A lot of dental insurance providers require a waiting period between when you sign up and when the insurance becomes active. This can be problematic if you encounter a dental health emergency shortly after signing up to an insurance provider, or, indeed if you have a problem and are taking out a policy to cover it. The good news is that in the world of dental insurance no waiting periods are often used as a selling point for policies.
If your prospective policy provider offers dental insurance with no waiting between the policy being taken out and it becoming active, they will usually advertise this quite clearly. Some providers have two policies - one that is active immediately, for a fee, and another that has a waiting period built-in, which may be slightly cheaper. If this is the case then they will make it clear what you are getting when you sign up.
When you sign up to a no waiting policy, you will be sent the details that you need to use the policy, immediately. Usually, these are delivered by email if you sign up online. If you sign up over the phone then you might need to wait for the documents to be delivered in the post, but it should still be fairly prompt compared to having to go through an extended waiting period.
When you sign up to any policy, read the terms and conditions carefully to ensure that your dentist is on the list of approved providers and that the procedures you are concerned about are covered. It is not uncommon for policies to exclude things like cosmetic procedures.
If you have any urgent concerns about your dental health, you should talk to a dentist immediately. The health of your teeth and gums can have a major impact on the health of the rest of your body, and this is not something that you should take chances with. While it is OK to wait until a policy comes through to treat some minor cosmetic damage or something like sensitive teeth, if you have more serious issues such as a missing or cracked tooth you should get it looked at immediately even if that means visiting an urgent care center for a walk-in appointment.