Healthy teeth and gums play a fundamental role in our overall health. Regrettably, rising dental insurance premiums and treatment costs have made dental care inaccessible to many people across the nation. Today, there are more than 108 million children and adults without dental insurance in the U.S. As the need for affordable dental care continues to grow, more and more people turn toward discount dental plans as a cost-effective and easy-to-use alternative to dental insurance.Current research shows a clear shift in the dental benefits marketplace attributed, in part, to concerns with cost, choice and service. Many consumers and employers are moving away from the inflated premiums, strict restrictions, poor service and other limitations often associated with traditional dental insurance and are looking toward the savings and benefits offered by discount dental plans. “With an estimated 45% of Americans not having any type of dental coverage, and the dental insurance marketplace offering few, affordable dental products for individuals, discount dental plans are an attractive answer to the need to reduce consumer out-of-pocket costs and increase access to care.”Discount dental plans provide consumers with the value they desire by offering access to affordable, quality dental care at a low price and with an emphasis on choice and service. Plan members pay a low annual membership fee and are granted access to a network of participating providers offering discounts of 10% to 60% on most dental procedures, including braces, root canals, crowns, dentures, cosmetic dentistry and more on select plans. Certain plans even include discounts on additional benefits, including prescription, vision, hearing and chiropractic care.Discount dental plans, designed to provide significant savings on members’ dental care needs, have quickly become an attractive alternative to costly dental insurance. Traditional dental insurance, once the only dental benefit option available, features many drawbacks including costly deductibles, tedious claim forms, long waiting periods and other limitations. On the other hand, discount dental plans are more cost-effective, easy-to-use and free of these hassles.Additionally, discount dental plans – starting at $79.95 per year for individuals and $129.95 per year for families – are much more affordable than dental insurance. According to a 2005 report by the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP), a trusted representative of the dental benefits industry, the average monthly premium for individual dental HMO insurance is nearly $16 (about $192 per year), compared to nearly $24 (about $288 per year) for individual dental PPO insurance and nearly $31 (about $372 per year) for individual dental indemnity insurance. According to NADP, “Discount dental plans have become an economical and important alternative to combat the rising cost of health care. They are a cost-effective vehicle for millions of undeserved consumers to improve their access to dental care.”Discount dental plans also provide businesses and other groups with dental benefits that are easy to implement and practically effortless to manage. Many businesses are using discount dental plans to offer dental benefits to people that are rarely covered by traditional dental insurance, including retirees, part-timers, seasonal workers and uninsured dependents. Businesses can protect their employees’ health and provide peace of mind by encouraging their team to join a money-saving discount dental plan.In short, discount dental plans offer individual, families, businesses and other groups with a great deal of value by providing access to affordable dental care without sacrificing service or flexibility. Discount dental plans are an ideal solution for anyone looking to save money while improving their oral health.