The best way to prevent dental problems tomorrow is to take care of your teeth today. Aside from regular brushing and flossing, you’ll also want to visit your dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning. Of course, you don’t want the costs of the cleaning to clean out your wallet.
If you don’t have dental insurance, the costs of a dental cleaning can be worrisome. How much does the average cleaning cost, and what payment options are available if you don’t have dental insurance?
What is the Average Cost of a Dental Cleaning?
The Academy of Dental CPAs partnered with the trade publication Dental Economics to create the 2016 annual fee survey. After surveying over 600 dental practitioners, the average cleaning cost was found to be between $90 and $120.
What Additional Cleaning Costs Should I Be Aware Of?
Not all cleanings are the same. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you might be faced with additional charges. For instance, excessive plaque and tartar build-up can add $100 or more to your bill.
Plus, most dentists require a comprehensive examination of new patients. Expect to be charged a fee for any consultation which involves x-rays, a full-mouth exam, impressions and similar procedures. This can increase costs anywhere from $50 to $400 or more.
What is a Free Dental Consultation?
If you’re searching for a new dentist, you’ve likely found offers for free dental consultations. These are especially common among cosmetic dentists. A free consultation is usually not very comprehensive. No check-up, cleaning or any other dental procedure will be involved.
Instead, a free consultation is simply a short conversation with the dentist to discuss potential treatment options. You have a chance to ask questions about the procedure, financing and anything else. Consultations are a great way to meet a new dentist, but they don’t include any type of free cleaning.
How Can I Save Money on Dental Cleanings?
First, you’ll want to shop around. Location can have a large effect on dental prices. Dentists located in smaller, more rural areas often have lower prices than dentists in busier, more urban areas. If you’re looking for a new dentist, you can often save money if you’re willing to travel just a bit outside of larger cities.
When you find a dentist you like, don’t be afraid to ask about payment options. Many dentists are willing to work with their patients. Ask about any cash discounts. Insurance companies can be a real hassle for a dentist to deal with. Quite a few dentists prefer the ease of patients who pay out-of-pocket — and they’ll lower their rates as an incentive.
Will Dental Insurance Save Me Money?
In some cases, dental insurance can help lower your dental costs. For instance, Cigna dental insurance can be very helpful when provided by an employer. Insurers understand the power of prevention, so dental cleanings under many insurance plans are often free or very cheap.
But dental insurance isn’t always a great deal if you have to pay for coverage yourself. If you’re unemployed, finding affordable dental insurance can be difficult. Likewise if your current employer doesn’t provide dental insurance.
Plus, dental insurance can be complicated by pre-existing conditions. While your insurance plan might help with routine cleanings, you could still wind up with big bills for procedures which insurance won’t cover.
What is a Dental Discount Plan?
Instead of dental insurance, you might want to consider a Cigna dental plan. An affordable alternative to dental insurance, a Cigna dental discount plan offers savings between 15% and 50% on a wide variety of dental procedures including cleanings, x-rays and consultations.
A discount plan can also help you save on more complicated procedures such as braces and endodontics, too. Even many cosmetic procedures such as tooth whitening often have discounts.
Members of a dental discount plan are issued a membership card which provides discounts at a network of dentists across the country. Discounts are available right away with no limits on the frequency of use. Unlike dental insurance, a discount plan has no maximum coverage limits. Plus, discount dental plans have no health restrictions, so everyone is accepted for membership.
How Can I Help Keep My Teeth Clean?
Taking great care of your teeth at home results in less time spent in the dentist’s chair. Brush your teeth for at least three minutes twice a day. Also, don’t forget to floss.
The good news is that regular check-ups help keep dental costs down. When your teeth are generally healthy, a routine cleaning is unlikely to involve extra costs. Once your teeth have been professionally cleaned, be sure to visit your dentist for regular check-ups. You don’t need dental insurance to afford a healthy smile.