How Much Do Dental Checkups & Exams Cost?

How Much Do Dental Checkups & Exams Cost?
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How Much Do Dental Checkups & Exams Cost?Clinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Costs
  3. Insurance Coverage
  4. Dental Checkups & Exam Recommendations
  5. Benefits of Regular Exams
  6. References

A dental exam can range from $50 to $300 or more. They typically include a complete checkup of your teeth, gums, and oral health. Your dentist can help you determine how often you need a routine dental checkup and exam.

Dental exams and checkups should be considered a routine part of your overall healthcare. They can improve your oral health and also catch potential medical issues.

Overview of Dental Checkups & Exams

What is Included in a Dental Checkup and Exam

Dental exams and checkups look for tooth decay, gum disease, and oral health problems in the hopes of catching them early before they progress into more potentially serious problems.

Dental exams usually include the following:

  • Teeth and gum cleaning by a dental hygienist
  • X-rays when needed
  • Fluoride treatment
  • Complete oral health checkup by a dentist

The dental professional will check your mouth for cavities, examine your teeth for tartar and plaque buildup as well as assess their overall health and wellness, check your bite and ensure that your teeth are lining up properly, and screen for oral cancer.

X-rays are not generally needed at every exam; however, they are necessary to monitor progress periodically and take a deeper look for potential problems in your bones or teeth. X-rays can add to the expense of a dental exam.

During a professional tooth cleaning, a dental hygienist will use special tools to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth, scraping it off. They’ll then floss and brush your teeth. They may also apply a fluoride treatment in the form of a foam or gel to protect your teeth from tooth decay.

During an exam and dental checkup, the dentist and dental hygienist will give you tips on how to best care for your teeth.

A dental exam can range from $50 to $300 or more depending on where you live, who is doing the exam, what is included in the exam, and what needs to be addressed during the exam.

Typically, a standard dental exam and checkup will include the cleaning by the hygienist and checkup by the dentist. On average, a teeth cleaning will cost between $75 and $200.

X-rays, more comprehensive cleaning, and specialty services can cost more and add to your overall expense. For instance, if you need a deeper cleaning, such as scaling and root planing, you can expect to pay several hundred dollars more.

Not every dental issue causes pain right away, but not treating the problem early on can make it more challenging to fix in the future.

Insurance Coverage

Dental insurance will usually cover routine checkups and dental exams at 100 percent. There can be a copay associated with your dental visit, but this is usually minimal compared to the entire cost of the exam.

Dental exams are generally considered to be preventative care. As such, they are regularly covered through insurance. For the lowest price and most comprehensive coverage, many plans will require you to use an in-network provider that they contract directly with.

Most dental insurance plans will cover a routine dental visit and exam every six months. If you need more cleanings or checkups than that, or specialty services, check with your specific plan and policy to find out how the coverage works, what services will be covered, and to what extent.

Recommendations for Dental Checkups & Exams

Most dental disease is preventable through regular dental exams, checkups, and good oral hygiene. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you let your dentist create a specialized care routine for you, which will include regular dental exams and checkups. This may mean you need more than two visits per year based on your specific oral care needs.

If you are prone to tooth decay or gum disease, your dentist may want you to have your teeth professionally cleaned more than two times per year to prevent further oral and medical health issues. Genetics can also dictate more frequent dental checkups if you have a family history of oral health issues or medical diseases that can be picked up through a routine dental exam.

Benefits of Regular Dental Exams

Regular dental checkups can help to identify oral health issues and also medical problems that can impact your entire body, such as diabetes and cancer. Dental exams can provide the following additional benefits:

  • Whiter, cleaner teeth for a brighter smile
  • Fresher breath
  • Ensuring healthy gums
  • Slowing or stalling the progression of tooth decay

Dental exams and checkup costs are going to be a lot less than the expenses related to treating significant gum disease, tooth decay, or oral health problems that can progress without quick and early intervention.

A regular dental checkup is an important part of your medical health and general sense of wellness. They will usually not cost you much out of pocket if you have dental insurance or a dental discount plan.


How Much Does Teeth Cleaning Cost? (2021). CostHelper Health. Date Fetched: July 5, 2021.

American Dental Association Statement on Regular Dental Visits. (June 2013). American Dental Association (ADA). Date Fetched: July 5, 2021.

Dental Exam. (December 2020). U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Date Fetched: July 5, 2021.

Your Top 9 Questions About Going to the Dentist- Answered! Mouth Healthy- American Dental Association (ADA). Date Fetched: July 5, 2021.

When You Should See Your Dentist. American Dental Association (ADA) Patient Education Center. Date Fetched: July 5, 2021.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.