The ability to smile is one of life’s precious gifts. We can use our smiles to say hello, welcome a new friend, and brighten a stranger’s day.
Preventative oral is really important for your overall health and wellness. Regular check ups (every 6 months) help prevent serious oral illnesses and keep your smile healthy.
Some people may shy away from visiting the dentist because they are concerned about how much it will cost. How much does a dental exam cost? The answer might surprise you.
How much does a dentist checkup cost?
A dental exam is surprisingly inexpensive, especially when you consider how invaluable it is for your overall oral health. During a routine visit, your dentist can catch a wide variety of dental problems that will be easier to treat (and less expensive) sooner than later.
Depending on your location and a variety of other factors, a routine dental exam can cost you anywhere from $0 to about $550. Why the huge difference? There are various factors that make up the cost of a dental visit. We’ll get into them a bit more in a minute.
If you have good dental health insurance, your routine exams may be completely covered. Your insurance may also cover dental x-rays once a year and other preventive care procedures.
If you don’t have dental insurance, you’ll have to pay for your visit out of pocket. Most dentists will charge between $80 and $120 for a routine exam. In reality, it’s a small price to pay for gorgeous, healthy chompers.
Why do I need to see a dentist regularly?
Even people who brush and floss carefully will still get plaque build-up. Plaque hardens into tartar which can lead to cavities and gum disease. Your dentist or dental hygienist can more thoroughly clean your teeth and prevent dangerous tartar.
Dentists can also spot potential problems you may not have noticed yet. Not all dental issues cause pain right away and not treating a problem early on makes it more challenging to fix in the future. Your mouth can also show signs of various medical conditions; such as anemia, diabetes, and oral cancer.
The American Cancer Society states that many pre-cancers and oral cancers can be detected early during routine exams by a dentist. Regular dental checkups involve examining your entire mouth. When dentists notice concerning medical signs in your mouth, they can refer you to a specialist who can further analyze the situation.
What factors affect the cost of a dentist checkup?
There are various factors that affect the cost of a dental checkup.
As you might imagine, an oral exam is included in every trip to the dentist. However, the type of exam you receive can vary. People who attend dentist appointments regularly will receive a periodic exam. This is a basic exam reviewing the health of your teeth and gums. The dentist may include an oral cancer screening and check for any abnormalities in your face and neck as well.
A targeted exam is used when you’re visiting the dentist for a particular problem. This is usually used during emergency visits or if a problem has shown up on your x-rays.
If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, or are visiting a dentist as a new patient, your dentist may give you a comprehensive exam. This in-depth oral exam includes the same procedure as a periodic exam but your dentist will also discuss previous dental work and your goals for your smile.
Some dentists include the cost of a dental cleaning in their oral exam price, but others charge separately. If you are shopping around to find a dentist, be sure to ask what the base price includes to ensure you’re comparing prices fairly. Teeth cleaning charged separately can cost between $70 and $200! If you are presenting signs of gum disease, you might need a deep cleaning, which will be on the more expensive end.
X-rays are not typically included in the cost of a routine dental exam. Full-mouth x-rays cost about $200 on average. You can choose to have partial x-rays taken to bring the cost down.
If you have insurance, it’s likely that full-mouth x-rays will be covered, but less frequently than your exams. For example, you may have two covered oral exams each year, but only one set of x-rays every other year.
Some of the cost of a dental checkup has to do with the cost of the dentist’s overhead. For example, a dentist in rural Kentucky will have fewer expenses to cover than one whose dentist’s office is in a high-rise in Manhattan. In general, you can expect dental costs to vary consistently with the cost of living in your area.
Dental procedures cost list
During your dental exam, your dentist may discover problems that must be addressed such as a cavity that needs to be filled. Any procedures like this are not included in the price of your dental exam. Let’s look at this pricing list detailing the average cost of some of the most common dental procedures.
|Dental Service||Average Cost (depends on insurance plan)|
|Regular cleaning||Between $75 and $200|
|Oral exam||Between $50 and $200|
|Dental crown||Between $500 and $3000|
|Filling||Between $50 and $450|
|X-ray||Between $25 and $500|
|Root canal||Between $75 and $1100|
|Tooth bonding||Between $100 and $500|
|Professional teeth whitening||Between $200 and $1000|
|Invisalign||Between $3000 and $8000|
|Metal braces||Between $1000 and $3000|
|Dental implants||Between $1000 and $3000 (per tooth)|
|Veneers||Between $450 and $2500 (per tooth)|
As you can see, routine dental care is quite affordable. Even some of the more involved procedures aren’t as expensive as you might think. Of course, not everyone will even need some of these procedures.
How can I get affordable dental care?
Thankfully, modern dental care is relatively affordable and nearly everyone in the US has easy access to it. Many people have dental coverage through Medicare or dental insurance plans offered through their employer or as an add-on to their health insurance which covers most or all routine costs.
Dental insurance will also cover some other types of dental procedures. Usually, they need to be medically necessary (as opposed to cosmetic work) and you may need to fulfill a deductible.
If you don’t have dental insurance coverage, you might be tempted to skip going to the dentist to save money. However, keep in mind those prices we just listed. When you start skipping your regular dental checkups, it becomes more likely that you’ll need one of the more involved procedures if you begin to experience tooth decay or other problems. In reality, trying to save on routine care could cost you more in the long run.
There are a few ways to help mitigate the cost of dental procedures.
You can take out a personal loan for nearly anything and supporting your dental health is certainly a good reason. If you have good credit, the interest on these loans can be quite low depending on the amount you want to borrow. Online sites allow you to compare several lenders at once to choose the best option.
Dental payment plans
Instead of taking out an independent loan, you may be able to take advantage of the dental payment plan offered by your dentist. These allow you to spread the cost of the procedure out over a few months. These may come with 0% interest if you can pay them off within a certain amount of time. Other times you may be charged a nominal fee or interest rate.
Where can I get a dental exam near me?
How long has it been since you’ve visited the dentist? Don’t let worries over the cost prevent you from seeking the routine oral care you need.
Finding a dentist near you is simple with us. We’ll help you find a great dentist offering affordable care. Level up your oral wellness and make a dentist appointment today!