Teeth Cleaning Cost: Insurance Coverage, Cheap Options & More

Teeth Cleaning Cost: Insurance Coverage, Cheap Options & More
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Teeth Cleaning Cost: Insurance Coverage, Cheap Options & MoreClinical Content Reviewed by Licensed DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. Insurance vs. Cheaper Options
  2. Dental Savings Plans
  3. Yearly Dental Cleaning Is Important
  4. 2 Types of Teeth Cleaning
  5. References

The average cost of teeth cleaning in the U.S. is $90 to $120.

Dental insurance will cover one or two teeth cleanings per year. Insurance generally will not cover the total cost of a deep cleaning.

Some dental offices may offer a cheap teeth cleaning for a new patient’s initial visit.

Insurance vs. Cheaper Teeth Cleaning Options

The cost of a cleaning varies based on where you live, what type of cleaning you’re getting, if it is a cleaning other than your annual cleaning, and how much your dentist typically charges. Most dental insurance covers one cleaning per year, and sometimes, it will cover part of the cost of the second cleaning.

Deep cleaning is more expensive than a standard visit. Some of this cost may be covered by your dental insurance, but the rest must be paid out of pocket.

The Academy of Dental CPAs conducted a survey on the average cost of dental cleaning, without dental insurance, in the United States in 2016.

Deep cleanings cost more. Additional services like x-rays, dental impressions, and a full exam can expand the cost to $400 or more.

If you are worried about the cost teeth cleaning, especially if you need more than one cleaning per year, you may try to find ways to save money. Not many reputable dentists offer specials or lower costs on dental treatment, however. For example, cosmetic dentists may offer a free exam, consultation, or even fluoride treatment; however, these exams are rarely comprehensive enough to fully understand your oral health and recommend treatments. Fluoride treatment for your teeth can reduce the risk of cavities and temporarily clean your teeth, but it will not remove any stubborn calculus that remains.

Some dentists may offer specials to new patients, such as one cheap teeth cleaning. You can usually expect to pay regular price after this initial deal though.

Dental Savings Plans

Some dental insurance companies offer a dental savings plan, which can be a good option for people who cannot afford the monthly premiums associated with standard dental insurance. For example, Cigna’s dental discount plan coordinates with several care providers to get you between 15 and 50 percent off the cost of several important routine services, like x-rays, consultations, and cleanings.

You may have a health savings plan associated with your dental insurance, which can help you cover the cost of a deep cleaning or multiple cleanings in a year. You can also ask your dentist about payment plans with them. This can alleviate your financial burden so you can get the full treatment you need.

They found that this procedure ranged in price from $90 to $120, and if you have excessive tartar and plaque buildup, this can add around $100 to the cost of cleaning.

Getting Your Teeth Cleaned By Your Dentist Every Year Is Important

Even if you have a strong oral hygiene routine, including brushing and flossing at least twice per day, you should still visit your dentist regularly for teeth cleaning. Your regular dentist knows your mouth best and can recommend a schedule for these cleanings.

They are typically recommended once to twice per year, according to the American Dental Association (ADA) and dental insurance companies. If you are at higher risk for or struggle with periodontal disease, you may need to go in for more cleanings — perhaps even three times per year until all disease has been cleared. Some people who have chronic health conditions, like diabetes, also need to go in for more frequent cleanings.

There are also different types of teeth cleaning your dentist may recommend, depending on your plaque and tartar buildup. During your exam, your dentist will examine your teeth to determine what cleaning procedure would work best.

Teeth Cleaning: 2 Types

On average, your dentist will schedule one appointment with you each year for a cleaning and checkup. If you are a new patient with them, or you have struggled with oral hygiene difficulties in the past, they may schedule two or three appointments in a year to remove greater buildup of plaque and tartar, and address other oral health issues.

There are two basic types of teeth cleaning.

Scale and Polish

A scale and polish is a standard cleaning procedure to remove plaque and tartar, sometimes referred to as calculus. Either your dentist or a dental hygienist can perform this procedure.

First, the dentist will scrape plaque from the teeth with specific removal tools. They may scrape around your gums or just underneath. This can be a sensitive area, so you may ask for localized anesthesia to reduce sensation, but this is rarely needed.

Then, your dentist will scale your teeth, using a device called an ultrasonic scaler. This device vibrates at a high speed, which loosens remaining tartar on the teeth, removes some staining, and makes your teeth appear brighter. Shaping tools and water jets can brush away any buildup.

Scaling and Planing

Scaling and planing: Many American adults may not practice an ideal dental care routine, or they visit their dentist less than once per year. They may also simply be more prone to plaque and tartar buildup. Sometimes, dentists recommend a deep cleaning procedure, which involves scaling and planing the teeth, roots, and gums.

Like standard teeth cleaning, scaling in deep cleaning involves specialized sharp tools to remove tartar and plaque from the teeth; however, during deep cleaning, your dentist will use local anesthesia so they can lift your gums and scale your teeth beneath the gums as well. Then, they will plane the roots of your teeth, to remove pockets that have formed, which may have allowed bacteria to thrive. This will help your gums fit more securely on top of your teeth.

Unfortunately, many people avoid routine dental care because they do not feel they have the time or money for an annual or twice-annual visit to their dentist. However, getting a regular cleaning and checkup can prevent bigger oral health problems, which can lead to higher cost treatment like deep cleaning and other solutions.


Getting Your Teeth Cleaned. Humana. Date fetched: May 16, 2021.

Teeth Cleaning: Guide to Professional Tartar Removal at the Dentist. (March 2021). Dentaly. May 16, 2021.

Deep Cleaning Your Teeth: When to Do It. Colgate. May 16, 2021.

Periodontal Pocket Reduction Procedures. American Academy of Periodontology. May 16, 2021.

How Much Does Teeth Cleaning Cost? Health.CostHelper. May 16, 2021.

The Dental Economics Annual Fee Survey. (June 2016). Dental Economics. May 16, 2021.

Average Cost of Teeth Whitening Without Insurance. Cigna Dental Plans. May 16, 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.