Affordable dental plans can seem out of reach for small businesses, which often don't have the numbers of eligible employees needed to qualify for group discounts. Yet dental benefits are consistently cited as one of the most sought after employee benefits. If you look hard enough, you'll find reasonable options. Small businesses have three basic options when it comes to providing dental benefits: Bargain shop for traditional dental insurance Set up a company-funded dental plan Look into dental discount plans Shop for low premiums on good plans online With services that allow you to search for the best rates online, you don't have to go through multiple local sales representatives for quotes. Look into benefit packages offered through buying clubs Buying clubs that you use to purchase other items for your business are an often-overlooked place to find health and dental benefits as well. Offer discount plans instead of traditional insurance Signing up for a discounted fee-for-service plan means no deductibles or claim forms for employees. These plans aren't insurance, but they do offer discounts on dental and orthodontic services from participating providers. Set up your own direct-reimbursement plan Direct reimbursement (DR) dental plans are benefits made simple. DR is a self-funded program in which your business reimburses employee dental expenses based on a percentage of dollars spend. No insurance companies; less paperwork, employees choose any dentist, and you can get tax breaks, too. Look at your local Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations to see if membership includes discounted dental benefits or the ability to buy into a group insurance plan. Look at deductibles, caps, and co-pays carefully when choosing a plan for your employees. You may be able to get a more affordable dental plan with a slightly higher deductible or co-pay. Consider having a company meeting to discuss employees' individual dental needs. You may be able to choose a plan that works for the majority of workers.