Going to the dentist twice a year for your routine cleaning is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent gum disease and maintain proper oral health. But if you don’t have insurance, it can feel like a costly expense.
Dental insurance coverage is separate from most health insurance plans, and because of that, nearly half of the entire country has gone without dental coverage in the past 12 months. This has left millions of people without the care they need.
So how much can you expect to pay for routine cleanings out of pocket? And if you do get insurance, how much can you expect to pay each month? Here’s everything you need to know about the cost of dental care.
Routine dental cleanings are a staple of good oral health care, and it’s recommended that you visit a dental hygienist twice a year for a comprehensive dental exam and other routine dental procedures.
Your provider will start your regular cleaning by examining your teeth for signs of dental problems like tooth decay, gum disease, or other abnormalities. They’ll also use a tool to scrape away plaque and tartar, which can otherwise progress and start leading to infections of the gums or decay on the tooth surface. Providers might also do an x-ray of your mouth to check for shifts in the bone structure of the mouth.
Next, providers will use a gritty toothpaste to clean and polish the teeth to make them look more attractive. They’ll then give you a professional flossing service to remove food debris in between the teeth before finishing with fluoride treatment at times.
If they find something like a cavity, they might be able to supply additional services in the office that same day. Otherwise, you might need to make a cleaning appointment for another day to come back in and get a subsequent treatment.
Insurance requires you to pay a monthly fee every month to “insure” you in the event that you need dental care. Some plans also require you to pay an annual premium to continue receiving coverage.
You’ll need to pay these monthly fees every month, even if you don’t actually receive any dental treatments. Most insurance plans range from $20-$50 a month. Typically, the more you pay per month, the better coverage you’ll get.
For example, if you get a dental plan that costs $50 a month, you can expect that the provider will cover an extremely high percentage of the total cost of procedures. This can be significant for emergency procedures like tooth extraction, a filling, or a root canal. But if you pay lower monthly prices, you can expect a smaller percentage of these services covered.
For cleanings, most insurance plans will cover the full cost of at least one yearly deep cleaning and checkup. This usually includes x-rays or other coinciding procedures you might need during your visit. But remember that these services aren’t really “free” because you’re still paying monthly fees or a deductible, even during months when you don’t get dental care.
Certain professions provide health care and dental care for employees. In this case, the costs are paid for by the employer as an incentive for your work at the company. Sometimes, you might be responsible for co-pays at the dentist’s office out of pocket, but you’re usually not responsible for paying anything in these situations.
If you don’t have insurance, the good news is that deep cleanings are usually the least expensive procedure compared to most other dentistry services. The bad news is that they can still run you a lot of money. The average cost of a teeth cleaning, exam, and checkup out of pocket is $90 to $200.
The rate you pay for dental services is dependent on a few things. For one, the area and location determine local rates in your community, so places like large cities often run a higher price tag than suburban areas. Additionally, the expertise of your dentist can net a higher price.
Not to mention, if you have excessive build-up because it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, your final bill might have up to another $100 tacked onto the end. And if you’re a new patient, initial exams, x-rays, and fluoride treatment can cost upwards of $400.
This is to say, needing to pay out of pocket for routine cleanings twice a year can be inaccessible without insurance. But you don’t need to let price be a barrier between you and the care you need.
If you don’t have dental coverage, that’s okay! There are still low-cost options for you to get into a dentist’s office without needing to take out a second mortgage on your home.
Insurance can make it easy to afford dental care, but even then, it can be counterintuitive if you need to pay monthly fees and hidden premiums despite never getting dental care in the first place. Flossy is a service where you only pay for the services you receive — at up to 50% off the national out-of-pocket average.
Our mission is to provide top-quality dental care at an affordable price. There are no monthly fees or annual premiums — and no hidden fees. Get services from routine professional cleaning to teeth whitening, all at just a fraction of the price you’d pay without insurance.
Not to mention, our dentists are rigorously vetted against a comprehensive list of criteria, so you can have confidence that the care you receive is high quality. Our dentists are graduates from accredited dental programs, have excellent patient reviews, and are extremely knowledgeable in their field.
Dental work has never been so easy, especially considering there’s no waiting period to get the care you need. Sign up today, find a dentist near you, and give yourself a reason to smile.
All of those talented dentists out there had to start somewhere, and the chances are high that it was at a college or university. Dental schools allow dental students to practice their craft on real patients under the supervision of a medical professional.
Since the students can’t get paid for this work, you usually only need to pay for the equipment and materials used. While there is the risk of poor care since these students are so new, bear in mind that they are monitored by professionals the entire time. This is a great way to get a routine cleaning without needing to break the bank.
Dental networks work similarly to traditional dental insurance, but the main difference is that you pay a low membership fee for a discount on services. For instance, you might pay a low membership fee for a 60% discount on out-of-pocket costs.
The major drawbacks here are that you can only go to participating dental providers and for emergency services like tooth extraction or root canal. You might still owe a large amount of money after everything is said and done.
One of the best ways to save money without dental insurance is to prevent the need to go to the dentist in the first place. While professional cleaning and exams are naturally important to prevent periodontal disease and other problems down the line, good oral hygiene starts right from home.
Brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush helps remove plaque and tartar build-up to reduce the risk of cavities and decay. Flossing is just as important at least once a day to remove food debris in between the teeth at the gumline.
Dental cleaning is a basic service that is recommended twice a year to maintain the health and functioning of your teeth. Not only can these work to prevent problems down the road, but a bi-yearly exam can also shed light on potential problems early on.
While you need to pay monthly fees with insurance, routine cleanings are usually covered 100% by most plans. Without insurance, cleanings can range upwards of $200, and this bill can get even higher depending on add-on services that you might need.
But you don’t need to let lack of insurance or price act as a barrier between you and proper overall health. Flossy is a pay-as-you-go service that can save you up to 50% on common dental treatments with no membership fees or monthly dues. The price you see is the price you pay.
Find a dentist near you and book your first appointment today.
Regional Variation in Private Dental Coverage and Care Among Dentate Adults Aged 18–64 in the United States, 2014–2017 | CDC
Dental Check-Up | Cleveland Clinic
Periodontitis - Symptoms and causes | The Mayo Clinic
Plaque vs. Tartar: Differences, Treatment, Prevention | Healthline