The Real Cost of Dental Emergencies Without Insurance

dental insurance

No one loves visiting the dentist, except my kids. They get toys and new toothbrushes and new toothpaste and about 600 compliments each time they visit their dentist, which is every six months. They get to leave school early that day, we get a little mommy/big kid bonding time out of things, and they are just in love with dental days. I, on the other hand, don’t love the dentist. I’ve never had a cavity or any work done to my mouth save for cleanings every six months, but I still don’t love going.

It’s awkward and it’s uncomfortable, but it’s far better to go through that twice per year than it is to go through some serious dental procedures if I don’t prevent them with good oral health. My husband and I have dental insurance, and I cannot tell you how many times people ask us why we have it; especially since we have good teeth and good oral health. I like to respond by telling people we have good teeth and good oral health because we have dental insurance and we see our dentist regularly.

That said, though, dental procedures are pretty expensive. I have no idea what it costs to get your teeth cleaned, but I do know that if we ever go to the dentist and find out we need more work, we will be very happy we have dental insurance. If we ever need dental work, it’ll save us thousands (on average). To help you better understand the importance of dental insurance, I have taken a few minutes to find out what some of the most common dental procedures are, what they might cost out of pocket and put that information together. You might need the services of an orthodontist to correct the alignment of your teeth and a dental insurance could help ease the financial burden of any procedure or treatment.

This is not me telling you that you have horrible oral health or that you will be diagnosed with any of these issues. I don’t know your mouth. All I know is that anything can happen at any time, and the overall cost of dental insurance is far less than even one dental emergency for an entire year. Keep this information in mind. Additionally, keep in mind that this information is different based on your location, your dental practice and even which teeth need work (i.e. one tooth is less than two, and a front tooth might cost differently than a back tooth). These are general estimates.

Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are some of the most common dental problems that people experience. If you live in a big city, you might expect to pay anywhere from $177 and up to have just one filling without dental insurance. In a smaller town, the price is usually around $110 per tooth. If you have more teeth to fill, you obviously pay a bigger fee. And your dentist might charge you differently than others.

Root Canals

This is a painful dental issue; no one wants to deal with this. However, it often happens to those who are not great about seeing the dentist, who have other health issues and many others. There are numerous expenses associated with the cost of a root canal, and the fees begin to add up depending on what you choose to have done during yours.

The average cost for the cheapest tooth begins at $585 and can go as high as $1400 for a more expensive tooth. This does not include the cost of medication, prescriptions, time off work and any other fees you are charged for seeing the dentist. Many people are $2,000 or more out of pocket by the time they pay for a root canal. It’s one of those dental issues that really makes you realize just how beneficial it is to have dental insurance.

Oral Surgery

There’s a lot that might fall into the category of oral surgery. Do you need a tooth pulled? Do you need to have one or more wisdom teeth extracted? Even when we get into detail on both of these, neither fee includes the cost of sedation. It all depends on what you are having done. A simple tooth extraction can be a few hundred dollars. A surgical extraction can be even more than that. Since there are so many different types of oral surgery, you could pay a small fee out of pocket or you could have something more invasive that costs thousands.

Crowns and Bridges

It seems that many people have dental implants and crowns, and they paid a lot of money for them if they did not already have dental insurance. Depending on what you need, the material, the tooth and the doctor, you could pay as little as $750 or as much as $1,600 for dental implants.

Again, it depends on a number of factors. Just know this; not having dental insurance is a financial detriment to those who cannot afford to pay out of pocket for an expense of this nature.

Photo by Getty Images


Leave a Reply