The Average Cost of Dental Work

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
March 4, 2022

Did you know most of our readers prefer for their dental insurance needs?

Dental care prices can be steep, but sometimes dental work is necessary to maintain your overall health. If you’re considering avoiding the dentist due to financial concerns, you should know that there are ways to pay for any of the oral care treatments that you need without breaking the bank. It’s important to know what you may need to pay and how you can pay without hurting your wallet too much before you begin planning your treatments. 

The Average Cost of Dental Work 

The cost of dental work depends on a variety of different factors. The following are some of the most common dental treatments and procedures and their standard dental care prices

Dental office visits and cleanings

Typical dental care includes visits to the office for exams and cleanings. These are considered preventive services and dentists recommend you have an annual exam and annual cleanings. Depending on what occurs during the office visit, dental care costs can be anywhere between $50 and $350. The dental exam alone can cost $50 to $150, sometimes even more. If you get x-rays, they can cost anywhere between $20 and $250. A standard teeth cleaning and polishing can cost between $70 and $200.  

Dental fillings

Dental fillings are also a very common dental service. Depending on the material that the filling is composed of, a filling can cost anywhere between $50 to $4,500. An amalgam filling is the cheaper option for fillings, and can cost $50 to $150 for one to two teeth. Composite filling is slightly more expensive, costing between $90 and $250 for one to two teeth. Gold filling is also an option, though this option is less common as it is the most expensive. A gold filling can cost between $250 and $4,500 for 1 to 2 teeth, but this is not a common option aside from specifically requested aesthetic treatments.  

Dental crowns

Similar to fillings, the cost of dental crowns is dependent on the material used. There are several material options and the cost ranges from $500 to $2,000. Metal crowns can cost between $500 and $1,500 per tooth, while porcelain fused-to-metal can be anywhere between $600 and $1,800 per tooth. Porcelain crowns are the most expensive option, costing between $800 and $2,000 per tooth.

Tooth extraction

The cost of a tooth extraction will depend on a few different factors, including the location of the tooth, the size of the tooth and the difficulty of the extraction procedure. Tooth extraction will also cost more if you’re extracting more than one tooth. A simple tooth extraction of one tooth may cost $75 to $250. 

A surgical extraction, which is more complicated, may cost between $180 and $550 for one tooth. Wisdom teeth extractions can cost between $120 and $800 per tooth. However, if the wisdom teeth are impacted, the cost can reach up to $3,000 for all four to be extracted.  

Root canal

The cost of a root canal may vary due to the severity of the infection and the location of the infected tooth. For front teeth, such as incisors and cuspids, it can cost between $300 and $1,500 per tooth. For teeth located further back, such as molars, the cost can be between $800 and $2,000. This is because these teeth tend to be more difficult to operate on and require larger amounts of anesthetic to avoid pain during the procedure. 

Cosmetic dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is typically not covered by dental insurance, so it would all be paid out of pocket. Some common cosmetic dentistry procedures and treatments include teeth whitening, veneers, braces, dental bonding and tooth contouring. Most cosmetic dental procedures are done to help improve the look and feel of your smile as well as boost your confidence, which means that the underlying conditions do not usually pose a threat to your health. 

Teeth whitening can cost between $50 to $1,000 per treatment depending on where you get it done. Veneers can cost anywhere between $500 to $1,300 per tooth. Tooth contouring, which involves removal of enamel on teeth, costs around $50-$500 per tooth. The average cost of dental bonding is between $300 and $600, but it can cost between $100 and $1,000 depending on severity.

How to Pay for Dental Work

The easiest way to pay for dental work is by purchasing a dental insurance plan. However, most dental insurance plans also have waiting periods for major treatments and services, which means that you usually won’t be able to sign onto a plan and immediately get help paying for your dental care. Here are the most common options for paying for dental work if you don’t have an insurance plan to help you cover some of the costs associated with your care. 

  • Dental schools: You can get treatments from dental students at accredited dental schools in your area at a much lower cost than a private dental office. Dental schools typically have clinics where students can do dental work under the supervision of a licensed dentist. However, they only offer basic exams and treatments for those without more serious conditions. 
  • Medicaid, Medicare or CHIP: While Medicare doesn't typically pay for basic dental work, it may offer coverage for some emergency dental treatments provided at a hospital. In addition, Medicaid is required to offer dental coverage to children under the age of 18. While dental insurance is not required to be offered to adults, you may be able to get a good dental plan through Medicaid, which can lower the cost of dental work you may need. In some states, Medicaid does extend dental benefits to adults. 
  • Payment plans or programs: Many dental offices offer payment plans or programs for those who don’t have dental insurance. A payment plan allows you to pay for dental work over a period of time through monthly payments. Dental programs typically offer lower-cost treatments and procedures through discounts if you pay a monthly membership fee. 

Are Dental Procedures for Children Less Expensive?

Dental procedures for children are not usually less expensive than those for adults. However, children are far less likely to need much dental work outside of annual exams and cleanings, so you’ll typically end up paying less for a child’s dental work in a year than your own as an adult. Ensuring that your child maintains great oral hygiene habits (like brushing their teeth twice a day and limiting sugary beverages and snacks) can help prevent dental issues and lower your care costs. 

Drawbacks of Waiting to Get Dental Work Done

While you may wait to get dental work done due to wanting to avoid paying for it, this strategy can end up hurting you and your wallet more in the end. The following are the 2 main drawbacks to waiting to get dental work done. 

  • Dental issues don’t go away: Even if your dental issue isn’t causing you major pain or discomfort, it still won’t go away on its own. Over time, the issue will likely get worse if not taken care of, which means more severe pain and more intensive treatments in the future. 
  • Waiting can cost more money: The longer you wait to get dental work done, the more issues that can arise which would end up costing you more money. If you handle the issue sooner rather than later, you won’t need to deal with any of the issues that form from the initial issue if it’s not addressed. 

Compare Dental Insurance Plans

Dental insurance plans can help lower the cost that you pay for your dental care needs. Benzinga offers insights and reviews on the following dental insurance plan providers. You may want to consider beginning your search for coverage using the links below. 

Frequently Asked Questions


How much does the average American spend on dental work?


Without factoring in the cost and savings that come with having a dental insurance plan, the average American pays about $514 per year for their dental care costs. With insurance, the average American spends about $318 annually on dental care bills.


What are the symptoms that you need a root canal?


Some of the symptoms that may indicate that you need a root canal include persistent tooth pain, sensitivity to cold and hot foods and beverages, tooth discoloration, tooth mobility and pain when you chew or touch the tooth. If you believe that you may need a root canal, you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

Dental Insurance Methodology

To determine the best dental insurance providers, we pored through all United States carriers. We winnowed the list by only including companies that have a wide coverage area and product offering. To further break down the list to the true best dental insurance providers, we gave weight to carriers that offer discounts, are available in all states and have multiple payment plan options.

Dental Plans Promo

Get 10% off any dental savings plan at You can reduce your dental care costs by saving 10-60% off at the dentist!