People make all kinds of excuses not to go to the dentist. For some, it's the fear of pain, and for others, it's the "inconvenience" of the visit. But millions consider cost as a critical factor as well.
Like most forms of healthcare and treatments, dental cleaning will cost you at least something. It's not a free service, and most dental insurance policies won't cover all of the cost.
Especially if you have a family, knowing how much to budget for your bi-annual dental appointments can help make the process smoother (and ensure you actually attend them).
In this guide, we'll show you how much dental cleaning costs in 2023 and what to expect when you visit the dentist. We'll also give you some tips on how to save money and improve your smile without breaking the bank.
How Much Does Teeth Cleaning Cost Without Dental Insurance?
The most recent ADA data shows that 59% of those aged 19-64 have private dental benefits, 7.4% receive their coverage through Medicaid, and the remaining 33.6% lack any form of dental insurance whatsoever. This means that tens of millions of people have to pay out-of-pocket for their dental care.
If you don't have insurance, regular dental cleaning can cost anywhere between $75 and $200 on average, depending on the city you reside in as well as the experience of your dentist.
For a deep cleaning (i.e., periodontal scaling and root planing) without dental insurance, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150-$350. Again, this depends on the same factors mentioned above.
Many dental offices offer payment plans, so you can spread out the teeth cleaning cost over time. However, it's best to ask before you book the appointment so there are no surprises when you show up.
Dental discount plans, also known as dental savings plans, are another option for those without insurance. They aren't insurance policies, but they have some similarities.
Rather than an expensive yearly fee like insurance companies charge, you can get reduced prices on your teeth cleaning services at participating dentists for just around $150 per year.
With a dental discount plan, you still pay the full cost of all oral care services. But without any of those pesky annual maximums or deductibles that come with traditional medical coverage and no waiting periods in order to use your plan, you can save significant amounts of money.
How Much Is A Tooth Cleaning With Insurance?
Unless you work for one of the 50% of companies that offer dental insurance, you can purchase it on your own.
Your dental insurance might provide up to 100% coverage for the costs of regular preventative care, including at least one free cleaning each year. But be aware that if you choose a pricier dentist outside your insurance company's network or one who is more expensive, you may have to pay more than what is typically covered for a routine checkup.
If you do have dental insurance, get in touch with your provider to see what your coverage entails. Some plans may cover 100% of the cost for preventive care and up to 80% for more involved procedures like deep cleanings and fillings.
Factors That Affect The Average Dental Cleaning Cost
As mentioned above, several factors impact whether you pay less or more for dental cleanings. Some of the most important ones include:
Where you live can have a big impact on the cost of your bi-annual teeth cleaning.
Areas with higher costs of living, such as cities and suburbs, will typically have more expensive dental services compared to rural areas. This is due to a variety of factors including the cost of labor, materials, and equipment needed for the procedure.
In areas with higher costs of living, dentists may be busier and charge more for their services because they have limited time. In rural areas, there may be fewer patients which causes dentists to offer lower rates.
Some people commute from their metropolitan areas to nearby towns to bring the cost of their dental appointments down. If they travel for work, they may even try to make teeth cleaning appointments while they’re on a work trip to a lower-cost area.
Experience Of Your Dentist
If you are looking for a dentist, their experience should be one of the factors you consider. While it does not necessarily guarantee quality care, dentists who have been practicing for many years may charge more for their services than those who are just starting out.
This higher cost is due to their extensive experience in the field and often includes the use of more advanced treatments and technologies.
That said, it’s important to remember that even inexperienced dentists can provide quality care. It’s best to do your own research into each dentist’s qualifications before making a decision.
If you have dental insurance, your costs for regular checkups and cleanings can be significantly lower than if you’re paying out-of-pocket. Most dental insurance policies are designed to cover preventive care, including biyearly teeth cleanings, fundamental diagnostic exams, and x-rays.
Your insurance plan may also cover a portion of the cost of more involved treatments, such as fillings, crowns, and root canals.
You should check with your insurance provider to find out exactly what is covered before making an appointment.
If you have periodontal disease or other oral health issues, the cost of your dental checkups might turn out to be more costly.
The overall teeth cleaning duration will be longer, and your dentist may need to perform more treatments or procedures in order to restore the health and appearance of your teeth.
In some cases, you may be referred to a periodontist who specializes in treating such conditions, which could add even more to the expense of your dental care.
Types Of Cleaning
The type of teeth cleaning you need may also influence the price.
A basic teeth cleaning typically includes scaling and polishing which helps remove plaque and tartar buildup on the surfaces of your teeth. This is usually done by a dental hygienist rather than a dentist.
If you need more involved treatments such as deep cleanings or root planing, you will usually have to pay more for the procedure.
Although dental cleaning slightly whitens your teeth, you may also want to get whitening treatments. These can cost a few hundred or a few thousand more depending on the type of whitening treatment you choose.
Periodontal maintenance is used to help manage and prevent periodontal disease. This treatment goes beyond a regular cleaning and includes scaling, root planing, and other procedures aimed at keeping your gums healthy.
Those with a history of the disease need to have periodontal maintenance performed on a regular basis in order to reduce the risk of recurrence. Your dentist will be able to provide more information on what treatments are necessary based on your individual needs.
Long-Term Consequences Of Missing Your Dental Cleaning Check-Up
Nearly half of those with dental insurance skip their cleanings due to the cost. And those without insurance often put off taking care of their teeth until they can’t ignore it any longer.
Unfortunately, this often leads to more serious and costly problems in the future.
Cavities And Tooth Decay
Seeing the dentist twice a year is one of the best ways to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Regular checkups allow your dentist to identify dental problems such as cavities in their early stages and recommend treatments before these issues become serious.
During each visit, you will receive a thorough teeth cleaning that involves scraping away tartar and plaque which can damage your teeth if left untreated.
Your dentist will also inspect your mouth for signs of gum disease which can lead to tooth loss or other more serious health concerns if not addressed. During these exams, they may take x-rays of your mouth in order to get a better look at any problems underneath the surface.
At the end of your dental visit, your dentist will give you tips on relieving pain after teeth cleaning, how to clean your teeth properly, and what foods to avoid in order to maintain your overall oral health.
Gum disease is a serious condition that affects many people. It can be the result of missing regular dental cleanings and left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss, bone deterioration, and an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
It’s important to remember that good oral hygiene is essential in preventing gum disease. Brushing twice daily and flossing at least once are recommended practices that can help keep your teeth healthy.
If brushing and flossing alone aren’t enough, then you can invest in more advanced treatments such as water flossers, mouthwash, or special tongue scrapers in order to maintain optimal oral health.
Regular checkups with your dentist are also essential in making sure that your gums remain healthy. During your visits, they will check for signs of gum inflammation or decay which can indicate the presence of periodontal disease. They will often take x-rays and look at other areas of your mouth to make sure that nothing is missed.
The key here is that your dentist will be able to catch gum problems before they turn into something more serious. Cleaning your teeth at home is important, but it won't tell you anything about your current oral health.
Research has indicated that periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, is associated with poor pregnancy outcomes. This is likely due to the increase in harmful bacteria in the mouth that can enter the bloodstream through a mother's inflamed gums and spread to other parts of the body.
These bacteria have been linked to an increased risk of pre-term labor and delivery, low birth weight, and other serious health concerns for both mother and baby.
Teeth whitening should not be done while pregnant, but proper oral hygiene is crucial for pregnant women to keep their gums healthy and prevent periodontitis (and other dental health problems) from developing.
Daily brushing, flossing, rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash, and bi-annual visits to the dentist are all important ways of keeping your gums in shape during pregnancy.
Problems With Your Braces
Cleaning teeth with braces can be a challenge. Since they are designed to stay in place for a long period of time, it can be difficult to reach all the places where food and bacteria can build up.
So, regular visits to the dentist are even more important when you have braces. Your orthodontist or dentist will use special tools to help clean around the brackets and wires, ensuring that your teeth are completely clean and healthy.
They will also check on the progress of your teeth to ensure that your braces are working as they should. This includes checking the tightness of the wires, looking for signs of gum disease or cavities, and making any changes necessary to ensure that your teeth are aligned correctly.
If you have braces and your teeth go unchecked, you might not be able to enjoy the benefits of white teeth or a healthy mouth later on.
Whether you have a question about at-home teeth whitening, tooth sensitivity, or braces care, your dentist is the best person to answer any questions you might have.
Your dentist can provide valuable advice that could help keep your teeth healthy and strong, as well as give tips on what to do and not to do. That way, you can avoid harming your teeth or wasting your money on ineffective teeth cleaning practices.
If you spent all your time reading articles, for example, you might conclude that rinsing your mouth with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice is a good way to whiten and maintain your teeth. But this would actually damage your enamel and cause considerable sensitivity.
Reading our blog, educating yourself, and speaking to a dental professional are all great ways of learning more about your oral health and keeping your teeth in top condition, but your dentist is a professional who has years of experience in helping people look after their teeth.
Want to learn more? Here are a few questions our customers frequently ask us.
How Often Should You Clean Your Teeth?
You should clean your teeth at home twice per day and at the dentist's office twice per year. If you have a history of gum disease or other dental issues, your dentist may recommend even more frequent cleanings. If you have braces or other orthodontic appliances, your dentist will also usually recommend additional cleanings.
Can Frequent Dental Cleaning Affect Tooth Enamel?
If you have sensitivity after teeth cleaning, you might think that dental visits are too harsh on your teeth. The reality is that dental cleanings don't negatively affect your teeth. In fact, removing plaque and bacteria in the dentist's chair can help prevent cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
How Can I Clean My Teeth Without Anything?
Brushing your teeth is an important everyday activity that you should not forgo. Still, there are ways to clean your teeth without toothpaste and other cleaning products.
The easiest way is to simply use mouthwash, which kills bacteria and helps reduce plaque. You can also chew sugarless gum, which contains xylitol—a natural ingredient that helps fight plaque and bacteria.
Apples, carrots, and celery are also good options for natural tooth cleaning. The crunchy texture of these foods helps remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth as you chew.
How Can I Clean My Teeth Naturally?
There are several natural teeth whitening and cleaning remedies available. Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are two of the most popular natural teeth-cleaning solutions as well as the safest.
You can also try oil pulling, which involves swishing oil (typically coconut or sesame) around your mouth for 10-20 minutes. This helps draw out bacteria and toxins from the teeth and gums.
Do not, however, try to whiten your teeth with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or other acidic solutions as this can damage your enamel. And avoid activated charcoal, as it has been proven not to work.
Can You Clean Your Teeth With Just Water?
Of course, water is great for keeping your mouth hydrated and clean, but it won't be as effective in cleaning teeth on its own. Brushing with toothpaste is the best way to remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth.
Still, water will do in a pinch, as it can wash away food particles and provide some cleaning action. You just won't be able to remove as much plaque or bacteria with just water, and substituting toothpaste for water every day will cause many of the same oral hygiene issues as not brushing at all.
How Do You Clean Yellow Teeth Fast?
If you want to whiten your teeth quickly, an in-office teeth whitening treatment is the best option. This can brighten your teeth up to eight times more than at-home treatments and the results last longer.
If you're looking for a more affordable solution, you can use over the counter whitening strips or toothpastes. But keep in mind that these do not provide the same results as an in-office treatment.
When you go in for your bi-annual teeth cleaning, your dentist can also give you advice on how to whiten your teeth naturally and safely. Remember not to eat after teeth cleaning either, as this can reduce the results of your visit.
The Bottom Line
The cost of dental cleaning varies. On the low end, it might cost around $75 for an hour-long visit. But if you live in an urban area, choose a more experienced dentist, or need treatment for a more severe gum condition, the cost can be much higher.
Still, regular dental cleanings are important to maintain your oral health and prevent long-term issues like cavities and gingivitis. And if you have braces or other orthodontic appliances, it's especially important to get a cleaning every six months.
Even though you might see it as an unnecessary expense, it's always worth investing in your oral health. By spending a few hundred dollars a year now, you can save yourself thousands in restorative treatments down the road.