Dental Cleaning Without Insurance

Are There Options if You Don’t Have Insurance?

November 15, 2023 Written By: Joyce Kahng, DDS

Dental cleanings and checkups are extremely important parts of oral healthcare. Outside of brushing and flossing, these checkups and cleanings are the bedrock of your oral health. Without regular cleanings and checkups, you are at risk for many serious oral health conditions.

If you don’t have insurance, you may be wondering how much a cleaning will be out-of-pocket, and what options you may have to pay. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a long time, you may not even remember what a cleaning and checkup appointment entails. Below is more information about dental cleanings, the cost, and other general dentistry services that may be required.

What is a Dental Cleaning?

A Dental cleaning is an oral health procedure that involves a dentist performing various services that ensure the ongoing health of a patient’s teeth, gums, and jawbone. Often, dental cleanings are provided at the same time as checkups.

During the cleaning process, your dentist will scrape away plaque and tartar with the help of special tools. They will then brush your teeth with professional-grade toothpaste and a specialized electric toothbrush. Finally, they will floss your teeth.


During the checkup portion of your visit, your dentist will provide an oral exam and may take x-rays. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, there’s a good chance your dentist will want to take some x-rays to check below the gumline and ensure the health of your jawbone.

If your dentist notices any oral health issues during your checkup, they will schedule a follow-up appointment to have those oral health issues addressed. If you have any questions about proper at-home care, feel free to ask your dentist during a cleaning and/or checkup.

How Much is a Dental Cleaning without Insurance?

It’s important to keep in mind that the cost of a dental cleaning without insurance will vary. Variables may include your location, the specific office, the condition of your teeth, and more. With all of that said, you can expect a basic cleaning to cost around $75 to $200 without insurance.

Are There Options if You Don’t Have Insurance?

Often, there are options without insurance. Speak with your dentist’s office about a payment plan and/or a discount plan. They also may accept CareCredit, which is a form of credit that is specifically designed to cover healthcare.

If you haven’t considered purchasing dental insurance before, you may want to shop around. Unlike health insurance, dental insurance can be purchased outside of the general health insurance window. This means you can purchase dental insurance year-round.

Dental insurance is much more affordable than many people think it is. You may be able to sign up for a plan that is as low as $25 a month! Check out multiple, reputable dental insurance companies and see what plans they offer, and which plans your local dentist accepts. From there, you can select a dental insurance plan that works within your budget and keeps you covered.

The Importance of a General Cleaning and Checkup

It’s very important that you visit your dentist every six months for a general cleaning and checkup. These services will help to ensure your ongoing oral health. Taking care of your teeth and gums at home is very important and helpful but it simply isn’t enough. It’s extremely difficult to get rid of all of the tartar, plaque, and bacteria build-up on your own. This puts your teeth and gums at risk.

Along with clearing away any plaque and tartar, your dentist will check the condition of your teeth and gums. This is very important. If you have developed a cavity, are in the early stages of gingivitis, or are suffering from any other oral health condition, it’s best that the problem is caught early on. If it is allowed to progress, you may end up with permanent damage. Along with the increase in damage is also an increase in cost. More advanced procedures cost more money.

It’s best to schedule an appointment every six months for a general cleaning and checkup. This will help to prevent minor oral health conditions that can advance and become much worse, more serious ailments.

Other General Dentistry Services

There are actually a variety of different services that fall under the umbrella of “general dentistry” (not just cleanings and checkups). Below are some common general dentistry services that your dentist may need to provide:

Dental Filling

If you develop a cavity, your dentist will need to remove the bacteria and then place a dental filling. The filling material will help to restore your tooth, provide additional strength, and ensure the ongoing health of the area of the tooth that was not affected by decay. This is a common procedure, but it can often be avoided with proper at-home care and regular cleanings.

Root Canal Treatment

If tooth decay is allowed to progress, it will eventually reach the root of the tooth. From there, you will develop a root infection. Root canal treatment (also known as a “root canal” or “root canal therapy”) will need to be provided to prevent the infection from spreading deeper and save the tooth.

Tooth Repair

If your tooth is damaged, it may need to be repaired. For minor damage, a cosmetic repair can be performed to improve the appearance of the tooth. For more major damage, though, a tooth repair such as a dental crown will be required to ensure the safety, security, and health of the tooth.

Speak with Your Dentist’s Office

If you have any questions about cost, payment plans, discounts, or anything else related to cost, speak with the staff at your dentist’s office. They will also let you know what insurance they take, in case you would like to shop for insurance that is in-network.

Remember: it’s a much better idea to set up a payment plan and pay over time than not undergo cleanings and checkups at all!

Smile Smarter,
Dr. Joyce

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