How Much Does It Cost to Get Your Teeth Cleaned?

whitney difoggio cleaning patients teeth

Teeth cleaning costs can vary depending on where you live and the type of cleaning that you need. On top of geographical cost-of-living, the cost of dental cleaning visits can depend on things like whether you have insurance, you’re paying cash, if you’re a new patient, how many cleanings you’re getting a year, your age, and the level of cleaning that’s being performed.

Why Are Dental Cleanings Important 

Hands-down, the true teeth cleaning cost is worth its weight in gold. It’s an essential preventative service that’s meant to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy, preventing gum disease and permanent tooth loss. Without dental cleanings, you’re at a statistically higher chance of losing your teeth and suffering from preventable oral diseases.[1] Since dental cleanings—AKA “prophys” or a “prophylaxis”—are preventative in nature, their return on investment helps reduce the chances of otherwise avoidable dental issues.

Risks If Teeth Are Not Professionally Cleaned

Even if you have the best oral hygiene habits in the world, you’re still prone to a little plaque and tartar buildup here and there. Regular preventative dental cleanings safely remove those areas of buildup to give you a “clean slate” to work with. Otherwise, tartar will continue to accumulate under the gums. Eventually it will cause your gum tissues to pull away, creating a deep pocket underneath them, as well as bone shrinkage around the root of your tooth. Unless intervention occurs, tooth mobility and loss are imminent.

The cost of dental cleanings every six months—even without insurance—is minimal compared to the risk of tooth loss because of tartar buildup. Since cleanings are 100% preventative in nature, they’re meant to help you preserve your smile and actually save money in the future.

How Often Should You Go To The Dentist?

People with healthy teeth and gums typically need to visit their dentist and hygienist twice a year for exams and cleanings. Although teeth cleaning costs may lead you to believe otherwise, some people also benefit from more frequent cleanings every 3-4 months, because of factors like fixed orthodontic appliances or past gum disease treatments.[2]

These routine preventative appointments can help you:

  • Identify and reverse gingivitis before it evolves into gum disease
  • Pinpoint periodontal infections before they spread or cause bone loss
  • Reverse enamel demineralization, which is the first stage of cavities
  • Screen for abnormal tooth wear
  • Identify early symptoms of oral cancer (potentially saving your life)
  • Conduct a TMJ assessment
  • Polish away surface stains for brighter enamel
  • Intercept decay or weak restorations before problems develop

Visiting the dentist gives you a head start when it comes to avoiding completely preventable or reversible dental problems. Even the minimal teeth cleaning costs without insurance are an amazing investment compared to costly dental work like root canals, extractions, crowns, and full mouth rehabilitation.  

Factors That Affect Cost Of Dental Cleanings 

While it may be impossible to quote you exactly how much teeth cleaning costs are, we can tell you what impacts the price you’ll be paying for your appointment:

Location

Some parts of the country or your geographical area simply cost more to live in. Things like rent impact operating expenses for both your dentist, their lab, and the salaries they pay their staff. Teeth cleaning costs tend to be lower the more rural you are.  

Type Of Cleaning Required

Preventative cleanings are usually the most affordably priced and typically covered by insurance. But periodontal therapy or deep cleaning teeth costs more because of time and other factors involved.  

Dental Insurance Or No Insurance

Since preventative dentistry reduces your cost of future oral care, most insurance companies cover the cost of dental cleanings at 100%. However, deep cleaning teeth costs tend to require a deductible/co-pay. Obviously if you don’t have insurance, you’re responsible for the total fee regardless of which type of cleaning it is.  

You can also save big by being prepared and save up to 60% on cleanings with a dental savings plan.

Dental History

People who haven’t been to the dentist in ages may have active gum disease or need a special type of a cleaning called a “debridement” before the dentist can even perform an exam. The better your preventative care routine is, the less your cleaning will typically cost.  

4 Main Types Of Dental Cleanings

Not all teeth cleanings are created equal. Each different type requires specific tools, lengths of time, and resources to make them happen.

1) Adult Teeth Cleaning  

A typical prophylaxis appointment usually lasts 45-60 minutes and is performed every six months.

2) Child Teeth Cleaning

Pediatric dental cleanings typically require much less time, due to the limited size and number of teeth that are present. Children may get heavy plaque, but tartar is less common.


3) Scaling And Root Planing (Deep Cleaning/SCRP)

Periodontal deep cleanings reach beyond the edges of the gumlines to remove tartar buildup along the root surfaces of teeth. They help halt gum disease and bone loss. Most deep cleanings are performed in “quadrants” or half of your mouth at a time.  

4) Periodontal Maintenance

Following a deep cleaning, periodontal maintenance appointments are booked at 3–4-month intervals to help prevent relapse.  

How Much Do Dental Cleanings Cost? 

Although the total cost of dental cleaning appointments can vary, here is a fairly rough estimate of what you can expect to pay if you don’t have 100% insurance coverage.

Dental Cleaning TypeAverage Cost
Adult Teeth Cleaning$106
Child Teeth Cleaning$80
Deep Cleaning (SRP)$220 per quadrant ($880 full mouth)
Periodontal Maintenance$250

Adult Teeth Cleaning  

An adult teeth cleaning usually costs somewhere a little more or less than $100. Many dentists will offer new patient specials, where the cleaning comes out to about $50. Keep in mind this fee doesn’t include the cost of an exam or X-rays. It’s just the charge for the cleaning by itself.

Child Teeth Cleaning

The cost of dental cleaning appointments for children is usually a little less than adults. You can usually expect the total teeth cleaning cost to be under $100.

Scaling And Root Planing

Deep cleaning teeth costs more, averaging between $140 to $300 per quadrant ($560 to $1,200 for a full mouth.) It is therapeutic, rather than preventative.

Periodontal Maintenance

These teeth cleaning costs are more than a preventative cleaning but less than a deep cleaning. They average about $140 to $300.

Other Ways To Get Affordable Dental Cleanings 

Let’s say you don’t have dental insurance, so you need to find the easiest way to get teeth cleaning costs as low as possible. Here are some things to consider:

Dental Schools

You can get extremely high-quality dental treatment at local dental or dental hygiene schools. Usually, the cost of dental cleaning services and other procedures is half or less than that of what it costs to see a private practice dentist.  

State Programs

If you meet certain income factors, are a foster parent, or are unemployed, you may be able to eliminate the cost of dental cleaning services for any dependents in your household. It’s also common to see charity pop-up dental programs that offer free services 1-2 times per year.  

Dental Savings Plans

Dental discount plans are great for families or individuals that are looking to save 10% to  60% on the average cost of dental care. Dental plans are nationwide with over 100,000 dentists in the program, see if you can save with a dentist near you.

What To Expect From A Dental Cleaning

A typical dental cleaning (six-month prophylaxis) will involve using special scalers or an ultrasonic instrument to clean away surface plaque and tartar from your teeth.[3] Usually, the areas of heaviest buildup are along the gumlines, between your back teeth, and just behind your lower front teeth. It may seem like your hygienist is “skipping around” throughout your mouth, but the unique angles of each instrument are designed for specific contact points. In other words, each hygienist usually has a specific pattern that they follow to make sure your teeth get completely and thoroughly cleaned.

Once the scaling portion of your teeth cleaning is complete, your hygienist will use a special polishing tool to gently buff away surface stains.

Your cleaning is just one part of your checkup appointment. Other essential steps include a periodontal screening, oral cancer exam, TMJ assessment, and of course an exam with the dentist.[4]

Kids Dental Cleaning

FAQ About Dental Cleanings 

How Much Does It Cost To Get Teeth Cleaned At The Dentist?

Some dentists offer introductory services such as $99 new patient specials that include an exam, cleaning, and necessary X-rays. Basic cleanings at normal pricing without insurance tend to cost around $100.  With insurance, they are usually $0. Keep in mind that the cost of dental cleaning fees does not include other services being performed, such as the dental exam and any necessary X-rays being taken.

How Often Should I Go To The Dentist For Cleanings?

People with healthy teeth and gums who have good oral hygiene usually need to plan a dental cleaning every six months. If you’re in braces or tend to get heavier buildup than other people, you may want to schedule a visit as frequently as every 3-4 months.

Are Deep Cleanings Painful At The Dentist?

Although some sensitivity is typical, your dentist will probably recommend completing the deep cleaning by having your mouth fully numbed ahead of time. Numbing gel can also be applied if you prefer to avoid local anesthetic injections.

Are Deep Cleanings Really Necessary?

YES! Without periodontal scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) visits, you will be unable to remove tartar buildup below the gums, which is responsible for gum disease, bone shrinkage, and tooth loss. A preventative cleaning will not remove the deep buildup that is cleaned away during these visits. You may think deep cleaning teeth cost isn’t worth it, but it could mean the difference in saving your smile for good.

How long do deep cleaning take at the dentist?

Most deep cleaning appointments are broken up into two visits (half of your mouth at a time) with each one lasting about an hour and a half.

Costs of Dental Cleaning Near You?

If you’re going to call any local dentist’s office for specific teeth cleaning cost breakdowns, be sure to specify whether it’s an adult prophylaxis, deep cleaning, or something else. You can find a local dentist here!

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