providers in the UK. But how does it work? And is it worth taking out a payment plan? Here’s what you should know.
What is Denplan?
Denplan is a type of payment plan. It lets you spread the cost of private dental work into affordable monthly payments, rather than paying for your treatment up front. It’s not the same as dental insurance, because you’re receiving a quote for the cost of treatment in advance. With dental insurance, you pay for treatment as you need it and recover the cost from your insurance company.
There are different levels of Denplan cover available and the level you need will depend on your dental health needs:
- Hygiene: this level covers the cost of routine hygiene appointments like scaling and polishing.
- Essentials: this cover includes checkups and some routine dental advice, but it doesn’t normally include restorative work (e.g. crowns or hygiene appointments).
- Care: this is the most extensive level, covering x-rays and dental treatments including crowns and bridges.
- Emergency: this level covers emergency dental work only.
Your dentist can help you decide which plan is best for you.
What are the benefits of Denplan?
Well, the main benefit is the set monthly payment schedule. You’ll know exactly how much you’re paying each month, which can help you manage your finances without worrying about dental bills.
Here are some other benefits of taking out a plan:
- You can cancel your Denplan at any time, and it’s easy to do.
- There’s no credit check involved, so you can apply even if you don’t have a great credit score.
- The idea behind Denplan is to help prevent damage to your teeth and fix small problems before they become costly. In this way, Denplan could, potentially, save you money in the long run if you’re prone to tooth decay.
Finally, since your dentist is keeping a close eye on your teeth, there’s less chance of unexpected costs cropping up.
What are the main downsides of Denplan?
The main downside? There’s actually a lot of dental work excluded from Denplan cover. Denplan doesn’t cover:
- Laboratory fees for restorative work
- Cosmetic work (e.g. implants)
- Orthodontics (e.g. braces)
- Specialist referrals
So, for example, if you need a bridge and it’s covered by your Denplan, you’ll still need to pay your own lab fees. And, while Denplan is useful for people with existing dental work, you might not be fully covered if you need extensive or specialist work done.
Another downside is that if you don’t need regular dental care, you might not get much value from your plan. It’s crucial that you only sign up for the level of cover you need.
How do I sign up?
It’s simple to join the scheme. To get started, you first need to find a Denplan dentist. If you’re already registered with a dental practice, you can ask if they take Denplan patients.
Once you’ve chosen a dentist, book and attend your first checkup. At the appointment, your dentist will discuss two things:
- What (if any) treatment you need before you can sign up for a plan
- How much your care plan will cost
Next, sign the contract and complete your application. Once you’ve finished your application, you can book your first appointment to begin treatment.
How much does Denplan cost?
The cost depends on your dental health and which care plan you’re on. Depending on the dentist, you might also pay a joining fee. The costs vary by practice.
As a guide, care plan fees start at around £8.71 per month for Denplan Essentials, and around £50 per month for more extensive plans. To be clear, though, every dentist has a slightly different fee structure, so you might pay more or less than this when you sign up.
For an accurate quote, you need to contact a Denplan dentist and discuss your personal treatment needs in detail.
My take on Denplan? If you already have a few crowns or fillings and you need regular dental work, it can help keep the costs manageable. It’s simple to join and you can budget in advance for your regular dental care. However, if you rarely need dental work, you might be better off simply paying for treatment as you go on the NHS.
Remember, too, that the costs of a Denplan vary between dentists. So, you should always compare the price you’re quoted for Denplan with the cost of dental insurance before taking out cover.