How Much Does a Dental Checkup Cost?

Looking to go in for a dental checkup but don’t know how much you’ll spend? You’ll typically have to visit the dentist every six months to ensure good oral health and maintain a beautiful smile. Knowing how much a dental checkup costs will help you plan and include it in your yearly budget.

Dental Checkup Cost List

The cost of a dental checkup can vary depending on your location, dentist, and insurance type. Here is a list of expenses that typically come with a dental checkup:

  • Routine dental exam: $50-$200
  • X-rays: $20-$250 (depending on the number of X-rays you need)
  • Cleaning: $75-$200
  • Fluoride treatment: $20-$50

Still, always check with your dentist or insurance company for more accurate pricing. Additionally, some dentists bundle the cost of the checkup, cleaning, and X-rays together so that the total you’ll pay differs from the sum of the individual prices.

9 Factors Affecting the Cost of a Dentist Checkup

Various factors affect the cost of a dental checkup, and they include the following.

1. Location

Dental checkup costs vary depending on where you live. Urban areas tend to have higher dental care costs than rural areas, and this is due to factors such as the cost of living and competition.

2. Type of Insurance

Some insurance plans cover more services than others. A basic insurance plan may only cover a limited number of annual checkups. A more comprehensive plan may cover additional procedures like X-rays and cleanings. The extent of your coverage will eventually determine how much you get to pay out of pocket.

3. Type of Dentist

General dentists tend to have lower costs than specialists. Specialists such as orthodontists or periodontists would charge you more. This is because they have additional training in specific areas of dentistry, which can lead to higher fees for their services.

4. Type of Checkup

A routine checkup will cost less than a more extensive one. Regular checkups typically include the following:

  • An oral examination
  • Cleaning
  • X-rays

On the other hand, more extensive procedures may require additional steps and materials.

5. Dental Plan

Some dental plans may have an annual cap on the amount they will pay for your dental care. Once you reach that specific amount in services, you will be responsible for paying the remaining costs out of pocket.

6. Frequency of Checkup

The more often you visit the dentist, the more money you’ll pay. Regular checkups are essential for maintaining oral health. But if you can maintain good oral hygiene at home, you may reduce the number of checkups you need and improve your overall health.

7. Age

Many dental providers offer special rates for children with different needs than adults. Similarly, some providers may offer special programs or discounts for senior citizens. These discounts determine the final cost of dental checkups.

8. Payment Options

Some providers may offer financing options that allow you to pay for your checkup over time, while others may offer discounts for paying in full upfront.

9. Dental Emergency

If you have a dental emergency, this will likely increase the checkup cost. Dental emergencies such as a broken tooth or severe pain may require additional procedures or materials, and this can lead to higher prices.

How Can I Afford a Dental Checkup?

There are a few options for affording dental checkups:

Dental Insurance

Many employers offer dental insurance as part of your benefits. If you have dental insurance, check to see what types of checkups are covered and at what cost. Some plans cover only a portion of the cost of a checkup, while others may cover the total cost.

Government Assistance

Some government programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare Advantage, provide dental coverage for those who meet specific income or age requirements. The eligibility criteria and covered services vary by state and program. So, it's essential to check with your local government agency to see if you qualify.

Dental Schools

Dental schools often offer discounted checkups and other dental services as a way for students to gain clinical experience. they perform these checkups under the supervision of licensed dentists. So, it's a good option to save money on dental care.

Community Health Clinics

Community health clinics may charge for dental care based on how much you earn. These clinics provide low-cost or no-cost dental care to underserved communities. They can be a great way to get affordable checkups if you’re uninsured or have a limited income.

Negotiate With Your Dentist

If you don’t have insurance, you can negotiate a payment plan with your dentist to make checkups more affordable. Some dentists may be willing to work with you on a payment plan, but you may not know if you don’t ask.

Discount Plans

There are also dental discount plans available that can save you money on checkups and other dental services. These plans are not insurance. But, they offer discounts on dental services from participating dentists.

It's important to note that, in general, dental checkups are preventive care services. So they are usually covered under insurance, government programs, and other options. But, some of these options may not cover the entire cost, so you should be ready to pay something out of pocket. It's also important to shop around and compare options to find the best fit for your needs and budget.

Save Money on Dental Checkups

When you see a participating dentist, you can save money on checkups if you have a  Carefree Dental card.

We know it sounds too good to be true. But you can save between 15% and 50%* per visit in most instances at a participating provider. For as little as $15.95 per month for individuals and $19.95 per month for families.

Sign up for a Carefree dental card to save money on dental checkups today!


*Actual costs and savings vary by provider, service, and geographical area.

The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance, and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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