What is a dental network?

what is a dental networ

If you spend a few minutes researching dental insurance options, “dental network” is one of the first terms you come across. Dental networks are an important part of dental insurance, because they keep costs low for you, your dependents and your employer.

But what exactly is a dental network, and why does it matter to you? Do yourself a favor. Take a few minutes to understand dental networks and the benefits of seeing a dentist in network vs. out of network. Your wallet will thank you for it.

Understanding Dental Networks

A dental network is a group of dentists under contract with your dental insurance carrier. These dentists agree to provide dental care at a set fee. A dentist who contracts with your insurance carrier is said to be participating, or in-network. The difference in fees is often referred to as a “discount” or “network savings”.

For a dentist, joining an insurance company’s dental network is an important way to get and keep patients. Have you ever moved to a new town and found a dentist by first searching through your dental insurance carrier’s list of in network providers? I know I have.

For example, we have different networks, or groups, that our dentists join. Dentists in the Delta Dental PPO Network often have agreed to accept greater network savings amountsfees than dentists in the Delta Dental Premier® Network.

Need Dental Insurance Right Now?

We offer 5 dental plans with different coverage and monthly premiums.

Can I See a Dentist Outside of My Dental Network?

This depends upon the plan you have. Some dental insurance carriers offer lower benefit reimbursement levels if you see an “out-of-network” dentist.

Dentists who choose to not join one of Delta Dental’s networks are called “non-participating” dentists. With our plans, you can see non-participating dentists for care, however, you will not have access to network savings.

As a result, your out-of-pocket costs may be substantially higher if you use a non-participating dentist than with a Delta Dental PPO or Delta Dental Premier Dentist.

Finding a Dentist in Your Dental Network

Most dental insurance carriers have lists of in-network dentists in your area. If you don’t know where to start, this is a great first step for finding a local dentist in your dental network.

Delta Dental of Washington has a robust Find a Dentist tool available online. Using this tool, you can filter dentists by location, gender, languages spoken by the dentist and even attributes, like dentist endorsements. It’s a great way to quickly find a dentist who meets your needs.