The American Dental Association recommends that everyone visits the dentist for a routine dental exam at least twice a year. If you are one of the approximately 74 million Americans who do not have dental insurance, this could be a significant expense for you and your family. So how much does a dental visit cost without insurance?
Prices for dental examinations and other dental treatments vary depending on the state you live in, the dental procedure, and the overall condition of your teeth and gums. While it is not possible to say exactly how much a dental visit costs, we can give you an idea of the average costs of dental checkups and treatments.
Continue reading the article to find out more about dental visit costs when you do not have insurance.
How Much Does a Dental Visit Cost Without Insurance?
There are different types of dental visits from checkups and cleanings to root canal treatments and implants. You will find information on average costs of other types of treatments towards the end of the article but first, we will focus on the cost of oral examinations.
When you go for a full dental check-up, it will include a thorough examination of your teeth and gums, an X-ray of your whole mouth, and a teeth cleaning procedure. There are online resources that allow you to enter your zip code to get an estimate of what a dental visit will cost in your area.
New York is among the most expensive states for dental examinations without insurance. Patients can expect to pay between $700 and $960 for an examination. In California, also among the more expensive states, prices range from just under $470 to just around $720.
Some of the cheaper states include New Jersey where average prices start from $379 and Florida where they start from $390. The highest average in New Jersey is $473 and in Florida $535. Below you will find details of the cost of different treatments included in the dental check-up so you know how the total cost of a dental visit is formed.
An oral exam is different from a full check-up as it does not include an X-ray. During the visit, your dentist will evaluate your dental medical history, your oral habits, and your diet. The visit will also include dental cleaning and an assessment of your oral health for signs of gum disease, tooth decay, cavities, or other dental issues.
New York is once again among the most expensive places with an average cost of $225. It is followed by California with $166. In the middle are Texas and New Jersey, both with $128 and Pennsylvania is among the cheapest with $98.
During the visit, your dentist will remove built-up tartar and plaque from your teeth and the gaps between them. Regular dental cleaning can prevent bacteria growth and will promote healthy gums and teeth.
The cleaning includes the dentist or dental hygienist brushing your teeth using an electric toothbrush and flossing them. These will be much more thorough brushing and flossing than what you can do at home. The cleaning session usually takes about thirty minutes and can prevent halitosis, tooth decay, and other oral issues.
The cost of professional cleaning without insurance ranges from $111 in Florida to $250 in New York. In many other states, the average cost of having your teeth cleaned by a dentist is between $120 and $125.
It is common to have an X-ray taken during an oral exam. The benefit of an X-ray is that it allows your dentist to examine the health of your teeth below the surface. You will be asked to wear a protective cover on your chest during the X-ray. This will protect you from radiation.
The dentist will then place a piece of plastic in your mouth and ask you to bite down on it while the X-ray picture is taken. The X-rays are used to analyze your oral health and allow the dentist to spot issues such as cavities, wisdom teeth, and other issues not yet visible on the surface.
New Jersey has some of the cheapest dental X-ray costs in the United States with an average cost of $183. New York is once again among the most expensive states with $350. In the middle, are states such as Pennsylvania and Texas with $226 and $245, respectively.
What Do Other Dental Treatments Cost?
If your dentist identifies any oral health issues during the examination, you will face further costs to have your teeth treated. How much this will cost will again depend on where you live and the type of dental work you need. Below are the average costs for some common dental procedures.
- Tooth filling: $200 -$600
- Tooth extraction: $75 – $250 per tooth
- Wisdom teeth removal: $120 – $800 per tooth
- Root canal treatment: $600 – $1,400
- Dental crowns: $500 – $3,000
- Metal braces: $1,000 – $3,000
- Invisalign: $3,000 – $8,000
- Dental implants: $1,000 – $3,000 per tooth
How Often Should You Have a Dental Exam?
Most people should have their teeth checked-up every six months. If you have very healthy and strong teeth, you may get away with just one yearly exam. However, twice a year is the most common dental exam frequency.
While this is a significant expense, skipping your routine appointment can end up being more costly. Because your dentist can identify issues early during the exam, they can be addressed before they become worse and more expensive to treat.
Preventative care will also support the overall health of your teeth and gums and prevent issues from arising. It can also help detect serious health issues such as oral cancer, which when left untreated is likely to be life-threatening.
Finding Affordable Dental Care
If you do not have a dental insurance plan, for example, through an employer or your health insurance, you are probably asking if there is a way to reduce dental costs. Anyone with insurance should be aware that some dental insurance coverage may not include all types of treatments and generally only those that are medically necessary.
Federal and State Supported Dental Care
If you do not have dental insurance, you can find dentist offices in each state that offer low-cost and even free services for people who cannot afford dental fees. These dental clinics get funding from the federal and state governments and offer discounts based on your income.
Dental School Clinics
Another option for anyone looking for affordable dental care is to go to a dental school clinic. At these clinics, you will be treated by dental students under the careful supervision of licensed dentists. The treatments are offered at a reduced cost or free, depending on the type of dental treatment.
Often, the procedures will take longer than at a regular dental practice because of the educational environment. You also may have a long wait before you can get an appointment, which means dental school clinics are often not an option if you require emergency treatment.
Dental Savings Plan
If you cannot pay the regular fees without insurance, talk to your dental practitioner about flexible payment plans they might offer. They are a way to save money on dental work without taking out insurance.
With a dental savings plan, you pay a monthly fee to get dental treatments at a lower cost. You can only have discounted dental work at the dentist’s office where you have the savings plan. In addition, the discount is not likely to be as much as what insurance would cover but will still save you money on treatments such as routine cleanings.
Dental Payment Plan
These payment options are also offered by your dentist but instead of paying a monthly fee towards discounted prices, you pay off your treatment in smaller installments. Many dental practices will offer these plans with a 0% interest rate as long as you pay the full amount within an agreed time.
The final option for non-insurance holders is taking out a personal loan to cover the cost of their dental treatments. The interest on personal loans can be reasonable, depending on how much you want to borrow and how long you will take to pay it back. There are many online comparison sites where you can compare the cost of personal loans.
How much a dental visit costs varies from one state to the next if you do not have dental insurance. The cost will also depend on what kind of treatment you need to have. While examinations with X-rays and cleaning will cost upwards of $300 in most states, you can have teeth extracted for $7 and implants cost upwards of $1,000 per tooth.
There are ways to save on your dental treatments if you do not have insurance. Consider attending a dental clinic supported by federal and state governments or a dental school clinic. You may also be able to reduce costs with a savings plan or opt to pay in installments using a payment plan.