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Sooner or later, we all need to go to the dentist. For most of us, that can mean bracing our wallets for some potentially significant out-of-pocket costs. Dental insurance isn’t as widely held as health insurance, which can be a real problem for many when it’s time to see the dentist.

Not only does dental insurance take the sting out of many dental procedures, but it also makes preventative treatment cheaper and more accessible. In turn, that can reduce someone’s overall risk of needing more involved dental procedures down the line.

So, just how much can a trip to the dentist cost? Let’s take a look below at some common dental work procedures below and how expensive they can be without insurance.


A checkup is the most basic reason any of us goes to see the dentist. This is a time when a dentist will conduct an oral exam, x-rays, and a cleaning to ensure a patient’s mouth is in good health. Considered to be preventative care, most dental insurance plans 100% – that can mean avoiding a bill of approximately $275 to $300.


Fillings are another common procedure that dentists perform. These protect teeth against further decay when cavities are detected by a visual examination or an x-ray. Ideally, a filling applied soon enough avoids a tooth extraction.

Fillings can be more or less expensive than a checkup, depending upon which type of material is used. A silver amalgam filling is the cheapest, costing approximately $50 to $150. Most people opt for tooth-colored composite fillings, which run for about $90 to $250. There are also pricier options that use gold or porcelain, which can be as expensive as $4,500.


While a filling repairs internal damage to a tooth, a crown repairs and protects the outer layers of a tooth. Crowns can be used to fix chipped or broken teeth, and their cost is usually tied to what kind of material they’re made out of.

The least expensive crowns are made of resin, which can cost just under $350 per crown. Crowns made from a high noble metal cost just under $800, while those made of porcelain cost a little over $800.

Tooth Extractions

When a tooth can’t be repaired with a filling, it needs to be removed. Tooth extractions can be done “non-surgically” or “surgically,” and the cost usually depends upon which method is used, how long the procedure takes, and how difficult the procedure is.

A non-surgical tooth extraction can cost up to $300, while a surgical extraction using anesthesia can cost twice as much. Also costing around $600 are complicated surgical extractions involving soft tissue.

Wisdom tooth extractions are by far the cheapest, costing about $200 or less per tooth.

Root Canals

Root canals are used to treat infected, exposed, or damaged tooth roots. These are also treatments that can prevent tooth extractions by removing the material inside of a tooth root and replacing it with a resin or another material.

Root canals won’t break the bank, but they can cost anywhere between $120 and $185 depending upon how much work is involved.

What Can Dental Insurance Cover?

Many people avoid getting dental insurance because they figure they won’t need it. Although you may only see the dentist once or twice a year right now, your oral health needs can become more complicated over time. This means you’ll need to see the dentist more frequently and may require more complicated dental procedures.

Usually, annual routine care costs (exams, cleanings, x-rays) are fully covered by most dental insurance plans. This means that if you see the dentist at least once a year for a checkup, you don’t have to pay anything for those services.

If you do need a basic procedure like a filling or a root canal, though, your dental insurance plan will probably cover up to 80% of the cost, which can create significant savings. Lastly, more involved dental procedures like crowns and bridges are usually covered up to 50% of the cost by dental insurance.

When it comes down to it, having dental insurance is a matter of personal preference. That said, you don’t have to choose to pay more for your dental services than you have to. Learn more about individual and family dental insurance plans we have available through Insurance Specialists, Inc.

Contact us online or call (888) 451-0883 to learn more!