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Dental Cleaning Costs & Why They Are Essential

Professional teeth cleanings by a dentist or dental hygienist remove plaque buildup on and between your teeth. Plaque naturally collects in your mouth, even with regular brushing and flossing. Regular teeth cleanings reach areas in the mouth that are hard to reach with a regular toothbrush. Routine dental exams may also include X-rays (once a year). 

Professional teeth cleanings include scaling and polishing. Teeth cleaning treatment uses dental instruments to loosen and remove soft plaque and hard tartar buildup on your teeth. 

Dental discount plans might save you more than insurance.

For some patients, a dental discount plan could save you more money each year.

With regular checkups and teeth cleanings, your dentist can catch any issues early on. This prevents them from developing further and becoming more serious or expensive to fix. 

Dentists recommend getting professional teeth cleanings every six months for several reasons:

  • Prevents gum disease 
  • Keeps your teeth 
  • Achieves a whiter smile 
  • Prevents bad breath 
  • Removes plaque buildup on teeth
  • Catches signs of oral disease early on
  • Improves overall oral health

Tooth decay and gum disease result from plaque. This is a sticky combination of bacteria and food. Plaque begins to collect on teeth within a few minutes after eating. 

If plaque isn’t removed, it turns into a hard deposit called tartar. Tartar can become trapped at the bottom of your teeth and along the gum line.

Together, plaque and tartar irritate and inflame the gums. Bacteria causes the gums to become:

  • Infected
  • Tender
  • Swollen
  • Inflamed

By regularly cleaning your teeth, you can help avoid dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis disease).

You should also teach young children how to brush and floss their teeth from an early age to protect their mouths.

Factors That Affect Dental Cleaning Costs

When it comes to the cost of professional teeth cleanings, there are many variables. These include:

  • Location of the dentist or dental hygienist 
  • Type of cleaning required
  • Whether you have dental insurance or not
  • Whether you need a prescription toothpaste or an at-home product from your dentist

4 Types of Dental Cleanings

There are several types of teeth cleanings you can receive at a dental office. The kind of cleaning you need depends on your age and your oral health status. 

Four common types of dental cleanings include:

1. Child Teeth Cleaning 

Children should first visit their dentist for a checkup when they are six months old or following the eruption of their first tooth. By the time a child is three or four years old, they will need regular teeth cleanings (twice a year). 

These teeth cleanings cater to young kids to make them feel comfortable. During pediatric teeth cleanings, the dentist will assess the child’s dental health and discuss how to improve it with the parents or guardians.

2. Adult Teeth Cleaning 

For adults who have healthy teeth and gums, or early signs of gingivitis without bone loss, regular cleanings are required (twice a year). During the procedure, your dental hygienist will use a scaler to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria. They will also polish your teeth.

3. Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing

If you have gum disease, you may need deep cleaning treatment. This cleaning includes scaling and root planing. These procedures clean between the gums, teeth, and onto the roots. In some cases, a local anesthetic may be required to numb the gums and your teeth roots.

4. Periodontal Maintenance 

Periodontal maintenance is a professional cleaning treatment that dental hygienists use to combat the progression of periodontal disease. During this treatment, your dentist will remove plaque and tartar buildup above and below the gum line. They will also remove any stains on your teeth, which will help improve your breath.

How Much Does a Dental Cleaning Cost?

Not all dental cleanings cost the same. The price depends on the cleaning you need and whether you have a dental insurance plan.

A dental cleaning can cost anywhere between $75 to $400 (with no insurance), depending on the type of cleaning required and the patient's age.


Type of Dental CleaningCost (Without Dental Insurance)Cost (With Dental Insurance)
Child Teeth Cleaning Cost$94$32
Adult Teeth Cleaning Cost$119$39
Deep Cleaning Cost$335$117
Periodontal Maintenance Cost$178$72

Other Ways to Save Money on Teeth Cleanings

If you don’t have dental insurance, there are other ways you can pay for dental care treatment at an affordable cost:

Dental Schools

A dental school can be an excellent way to receive quality and affordable preventive dental care and treatment. Most dental schools have clinics that allow dental students to build experience by treating patients at a reduced cost. All students are overseen by a professional with extensive dentistry experience.

Government Programs

Your government or local health department may offer programs in your area that provide free or reduced-cost teeth cleanings. Contact your local or state health department to learn more about their dental assistance programs.

Dental Discount Plans

Instead of insurance, you might want to consider a dental discount plan. A dental plan is an affordable alternative to dental insurance. 

Many dental discount plans offer savings between 15% and 50% across a selection of dental treatments and procedures. These include cleanings, consultations, and X-rays.

A dental discount plan can also help patients save money on more complicated dental procedures like braces and endodontics.

Dental Cleaning Cost FAQs

How much does it cost to get teeth cleaned at dentist?

You can expect to pay approximately $119 without insurance for a teeth cleaning and $39 with insurance. The price of dental services varies depending on your location, your dentists pricing, and other various factors.

How often should I get a dental cleaning?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you get a routine checkup and dental cleaning at least once a year if you have good oral hygiene habits.

Is it painful to get a deep cleaning at the dentist?

A deep cleaning can cause some discomfort, but most dentists will administer a local anesthetic to numb your gums during the cleaning. This will alleviate any pain. Afterwards, your gums may be a little tender or sore.

Is a deep cleaning really necessary?

A deep cleaning is necessary if you show any signs of advanced gum disease. A deep cleaning can reverse gingivitis, improve your overall health, and save you from further dental problems, including tooth loss.

How long does it take to get a deep cleaning at the dentist?

An average deep cleaning takes approximately one or two hours and can be completed in a single visit. If you have several troubled areas or widespread infection, it may take multiple visits.

How much does it cost to get tartar removed?

A deep cleaning can cost around $335 without insurance and $117 with insurance.

Finally, an insurance alternative that works.

In many cases, dental discount plans can replace dental insurance. It even helps pay for cosmetic procedures.

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Updated on: November 4, 2020
Author
Ellie Swain
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Lara Coseo
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