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Patients without dental insurance usually want to know how much a dental cleaning costs before seeing the dentist. The truth is, they usually want to see if they can afford it…
Sadly, many people have been burned in the past by a dentist that charged them an arm and a leg for what was supposed to be a routine cleaning. We get it! We don’t ever want you have that experience.
Most dentists treat their fees like a top secret document, which doesn’t really help someone who doesn’t have dental insurance and just wants to know prices up front.
A little lingo before we begin
A cleaning is actually called a dental prophylaxis, or more simply a “prophy.” The American Dental Association‘s definition of a prophylaxis is treatment that:
“includes scaling and polishing procedures to remove coronal plaque, calculus, and stains.”
Why is this important? You may have heard the words periodontal disease, periodontal maintenance, or the dreaded DEEP CLEANING. These are all in reference to periodontal disease. A “deep cleaning” is not the same thing as a routine cleaning or prophylaxis. I won’t be going further into periodontal disease in this article, but for the purpose of differentiation, a prophylaxis is a regular dental cleaning and a “deep cleaning” or perio-anything is not.
The other important reason we define a “dental cleaning” is because some actually think that a dental checkup should be a cleaning (or prophy) with nothing more. No X-rays, no exam, nada.
A cleaning… and an exam?
The trouble with answering the “how much does a routine dental cleaning cost” question is, it’s not a simple question. The fact is, at the bare minimum, we will provide a cleaning as well as an exam by the dentist. Why? If we just clean your teeth without diagnosing any issues you may have, we are not only being unethical, we are just not doing our job.
Okay, so for a cleaning and an exam, how much money does it cost?
Now that we know what to ask, let’s go ahead and talk numbers! If you added up the cost of a dental cleaning and a routine exam at our office, you’ll be around $200. But wait! We also like to take X-rays about once a year. More often than not the only way to see tooth decay is with a dental X-ray. We would like to catch that small cavity before it turns into a root canal, crown, or something worse. If you add check-up X-rays you’re up to around $400.
I bet you’re thinking that is pretty expensive – and I actually agree with you.
Our fees were set to be at the 50th percentile (dead center) of all the dentists in the Chester/Mendham area. To be honest, if we charged everyone those fees, our patients would probably not be as happy as they are. Our goal at our office, is to not only provide Chester and Mendham with superior dental care, it is to be fair to ALL of our patients.
So how do we save you money?
First, we don’t nickel-and-dime you. We don’t charge a bunch of small amounts for every single one of our services. Instead, we charge $150 for a cleaning and exam. You might think, “that sounds fair, but what about when I need X-rays or if I am a new patient and need a new patient exam?” The cost for a cleaning, a new patient exam, and a full set of X-rays is… $150. Wait – how can that be? I believe that if we don’t price gouge you at every other visit, you’re more likely to come back and see us every 6 months! Crazy right? We love doing dentistry and we don’t want people to avoid the dentist – especially those without dental insurance.