If you work for the government or have an employer that pays for your dental insurance as part of your health plan – you're probably not satisfied with the coverage you and your family receives. Like most people, anything more than a basic cleaning costs a lot of money – and how much is your co-pay?
It's fair to say that typical coverages simply do not do enough to pay for costly trips to your dentist. Things like fillings, crowns, bridges and root canals can easily put you over the yearly maximum limit for benefits – and at that point everything must come out of pocket. For many families, this is not affordable so they simply go without the needed treatments that end up costing a lot of money to fix in the future and they lose a tooth or worse.
The solution is to add on a supplemental dental insurance plan or upgrade to full. But which is best? The answer is: it depends. For most people, purchasing supplemental should be enough to ensure they're covered in situations where their primary insurance company does not. In many cases, it can make visiting the dentist completely free for basic checkups and fillings – and when you need expensive work done it can help bridge the gap between what you pay and what your primary plan covers.
For others, especially if you plan on having costly repairs and treatments completed soon (be sure to check if pre-existing conditions are covered), full dental insurance is a wiser choice. Even supplemental has its limits and you're likely to get much more covered under this type of plan. The drawback, however, is cost. Full insurance likely costs much more than adding on additional coverage, and is harder to find.
As you can see, which path you choose really depends on your needs. Make sure you take the time to go over what exactly is covered and what is not; look at copays and max allowances and figure out where your current plans are lacking. You may find that you can upgrade your current coverage or that one or the other is best for your family and yourself.