How Much Does Teeth Cleaning Cost?
Teeth Cleaning Prevents Gum Disease
The main goal of professional teeth cleaning is to prevent gum disease, which is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults over the age of 40. The US Food & Drug Administration gives an overview of gum disease and how to fight it. There are many, many other reasons for periodic cleaning, all of which are preventive and ultimately save the patient a considerable amount of money. Other than prevention of gum disease, decay is discovered early which then requires only a minor inexpensive filling; whereas, later discovery of decay may lead to an expensive crown. Even worse, an extraction followed by a bridge or an implant may become necessary. All of this and more, including root canals, can usually be avoiding by periodic exams, x-rays, and cleaning. It just makes good sense. In many cases, all this can be avoided, your money can be used elsewhere, and you maintain peace of mind knowing that your mouth is absolutely healthy. And don’t forget about your breath! Clean teeth and healthy gums promote a refreshed mouth with excellent breath.
Cost of Teeth Cleaning
- The charge for a standard teeth cleaning and dental exam ranges from $75 to $200 with an average of $137. Often dental insurance will cover some or all of this cost for a specific number of cleanings per year.
- Often, x-rays may be necessary and are usually taken every other visit. This will add slightly to the cost.
- Dental insurance often covers 100% of preventive care as it sames them bigger expenses in the future. This varies with each plan and usually includes two cleanings per year.
- The more extensive deep cleaning process called scaling and root planing (SRP) is done by quadrants (upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left) at a cost of about $100 to $400 per quadrant depending on the severity of the problem, or $400 to $1,600 for the entire mouth. Most dental insurance includes these procedures.
- A regular cleaning focuses on the surfaces of the teeth, between the teeth by flossing, and surfaces above the gum line. Deeper cleaning, or scaling and root planing (SRP), is needed when calculus (tartar), bacteria and debris of all kinds is determined to lie beneath the gum line.
- Normal pocket depth is 3-4 mm. If 5 mm’s is measured, more than likely an SRP will be necessary. The goal will be to reduce the swelling of the gum tissue, which often brings the pocket depth back down to a healthy 3 mm. At a depth of 5 mm, the patient can no longer successfully clean the area and it progressively will get worse.
How long does a deep cleaning take?
- In most cases, one half of the mouth is cleaned in each of two visits. Each visit will take about an hour. In other cases, and this depends upon the needs of the patient, the case may be treated by scaling one quadrant per visit and therefore require 4 visits of approximately 45 minutes.
What should be included:
- In a standard cleaning, a dental hygienist (working under the dentist’s supervision) removes soft plaque and hard tartar (mineralized plaque that builds up on the teeth and can only be removed with professional instruments) from above and below the gum line on all teeth. The process requires one office visit and usually takes 30-60 minutes.
- Scaling and root planing is a deep-cleaning, non-surgical procedure generally done when the depths of the pockets around the teeth are deeper than 3 millimeters–an early sign of gum disease. Under local anesthetic, plaque and tartar above and below the gum are scraped away (scaling) and rough spots on the root are smoothed (planing) to remove bacteria and give a clean surface surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth. This is done using a local anesthetic and usually requires two to four office visits, each lasting around 45 minutes to an hour.
- Periodic X-rays ($13-$135) are needed to see if any problems are developing inside the teeth, and are generally required before cleaning the teeth of a new patient. These are often covered by insurance.
- A full mouth debridement (cleaning away excess buildup so the gums and bones are visible and can be evaluated) at $75-$150 or more may be needed for new patients who have not had dental treatment for quite awhile. Dental insurance may not cover debridement.
More Reasons to Get Teeth Cleaned
- The cost of dental cleaning is surprisingly low. Though many dental procedures are expensive, this is not true for the preventive professional dental cleaning.]
- Most people have an irrational fear of the dental office. It is said that approximately 75% of the population do not routinely visit the dentist yearly because of this. They know they should go, but often avoid it.
- Unwilling to hear about more serious problems in your mouth may be involved in patients not visiting their dentist periodically. Remember that dental problems get worse and never get better.
- Professional teeth cleaning is inexpensive and it truly helps the patient avoid the more expensive procedures.
- Periodic dental exams and cleanings, plus proper home care, are requirements for preventive dental care. A typical preventive dental visit will include and exam and professional cleaning, topical fluoride, and x-rays. The x-rays and fluoride are usually alternated between visits. These visits, along with daily brushing and flossing, are required to maintain excellent dental health.
- An excellent and trusting relationship with your dentist is your greatest asset in maintaining a healthy mouth.
American Dental Association-Life Member, Emeritus Fellow of Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Implant Dentistry
(A portion of the information in this article is from the American Dental Association, US Food & Drug Administration, and Cost Helper/Personal Care)