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A dental checkup can cost between $0 to $500+ depending on several factors, including your insurance, location, and the dentist’s pricing. A dental checkup is a routine dental exam to assess your teeth, gums, and oral health.
Regular dental exams can catch oral health issues like tooth decay and gum disease, which affect nearly half of all American adults.1 A dental cleaning, or prophylaxis, and oral hygiene education are usually also done at this visit.
The type of dental checkup you get may vary, along with its cost:
Any other dental procedures will incur an additional cost. Dentists recommend getting a routine checkup at least every 6 months.
Dental insurance typically covers routine dental checkups at 100%. That means you would pay $0 out of pocket.
However, this depends on your provider and plan. Many plans only cover a certain number of annual exams at 100%.
Always check the details of your plan and discuss coverage with your dentist.
If you don’t have dental insurance, you’ll pay the checkup cost out of pocket. The average price of a dental exam ranges between $50 and $200.
Your dentist can tell you how much a service will cost ahead of time. It can be helpful to inquire at multiple local dental offices to find the most affordable option.
The cost of a dental exam varies widely and depends on factors such as:
What happens during a dental exam depends on your oral health needs. A complete dental checkup typically involves your dentist assessing your teeth and gums, a dental hygienist performing a cleaning, and a technician taking X-rays.
However, depending on your dentist's recommendation or your budget, you may only receive one or some of these services during a dental exam.
Dental insurance is one of the best ways to access affordable dental care. Dental insurance plans are usually separate from medical insurance plans and incur a lower monthly premium.
Medicare and Medicaid are low-cost insurance plans that often offer dental services. However, if you can’t access dental insurance, there are other affordable options, including:
Payment plans allow you to make monthly payments toward your checkup. Many dental offices offer payment plans.
With a payment plan, you don’t have to pay the entire service cost upfront. You can spread it out over several months and pay in installments. Some plans incur interest, so discuss the details with your dentist.
Discount dental plans, also known as dental savings plans, are alternatives to traditional insurance.
You’ll pay an annual fee upfront, rather than a monthly premium, to access a nationwide network of providers. You’ll then receive 10 to 60 percent off services when you visit the dentist.
Unlike traditional insurance, discount dental plans don’t have deductibles, coinsurance, or copays.
Dental schools often have a student clinic you can visit for a low cost. If you live near an accredited dental school, it can be an excellent option for receiving affordable dental care. You can also obtain dental cleanings from dental hygiene schools.
Licensed dentists supervise trainees at dental schools. So you will still receive high-quality care and may pay only half the cost or less for the services.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) supports local health departments offering low-cost dental services.2
Search for federally-funded community clinics using this search tool.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) holds clinical trials that may provide free dental care to participants with specific medical/dental conditions.3 Clinical trials aren’t widely available nationwide. Check for local trials here.
Routine exams are crucial for preventing dental issues and maintaining your oral health. Dentists recommend getting a dental checkup at least every 6 months. In 2020, a survey showed that only 63% of people took that advice.4
The benefits of receiving routine dental checkups include:
Research has proven that oral health connects to your overall health.5 You must maintain your oral hygiene, which includes routine dental care, to protect and improve your general health.
Without insurance, dental checkups typically cost between $50 and $500+. Most dental insurances cover yearly dental exams at 100%.
Factors that affect the cost of a dental checkup include the services you get, how much your dentist charges, and where you live. With payment plans and discount dental plans, you can find affordable dental care alternatives at local dental schools.
Routine dental checkups help prevent oral health issues, control plaque, and maintain good oral hygiene. Visit your dentist every 6 months for a dental exam.
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