Dental cleaning, or prophylaxis, should be part of a patient’s routine dental health prevention and maintenance regime. There are two types of dental cleanings: standard teeth cleaning and deep teeth cleaning. Dentists recommend standard teeth cleaning twice a year, though it is sometimes performed more often as part of an on-going dental treatment. Deep teeth cleaning is more complex and performed only when it is necessary. The final dental cleaning cost depends on the type of cleaning and on the complexity of each individual case.
The purpose of a dental cleaning is to remove the plaque and tartar that can build up in the teeth, especially in the harder to reach areas. Even with careful brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar, or mineralized plaque, can build up. A dental hygienist or a dentist performs a standard dental cleaning in one office visit. The plaque and tartar above and below the gum line are removed during the cleaning. The session usually lasts between 30 to 60 minutes.
Before the actual tooth cleaning, the dentist will do a regular check-up of the patient’s dental health. X-rays will also be taken periodically, especially for new patients, to find out the overall health of the inside of the teeth. Additionally, for patients who have not received dental care for many years, a full-mouth debridement is indicated. This procedure cleans away any excess buildup on the gums and bones, making them visible so that the dentist can observe and evaluate the patient’s dental health.
Deep teeth cleaning may be necessary when the dentist notices early signs of gum disease. This happens when the pockets around the teeth are deeper than 3 millimeters. A deep teeth cleaning includes scaling and root planing. During this process the patient receives local anesthesia and the plaque and tartar below and above the gum line are scraped away. Rough spots in the roots are also smoothed away so that the root will be clean of bacteria and the gum can reattach to the root. The deep teeth cleaning process can take between two and four office visits.
The dental cleaning cost for a standard teeth cleaning includes the dental checkup and ranges between $50 and $135. This amount is affected by the location of the clinic as well as any special rate new clients receive at a particular practice. If X-rays are needed, they can run an additional $15 to $135.
A deep teeth cleaning is divided in four quadrants, which are the upper left and right and the lower left and right. The procedure for each quadrant ranges between $100 and $400, so a deep teeth cleaning can add up to $1600 to the total cost. If debridement is needed, the patient can expect to pay an additional $75 to $150.
While the cost for a dental cleaning can add up depending on the treatment needed, most dental health plans do cover it, either partially or entirely. However, debridement is usually not covered so that will be a complete out-of-pocket expense.