With the cost of some treatment reaching tens of thousands of pounds, a dental insurance plan can give you peace of mind and help keep your family's gnashers strong and pearly white.
How much does dental treatment cost?
Going to the dentist is one of the few NHS services that you have to pay for - unless you fall into one of the exempt groups that include pregnant women and women who have given birth in the last year.
An NHS check up or emergency appointment, for example, costs £17.50, while crowns, dentures or bridges come in at a heftier £209. And if you go private, the cost is even higher.
A new patient assessment can cost up to about £50, while having a filling costs up to around £125, or £325 if you want a porcelain or gold insert.
What do dental insurance plans cover?
Dental insurance plans contribute towards, or pay for, the cost of check-ups and standard or emergency treatment.
The cover offered can be tailored to your needs. If you want private dental care, for example, you will need a private dental insurance policy.
Typically, however, cover should pay out towards examinations, scale & polish appointments and any other necessary treatment.
Common exclusions include cosmetic dentistry and treatment for pre-existing conditions.
As with many types of insurance, the number of claims you can make - and the amount you can claim - will also usually have an annual cap.
How much do they cost?
Costs vary from less than £5 to more than £20 a month. The amount you pay will depend on the type of treatment you want (NHS or private), your age and potentially the state of your dental health.
Denplan, one of the biggest providers, bases its premiums on evaluations made by your dentist and offers plans costing from as little as £3.25 to £25 or more a month.
Rival WPA, however, has just two premium levels, depending on whether you are happy with NHS treatment only. This level of cover costs £9.50 a month, or £12 for those aged over 50.
Are they worth the money?
Dental insurance plans are designed to help give you peace of mind when it comes to footing the bill for costly treatment, and can be set up to cover individuals, couples or whole families.
Many of them offer access to private dentists, which is important given the current shortage of NHS dentists in the UK.
The cost effectiveness will, however, depend on how much dental treatment you need.