I want to first say that this is not my area of expertise. However, since 1999 I have learned a little bit. The best thing that you can do is get to know your dental insurance through your provider.
Dental insurance rarely pays for everything besides preventative maintenance. Another really fancy term for xrays, exams, and cleanings. Even preventive will not be covered 100% if you do not go to a dental office that is a provider for your insurance. You can usually use your insurance at any office, there are exceptions, but keep in mind that if it is not a provider for your insurance you will have to pay more for your services.
There are percentages that dental insurance pays for certain procedures and sometimes they do not provide any payment at all.
The front office staff will often have a person that specializes in insurance billing. However, it is not their responsibility to know your insurance coverage, that falls on you. They will be glad to help you with what they do know.
Simple terms you will see on your dental insurance information are as follows. Prophy--cleaning, Crown--cap for the tooth, Filling--material used to fill in a cavity, Scaling and Root Planing--deep cleaning, X-rays or Radiographs, Bridge--at least two crowns with a fake tooth in the middle used to replace missing teeth, Dentures--appliance that replaces all teeth on top or bottom, Partial Denture--an appliance that replaces one or more missing teeth, Night Guard or Bruxing Guard--an appliance to protect the teeth against grinding, Fluoride treatment--usually given to young people up to age 14 or 18.
These are just a few and your dental office personnel can help you with other terms you may find. Like I said before, get to know your insurance and what it will cover for you and your family.
There are people out there who don't have dental insurance and they may pay cash for services. It is often less expensive to pay cash for preventive services than to buy private dental insurance if your employer does not provide it for you.