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How Much Does a Dental Exam Cost Without Insurance?

Dental exams are recommended twice a year, but that’s a lot to ask when you don’t have insurance. Learn how to find affordable care without it.

Last updated on

July 19, 2023

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How Much Does a Dental Exam Cost Without Insurance?

Dental exams are one of the few tests that don’t require you to study beforehand, but they come with their own set of stressors. Mainly, it can be scary to think about the price tag you’ll need to pay at the end of your visit.

You’re supposed to get a dental check-up twice yearly to maintain good oral health, but it’s a lot easier said than done when you’re stuck paying dental costs out of pocket. The good news is that there are low-cost alternatives to help you access care, even without insurance.

Here’s everything you need to know about the cost of dental exams without insurance, as well as how you can get care without breaking the bank.

What Is a Dental Exam?

A dental exam is an examination of your oral health by a medical professional. Ideally, this visit happens bi-yearly to treat cavities, gum disease, or underlying problems while also preventing future problems later on.

While dental exams can differ depending on where you go, there are a few aspects that are usually the same, no matter what.

Dental Exam

First, the dentist will examine your teeth and gums to see if there are any underlying problems. They check for cavities, gingivitis, signs of oral cancer, wisdom teeth growth, and more. They’ll use a tiny mirror to see all sides of your teeth, and they’ll check to see the integrity and structure of your teeth.

At this point, they may take x-rays to detect abnormalities that are invisible to the naked eye. They’re usually not required at every exam, but you’ll likely get them done about once yearly.

Dental Cleaning

Next, your dentist will clean and polish your teeth. They’ll start by using metal instruments to scrape plaque and tartar off your teeth and gum line. Tartar is a hardened form of plaque that can lead to cavities and gum disease when left untreated. 

After that, a dentist will polish your teeth with a mechanical toothbrush and gritty toothpaste. The gritty toothpaste scrubs away imperfections on the outside of a tooth to make your tooth look sparkly, but this gritty toothpaste can be abrasive if used too often. This is why it’s only recommended once every six months.

Your dental hygienist will then floss your teeth professionally. While flossing should be a part of routine cleaning every day, your dental professional can really focus on ensuring they get every single morsel in between your teeth. Plus, this also removes any leftover gritty toothpaste stuck at the gum line.

Benefits of a Dental Exam

Even people with dental insurance opt to skip out on their bi-yearly dental check-ups. However, this hour of your day can help prevent a lifetime of problems.

Dental exams can check for cavities and save you money in the long run by preventing much more complex problems, like tooth extraction, root canals, fillings, and more. It also makes your teeth look better than ever, thanks to the polishing from the gritty toothpaste.

Not to mention, a dental exam can help educate you on the best practices for maintaining your oral hygiene outside the dentist’s office as well. Dentists can help you learn the best ways to brush and floss your teeth to ensure a happy smile for longer.

A dental exam is a great way to learn what kinds of dental work you may need in the future. Preventative care can help you identify when you’ll need things like dental crowns, tooth removals, and even dentures in the future. These procedures can get pricey without insurance, so it’s important to be aware of when you’ll need them.

Cost of a Dental Exam

Dental exams are part of preventative measures to reduce the risk of contracting an oral health problem like cavities or gingivitis. For that reason, the cost of dental exams is usually covered by most dental insurance plans.

However, over 33% of the American population is without dental coverage, leaving them forced to pay out of pocket for necessary dental care. Some health insurance plans don’t even include dental benefits.

If you need to pay out of pocket, the average cost can reach upwards of $200 per exam. And if you need to get x-rays or additional treatments, it can cost even more.

Dental exams are an important part of your overall wellness. You don’t need to let the price of care be a barrier to it.

Here are some ways to find affordable dental exams in your area:

Affordable Dental Exams

Don’t break the bank just to get a routine cleaning. There are plenty of ways to save money (and stress) on your next dental exam.


At Flossy, we offer a pay-as-you-go service that could help save you up to 50% on dental procedures like routine cleanings, fillings, root canals, implants, and more. No annual premiums, or membership dues to blindside you after everything is said and done.

All you’ll do is create an account and book your appointment online or over the phone. There’s no waiting period, so you can sign up today and start getting access to your next dental treatment right away.

Despite the fact that we can save you up to 50%, our dentists are still top quality. They’re vetted against a set of rigorous criteria to ensure high-quality care. From patient reviews to accreditation from top dental schools, we make sure that inexpensive prices are backed by amazing care.

Book your appointment today and give yourself a reason to smile brighter than ever before.

Dental Savings Plans

If you’re struggling to pay for dental care, you can talk to your dentist about the flexible payment options that they might offer. Savings plans are a common example that can save you money without needing to worry about the excess cost of insurance.

With a savings plan, you’ll get access to dentistry services at a lower cost by paying a small monthly fee. You can only go to the dentist where you’re paying for the savings plan, and the discount will not be as large as what insurance will cover, but may still save you money on services like routine deep cleanings.

Dental Schools

All of those talented dental providers out there had to start somewhere, and dental schools are the place to be. Dental students need to practice their specialty on real subjects, and you can gain access to care by going through a dental school for an insanely low cost.

Since the students cannot be compensated for their time, you usually only need to pay for the cost of materials. Since all sessions are supervised by a medical professional, you can rest easy knowing that you’re getting quality dental care.

Not only are teeth cleanings from dental schools inexpensive, but you also are helping the newest generations of dental healthcare professionals become even better than before.

Public Dental Clinics

Public dental clinics are likely available in your area. These allow individuals with low income to schedule dental visits for routine care at little to no cost. Some public dental clinics even allow you to get emergency dental care when necessary.

Most of these dental offices operate on a sliding scale, meaning you pay for what you can afford. This makes them a great option for individuals who qualify based on income.

In Conclusion

Dental exams are a bi-yearly way to prevent dental problems from occurring while also treating existing ones. They are one of the most important and easy steps you can take to amplify your overall wellness.

The problem is that dental exams can run a hefty price tag if you don’t have insurance. At up to $200 per exam, that runs you upwards of $400 a year on cleaning alone. But you don’t need to let the price stop you from the care you need.

Flossy is a pay-as-you-go dental service that gives you access to common dental treatments at up to 50% the out of pocket cost. From cleanings to root canals, from teeth whitening to veneers, we’ve got you covered even when insurance doesn’t.

Find a dentist in your area today and get started toward a healthier smile.


Dental Exam | MedlinePlus

Cavities/tooth decay - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic

Coverage, Access & Outcomes | ADA

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