How much is the average visit to the dentist?

Every year, millions of people across the United States visit the dentist. While dental visits may be as simple as an examination and cleaning, some dental visits can be more complex. The following guide explains some of the average costs associated with a visit to the dentist.

In the United States, most dentists recommend one visit every six months. These visits are designed to provide basic preventive care and identify any dental problems before they become serious. If a dental problem is ignored for too long, it can become a medical emergency.

During a regular checkup at the dentist, an individual receives a full examination and a tooth polishing with an air-driven device. A special scraping tool is also used to remove any plaque that has hardened on to an individual’s teeth. In most cases, these visits cost approximately $50 to $150 each. If an individual has x-rays or other advanced diagnostics performed, the cost of this visit may go up. The average cost of a dental x-ray in the United States is $100 to $300. However, this can vary based on location.

Cavities are dental issues caused by a recess in the enamel on an individual’s tooth. In some cases, a cavity can leave a hole in a tooth that goes all the way to the pulp inside.

Cavity repair involves two discrete steps. First, a dentist has to clean the interior and the exterior of a cavity to prevent infection. During this process, a topical anesthetic may be used. Once the area with the cavity has been cleaned, a special sealant is applied to the cavity. This sealant protects the pulp and performs a similar function as a tooth’s natural enamel. On average, cavity repair costs approximately $150 to $400.

If a tooth has died, a root canal may be needed. During a root canal, a dentist removes the interior infected pulp from a tooth. That pulp is then replaced with an inert material that provides a strong foundation for the remaining tooth. After that’s been done, a crown is placed on top of the tooth, restoring it to its original appearance and function.

Unfortunately, root canals and crowns can be very expensive. In most cases, both of these services are required when a tooth has died. On average, a root canal in the United States costs anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500. However, this can vary significantly based on location.

Most crowns aren’t produced at a dentist’s office. Instead, a dentist will take impressions of an individual’s teeth. Those impressions will then be sent to a specialized lab that manufactures the crown itself. Since this part of the service has to be outsourced to a third party, the cost of a crown can vary. Crowns cost anywhere from $200 to $800, depending on the tooth and the material used for manufacturing it.

The dental prices listed above are based on cash rates only. If an individual uses insurance, the specific pay rates may be substantially different. Always contact an insurance provider prior to receiving dental services. Your insurance company can provide you a paytable that will help you determine the cost of specific dental services under your plan. 

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