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How Much Does a Dental Visit Cost?

By January 19, 2022 August 15th, 2023 No Comments
a dentist showing an x-ray on tablet

Going to the dentist is very much part of the routine for many of us. A good portion of people use dental insurance while others simply do not have dental insurance. Of course, with and without insurance there are typically out of pocket costs that you need to be aware of before you head over to your dentist office.

Different treatments from the dentist can cost different amounts. Of course, every dentist office also has the ability to set their own prices for things, which can affect the cost that you should expect as well. Before you head to the dentist, you might want to know how much your dental visit is going to cost.

Today, let’s break it down and take a closer look at just how much a dental visit might cost you so you can start planning.

Average Dental Visit Costs

Let’s start by just taking a look at the average costs you might find at a dental office. The first thing you should note is that there are many different types of dental services out there. Some offices will do all of them while some offices will have standard things they do or do not offer.

Here are some of the most common dental services.

  • Teeth cleaning
  • Fillings
  • Tooth extraction
  • Wisdom teeth removal
  • Root canal
  • Sealants
  • Pediatric services
  • Whitening
  • Gum care
  • Bad breath treatment
  • Snoring treatment
  • Prosthodontics (caps, crowns, bridges, dentures, etc.)
  • Orthodontics (braces and cosmetic treatment)
  • TMJ treatment

Some services, like regular dental cleanings, fall under preventive care.

The more extensive services like orthodontics, root canals, and prosthodontics do cost more. They require long-term care and customized treatment typically. Things like routine cleanings are more affordable and sometimes even covered completely by dental insurance.

a woman visiting the dentist

Checkups & Cleanings

The most common reason you might visit the dentist office is for your bi-annual exam and cleaning from the dentist. These are recommended every 6 months with an annual add-on for x-rays as well. This is where your teeth will be professionally cleaned and flossed and you can create a treatment plan for any oddities as well.

You will find that depending on the location of the office and their status, a routine exam can get pretty pricey. In some cases, these will cost little to no money but they can cost as high as $615. Some of the costs may also depend on specific variables.

For example, the cost of a routine dental checkup may include screening, x-rays, an oral treatment plan, and more. The average cost of a cleaning throughout the United States is approximately $127 when no x-rays are included. If the checkup includes x-rays, the average cost is about $300.

The routine checkup ultimately covers the cost of the hygienist cleaning your teeth professionally as well as having the dentist perform their exam.

If you carry insurance, some or all of your routine dental checkups may be covered by insurance.

a person pointing to the teeth x-ray

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If your dentist finds a cavity, you will need to have a filling placed. The price for a filling might vary depending on the type of filling used as well as where the filling is located on your teeth. In general, the prices are steady but may vary depending on location and what is required for the filling.

There are 3 common materials for dental fillings that include a composite tooth-colored filling, a silver amalgam filling, or even a porcelain or cast-gold filling. The porcelain and cast-gold are considerably more expensive and can reach up to $4,500 depending on the extent of the filling.

The most common filling used by dental offices now is the composite, tooth-colored filling. This particular filling typically ranges from $90 to $250 at most offices. The cost might be on the higher end for a tooth that is harder to reach in this case.

The most affordable filling type is the silver amalgam filling. This option has an average price range of $50 to $150. Again, the cost may rise for teeth that are harder to reach or fill.

a dentist with a patient

Tooth Extraction

A tooth extraction refers to a tooth that can be pulled by the dentist office without using a surgical procedure. There are surgical extractions as well, which will be much higher in cost because it is a surgical procedure.

A tooth extraction will require some form of anesthesia, although how much or what really depends on the procedure and the extent of the extraction.

For a general non-surgical extraction for a tooth that has erupted through the gums, the price is an average of $75 to $300. A surgical extraction that requires anesthesia (non-extensive extraction) will most likely cost more like $150 to $650.

Complicated surgical extractions or a case in which soft tissue is involved will cost more. Wisdom teeth extractions also tend to cost more because they are harder to reach and harder to extract. This could cost an average of $75 to $200 per tooth. Again, it may be more expensive if it becomes a surgical procedure.

Teeth that are impacted will also cost more for extraction.

tools in the dentist's office

Root Canals

A root canal is typically used when a rose is exposed or perhaps infected. The cost of the root canal may depend on the location in your mouth it is being completed. A single root canal may cost on average $600 to $1,400.

The types of root canals are split out into front teeth, bicuspid teeth, and molar teeth typically. With insurance, your out of pocket costs will vary but the average is around $100-$300, depending on the procedure and your coverage.


Getting your teeth professionally whitened can get pricey, depending on the treatment. There are many different options for this, including laser whitening.

On average, the cost of whitening services is about $650 per visit to the office. Again, remember that this particular service will vary depending on what you use and the office as well. Whitening services are rarely covered by insurance but it might be in part.

a person on the dental treatment


Prosthodontics includes things like crowns, bridges, caps, and even dentures or implants.

These are the services that will range the most in prices and all of them depend on how extensive the procedure is as well as your office and your needs. Things like implants and dentures tend to be very costly.

Things like crowns and caps are not quite as expensive but still get pretty pricey.

On average, a tooth crown costs somewhere between $1000 and $1500.

On the other hand, a set of dentures that are just basic will probably cost around $1500 and premium dentures may cost as much as $15,000. Dental implants may cost up to $5000 for a single tooth but again it depends on the service and the extent of your treatment.

These just cover some of the most common things that might happen or need to happen in a dental visit. Specialty services are often customized and will cost more but we’ve at least got the basics for you here.


What to Expect from a Dental Visit

When you visit the dental office for a routine visit, it is much more affordable. For this category, refer to our cleaning and checkup costs as this will be what you should set your expectations for. This cost is solely for the price of the checkup and cleaning.

Compare this to something like a routine physical exam at your doctor’s office. These exams are meant to review your overall health, determine if there is anything further you should plan treatment for, and cover the basics of your health.

A dental checkup operates under the same concept. You review your dental health, get a professional cleaning, and then plan any necessary treatments as well.

So what can you expect when you go to the dentist?

The Office

When you walk into the office, it will most likely be a welcoming environment. Everyone is smiling and the reception area is always a friendly, comfortable place to put your mind at ease. They might even have cookies that you can dream about enjoying when you’re finished.

You will check in and be greeted by the receptionist. Here you will do any paperwork and give them your insurance information if applicable. Once they’ve checked you in, you will wait in the waiting room until your hygienist calls you back.

The Hygienist Area

When your hygienist calls you back, they will take you to their station. They will most likely have a table area with instruments and their supplies for cleaning. There will be a cozy chair where you can stretch out your legs. The chair will be able to lean back.

When you sit, the hygienist will lean you back so that they can get closer to your mouth so just lean back and relax while they do their work.

The associate will use their tools. Everything will be cleaned and sanitized appropriately. They will have new tools and things that go in your mouth. They will have toothpaste and such as well.

The hygienist cleaning and examination process will probably take 30-60 minutes. If you are having x-rays, they will take care of this as well. They will check for plaque and scrape it away, clean your teeth with paste, and floss for you.

When they finish the cleaning and initial exam, they will call in the dentist.

The Dentist

When the dentist comes in, they will do very little on a regular checkup or cleaning. They will ask you how things are, do a review of your teeth and oral health, and go over anything needed. If further treatment is needed, they will review this with you as well.

The Handoff

When you finish, your hygienist will schedule your next appointment as needed or take you to the front desk to schedule. They typically send you away with a new toothbrush, some floss, and a travel-size sample of toothpaste.

You would also leave with any type of treatment plan and instructions as needed, as well as any information that might be necessary for future treatments or visits.

Can You Go to the Dentist Without Insurance?

You are not required to have insurance in order to go to the dentist. Having insurance will help with the costs as your insurance typically covers a portion of all costs and some even cover the full expense of routine checkups and x-rays for exams.

Some dentist offices may offer a cash payment discount where you pay a little less if you pay in full before services. This is something you might be able to check with your dentist office about. If you do not have dental insurance, you may want to check with different offices to find the best cost for the work that you need to have completed.

Choosing a Dental Office

When you are ready to go to the dentist, there are a few things that you might want to consider before you make a final decision.

Here are some tips.

  • Reputation of the office and the staff, check out what others are saying
  • Check with each office for costs and out of pocket expectations
  • The services offered (do they have what you need?)
  • Is there a dental school nearby to save some money?
  • Professionalism of the office
  • How welcoming and comfortable is the office?

These are just a few things that might help you make the best decision. Ultimately, it might boil down to cost for you. In a specific area, you will find that the costs will be pretty similar among dental offices so you may get to choose based on other factors.

a group of dentists in a dental clinic

Final Thoughts

Going to the dentist can sometimes be expensive. If you are planning to go for routine exams and cleaning, this is the most affordable service. Ultimately, the cost that you can expect will depend on the office, the location of the office, and the service that you need to have completed.

On average, a cleaning and exam costs $130-$250 but it can cost more and dental insurance may cover some or all of the costs.

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