How Much Does a Teeth Cleaning Cost?

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The ADA American Dental Association recommends you get your teeth cleaned at least every six months and have an x-ray done once a year.  During this procedure, a dental hygienist will brush, floss and scrape away any plaque in between the teeth.  The cost of a routine session will vary depending on the dentist, where you live, your insurance and if any other procedures need to be done.

February 6, 2014 by osseous, on Flickr
February 6, 2014” (CC BY 2.0) by osseous

How much does a professional teeth cleaning cost?

On average, a standard dental cleaning is going to range anywhere from $70 to $175 for a basic cleaning without insurance and this does not include x-rays.

Aspen Dental, for example, starts its basic cleanings at $78.  Western Dental, another popular dental office chain, charges a similar price.

A cost of a cleaning a dental school, for example, can be much cheaper.  For instance, at the Case Western Dental School, the costs of a cleaning is often free during parts of the year.

A deep cleaning, also referred to as scaling, if necessary, is an extensive cleaning that is more in depth than a regular cleaning.  During this procedure, the hygienists will measure your pocket depth, and if the depth is great than five millimeters, then this is a sign of periodontal disease and you may require a deep cleaning session.  This cleaning can cost upwards of $150 to $450 per quadrant, and with four quadrants in the mouth, which include the upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left, the costs can get close to the $600 range.  Most people, on average, pay close to $1,000 for a deep cleaning session.

If you have dental insurance, check with your insurance company to see what is covered.  Some policies may completely cover the cleaning, while others may require paying your deductible. Most dental insurance policies, regardless of which company you have, will have a set benefit/coverage limit annually.

According to this forum thread, forum members had stated that they paid anywhere from $75 to as much as $300 for a cleaning.  The cost of a basic cleaning greatly varied by geographical location.

What's Included?Average Price
Just a cleaning$75 to $200
A cleaning, oral exam and x-ray$100 to $350
Deep cleaning (root planing)$600 to $3,000+

Professional teeth cleaning overview

During a cleaning, a dental hygienist will remove any tartar or plaque buildup on the teeth using a variety of tools that will be more powerful than the toothbrush you use at home.  Plaque, a soft film that covers your teeth as time goes on, needs to be removed because it can eventually lead to decay or even tooth loss over time. After any buildup has been removed, the hygienist will proceed to brush and floss your teeth.  Lastly, the dentist will have a final look to make sure that everything looks okay or to let you know what work may have to potentially be done.  The whole process will take less than one hour.

What are the extra costs?

If x-rays are needed before the cleaning begins, this can add an additional $35 to $75 to the visit.  Bitewing x-rays are going to cost more than panoramic dental x-rays.

If a deep cleaning is required, a small anesthetic may be administered if you have sensitive gums.

Fluoride treatments can cost anywhere from $25 to $40 extra if chosen or needed.

If a cavity is suspected or other work has to be done in the next couple weeks, the cost of each procedure will greatly vary depending on what needs to be done.  One of the most common problems found during a routine cleaning is a cavity.  A cavity filling, for instance, can cost $200 to $250, while something extreme such as a root canal can cost upwards of $1,500 for just the front teeth.

Tips to know

Even if you brush and floss daily, it doesn’t mean you should avoid your dental cleanings.  At a dentist office, they will have specialized equipment that allows them to clean your teeth deeper and more thoroughly than you can do at home.  A routine exam can also help prevent tooth loss and/or decay since a good cleaning will be able to remove all the plaque buildup on your teeth.

How can I save money?

If you are looking for a new dentist office, many have new patient specials that range from getting a free teeth whitening session to getting half off your first cleaning.  Discount coupon sites such as Groupon are a great place to look for discounted first time cleaning deals.

Consider paying up front in cash during your next visit.  Most dentist offices are more than happy to offer a discount to those that pay cash.

Check with a local resident dental school to see if they offer cleanings at a discounted rate.  Although done by students, the cleaning will be supervised by a professional.

You don’t need to have your teeth cleaned every six months.  Instead, let them know that you want to have it done on an annual basis.  However, only consider this option if you have healthy gums and teeth. offers a variety of plans in your area that can save you more than 60% on your cleanings.  In fact, some checkups are even free with some of the plans listed on their site.

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