Updated on February 1, 2024
5 min read

Cost of Dental Check Ups

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How Much Does a Dental Check-Up Cost? 

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.

Woman Having Dental Check up

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:

  • Basic oral exam — Your dentist examines your teeth and gums to evaluate your oral health. Without insurance, it usually costs between $50 and $200.
  • Dental cleaning — A dentist or dental hygienist cleans your teeth and gums, which can incur additional costs ranging from $75 to $200 out of pocket without insurance.
  • X-rays — X-rays incur an average cost of $200 for the entire mouth. Dental insurance may cover the total price but only once per year.

Any other dental procedures will incur an additional cost. Dentists recommend getting a routine checkup at least every 6 months.

With Insurance

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.

Without Insurance

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.

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Other Expenses of Dental Exams 

The cost of a dental exam varies widely and depends on factors such as:

  • What’s involved — If your exam includes a dental cleaning or X-rays, the price may increase to up to $600.
  • Location — Living in an area with a low cost of living may mean your dentist also has lower prices.
  • Dentist’s pricing — Your dentist determines what they charge out of pocket for dental services. They may also offer discounts or payment plans.

What to Expect During a Dental Exam

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. 

How to Get Affordable Dental Care

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

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

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

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.

Local Health Departments

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.

Clinical Trials

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.

Tired of paying full price for dental work? Save with Discount Dental Plans. Learn more here or call (833) 704-2246

Why are Routine Dental Check-Ups Essential?

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:

  • Preventative care — Your dentist can quickly catch oral health issues like tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer and stop them from worsening. The sooner you spot dental problems, the easier they are to fix.
  • Plaque controlPlaque is the sticky film that develops on your teeth over time. Too much plaque accumulates into tartar, which only a dental professional can remove. Dental hygienists can perform a thorough cleaning that removes plaque and protects your teeth and gums.
  • Oral hygiene education — Your dentist and dental hygienist will review your daily oral hygiene practices and make recommendations to ensure long-term oral health.
  • Brighter smile — Regular dental cleanings will leave you with whiter, cleaner teeth, which can improve the esthetics of your smile.

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.

Ready for Affordable Dental Care?

DentalPlans makes finding affordable dental care simple. Compare top plans, know your exact costs, and find the perfect dentist near you.

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Last updated on February 1, 2024
5 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 1, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Gum Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2020.
  2. Where can I find low-cost dental care?” HHS.gov, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2017. 
  3. Why Should I Participate in a Clinical Trial?” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2019.
  4. Oral and Dental Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2022.
  5. Oral health.” World Health Organization, 2023.
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