I have been on both types of plans and here’s a quick synopsis below:
Have a larger network of dentists so you have a large choice of dentists.
May have a waiting period for services like fillings and crowns/ root canals, etc.
Usually have a maximum amount the carrier will pay towards claims per year (usually it is between $1000-$2500)
Have coinsurance for major services (often it is 50%)
Are a good fit for someone who needs a filling once in a while and one major service, gets their checkups regularly and wants to have choice in who they see.
** Employees are usually most satisfied with a PPO dental plan benefit offering.
HMO plans: Have a much smaller network of dentists to choose from. Usually the dentists are in groups and are newer dentists.
Often new dentists rotate in and you may not have much continuity with one particular dentist.
Sometimes it might take longer to get an appointment depending on how busy the office is.
Have no waiting periods for services like fillings/ crowns or other major services.
Have no max that the carrier will pay. (The carrier will pay whatever claims are filed with no cap.)
Have smaller copays for services.
Are a good option for people who need extensive work done and are under budget constraints.
Dental insurance is an excellent benefit as many people spend more time at the dentist than the doctor each year.