Unplanned dental treatment can be expensive, thankfully dental cover can offer financial protection to guard against costly dental work. Here’s how dental insurance in Ireland works and how to find the right plan for your needs.
It’s insurance that helps cover the cost of dental work. Dental cover is available as part of a medical insurance plan or as a stand-alone policy.
Dental insurance covers treatment to your teeth and gums and preventative care such as check-ups and cleaning.
Some procedures are fully covered, whereas others are only partially covered or excluded entirely.
You pay a monthly or annual premium to your insurer in return for help with dental costs.
You’ll have to pay the dentist for your treatment up-front, then claim back the cost from your insurer, although some dentists run a Direct Payments scheme which means they take care of the claim for you.
Dental policies also set claim limits of between €500 to €2,000 per year. Once you reach the cap, you won’t be able to make further claims to cover treatment costs.
Your monthly premiums might increase if you have to claim for expensive treatment.
This depends on the level of cover you choose, but most dental insurance policies include full cover for:
For other treatments, the level of cover you choose will affect what portion of your dental cost is covered.
Not all procedures are covered; for example, cosmetic work, veneers or whitening
Here’s an example of the type of treatments covered for a basic, mid-level or premium plan and the proportion of cost reimbursement.
|Type of treatment||Basic cover||Mid Level cover||Premium cover|
|Scale & polishes||100%||100 %||100%|
|Restorations (fillings)||Not covered||70%||70%|
|Periodontal treatment & maintenance||Not covered||50%||70%|
|Tooth extractions||Not covered||50%||70%|
|Prosthetic services (dentures)||Not covered||60%||70%|
|Dental implants||Not covered||Not covered||€2000 per fixture|
|Orthodontic treatment (braces)||Not covered||Not covered||€1000|
|Oral cancer||Not covered||Not covered||€5000 lump sum|
|ANNUAL POLICY MAXIMUM||€500||€1000||€2000|
Figures are indicative; for more information visit the insurer’s website and check the schedule of benefits for each policy
There’s usually an annual limit on how much you can claim, which is also dependent on the cover you choose.
A pre-existing dental condition is an oral health problem that is already present when you take out insurance.
Most plans cover minor pre-existing conditions, such as cavities or gum disease, but won’t usually cover more serious pre-existing conditions such as:
If they do, your insurer may impose a waiting period before covering any treatments costs.
Yes, you’ll be covered immediately for investigative, preventative and emergency treatment, which includes:
However, initial waiting periods apply to other procedures. Here’s an example of typical initial waiting periods for different types of treatment.
|Type of treatment||Examples||Initial waiting period|
|Investigative||Routine check-up, x-rays||Immediate|
|Preventative||Scale and polish, cleaning||Immediate|
|Minor||Fillings, tooth extractions||3 months|
|Major||Dentures, Crowns, Inlays||12 months|
|Orthodontic||Teeth straightening||18 months|
An initial waiting period is imposed by health insurers when you take out cover for the first time and means you have to wait a set period of time before you are fully covered.
Annual premiums for adult dental insurance can be as little as €175 (€14.60 per month) for basic cover or around €400 per year (€33 per month) for premium level cover.
Dental insurance prices depend on:
You only need to provide your contact details and age to get a quote, so it’s worth shopping around for the cheapest price before choosing a plan and checking carefully that the plan meets your needs.
You can get dental cover in several different ways. Here’s who provides dental insurance in Ireland:
Protecting your dental health with insurance can give you peace of mind and guarantee 100% cover for investigative, preventative and emergency treatment.
Dental problems are often unplanned and expensive, especially if you’ve left a dental issue for so long it results in emergency treatment. Here’s what you could pay for these treatments:
Here’s how dental insurance can help you:
Dental insurance can give you peace of mind and protect you from unexpected treatment costs, but you could end up wasting your money if the plan doesn’t match your needs.
Here’s how to make sure you’re choosing the right plan:
If you have read the Schedule of Benefits, FAQs and T&Cs and still have specific questions about a plan or specific conditions or treatments, call the insurer and speak to an adviser.
You may be able to claim for an annual free check-up and subsidised scale and polish under the government Treatment Benefit Scheme.
This scheme is available to employees, the self-employed and the retired who’ve made the required number of Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions, but only 1 in 4 of those eligible claim their entitlement.
Not all dentists are registered providers of the PRSI dental scheme but if they are, you could be entitled to claim an annual free check-up, as well as a payment of €42 towards either a scale and polish or periodontal treatment.
If you’d like to find out more about the Treatment Benefit Scheme, visit Citizens Information.
Yes, all dental insurers are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
If you are unhappy with the service you receive from your insurance provider, first take up your complaint with your insurer.
If the problem doesn’t get resolved with your insurer, get in touch with the Financial Services Ombudsman or call 1890 88 20 90 for further advice.
The annual policy maximum is the total amount that you are eligible to claim back on your dental plan per year (which is defined as 12 consecutive months).
Insurers may add on policy maximums for procedures such as crowns or orthodontics in addition to the annual limit.
Direct Pay schemes are when the insurer pays the dentist directly for costs covered by your policy.
Not all dentists are part of the Direct Pay Network, so check first and if you want to use the option:
If your practice doesn’t offer a Direct Pay service, you’ll pay your dentist normally, then claim back the costs covered under your policy by providing your receipt for treatment.
No, a pre-assessment before taking out dental insurance is not necessary or required by insurers in Ireland.
A policy excess is a standard insurance term, which means that you need to pay a proportion of the cost yourself first before you make a claim on your insurance.