At Lighthouse Dental Centre, we offer our patients dozens of procedures to restore their smiles. However, if you come in for a routine dental exam and cleanings, you can typically avoid having to undergo restoration procedures.
You can save a lot of money, reduce the risk of tooth decay and maintain your natural, beautiful smile by scheduling an exam in our office.
What are the General Costs for a Dental Exam and Cleaning?
We recommend our patients brush and floss regularly, but you may still miss some plaque on or between your teeth. Over time, this plaque will build up and may even turn into tartar, which is harder to remove.
Our hygienists will work to perform an intense dental cleaning, ensuring that your teeth are plaque- and tartar-free.
If you’ve never had a dental exam and cleanings performed before, we’re going to walk you through the general costs involved and what to expect during your visit.
General Cost of a Dental Exam and Teeth Cleanings
Cleanings and a basic exam can cost between $100 and $500. You may also need specific services performed, and these prices will vary. For a basic recall exam and cleaning, you’re likely to pay $120 (child) to $240 (adult). A new patient exam with a full series of X-rays can cost about $240 for an adult.
If you have insurance, you may have as much as 80% of your bill covered, leaving you with a bill between $20 and $40. Some plans may have 100% coverage. Some dental associations recommend prices, including the British Columbia Dental Association (BCDA) provide pricing guidelines.
How Much Does a Deep Cleaning Cost?
Deep cleanings may be necessary if this is your first time in our office in a long time. As the name suggests, these are “deeper” cleanings, which means that they’re more intense. The cost for these cleanings is often between $300 and $500.
If you’re curious about our cost, please feel free to contact us and we’ll schedule you for an appointment where we’ll discuss your cost estimates with you.
What is a Deep Cleaning?
Deep dental cleanings include root planning and scaling. The goal of deep cleaning is to:
- Remove plaque that forms under the gumline
- Remove tartar that is under the gum line
Plaque is what most people think of when they brush and floss their teeth because it’s what you remove with your routine brushing. The problem is that some plaque may make its way under the gum line, even if you brush regularly.
Over time, the plaque will begin to harden and form what is known as “tartar.” Tartar is more serious than plaque because it will harden, making it much more difficult to remove. If tartar is allowed to stay under the gums, it will begin to irritate them. Irritation can cause the gums to inflame and even retreat. Eventually, infection of the gums and underlying bone can occur and you may even develop gum disease.
We may perform a deep cleaning over the course of two appointments.
- The first visit will involve us performing a thorough examination and determining if a deep cleaning is necessary for you. If we do need to perform a deep cleaning, we’ll use a “scaler” to remove plaque and tartar. We’ll remove both plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth before working on the area under the gum line.
- If a second visit is necessary, we’ll reexamine the gums to learn if there’s an infection or disease which may be impacting you. We’ll also polish the teeth if everything looks good.
We may find that after your deep cleaning, your teeth are in good condition and you do not have gum disease. In this case, if you keep coming in for regular cleanings, you may no longer need a deep cleaning.
Who Needs a Deep Cleaning?
Deep cleanings are often recommended to patients who haven’t been to the dentist in a long time or who do not follow recommended brushing routines. Brushing can reduce plaque scores by 55% - 58%. If you use a mechanical brush, this figure can be even higher.
You may need a deep cleaning if:
- We find tartar on your teeth
- You have a family history of gum disease
- You smoke or have poor oral hygiene habits
We may recommend a deep cleaning if we find that your gums are swollen or red during your dental exam. If your teeth are loose or your gums are receding, we’ll often perform a deep cleaning to prevent the progression of these issues.
What to Expect During a Dental Exam
Dental exams are not scary. They are our way of getting to know you, your dental habits and your family history better. We’ll often ask about your medical history and your dental hygiene habits. We’ll then:
- Visually examine your teeth for signs of cavities or any serious decay
- Take X-rays of your mouth to learn more about your dental health and the severity of any decay that you have
- Recommend any treatments that we can to restore your teeth
Your exam is the time for you to ask us questions and address any pain or discomfort that you may be feeling. We will use the exam and the X-rays that we take to see what’s happening under the gum line and if there is any sign of severe decay or infection. Our team will also devise a treatment plan for you to correct any pertinent issues with your teeth that need to be addressed immediately.
What to Expect During Dental Cleanings
Dental cleanings are routine and involve you having your teeth thoroughly cleaned by one of our hygienists. We’ll often clean your teeth before conducting an exam, but this may change if we’re trying to determine if you need a deep cleaning or not.
Once you’re in the dental chair and awaiting your cleaning, the procedure will go something like this:
- We’ll place a bib around your neck to ensure that your clothes do not get wet or stained during the cleaning
- Your chair will be leaned back so that the hygienist has an easier time working on your teeth
- The hygienist will take a look at your teeth using a mirror and light to see what areas of the mouth need more cleaning than others
- A scaler will be used to scrape off any plaque or tartar that you have on your teeth
- The hygienist will work on all four quadrants of the mouth to remove the sticky plaque from the teeth
- The hygienist will polish your teeth, which will leave them shiny
- We’ll rinse out your mouth before applying fluoride to the teeth to protect them from cavities
Most of our patients never mention pain during their cleaning unless they have severe tooth decay that causes sensitivity. The only time when the cleaning may cause discomfort is when we have to clean close to or under the gums.
Your gums are sensitive, even when they’re healthy, and the scaler can cause very minor pain for a short period of time.
We’ll do our best to keep you comfortable and avoid these painful moments during your cleaning. However, the procedure leads to mild discomfort and not severe pain. Your teeth and gums may feel sore for a few hours after you leave our office, but the majority of patients will be pain-free by the time they go to bed or wake up the following day.
A routine dental exam and cleanings are one of the most important things that you can do for your dental health. Skipping an exam because your “teeth feel fine” or you just don’t feel like coming in will allow plaque to build up and decay to continue progressing.
If you don’t come in for an exam, you risk:
- Cavities turning into root canals
- Potential tooth loss
- Tooth migrations
An exam allows us to spot abscesses that you may overlook, infections and even oral cancer. Once we perform a thorough exam and cleaning, our team will have the information necessary to correct any issues before they become larger problems. Cleanings also help anyone who follows strict brushing and flossing habits by letting them know that they’ve removed any plaque hiding between or on their teeth.
Together, we can keep your teeth in pristine condition for decades to come.