Cost of Dental Visits

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Cost of Pediatric Dentist?

Nov 2010

Sadly I've been putting off taking my 3 year old in for his first dental visit because we don't have dental insurance but don't qualify for Healthy Families. But I know it's got to be done. Does anyone have recs for a not too expensive pediatric dentist in the greater Berkeley area? Or can you tell me how much one can expect to pay for a first visit/cleaning/x-rays and--yikes--ballpark on any cavity work that may need to be done? Many thanks.

After 7+ years of getting fleeced by very sweet but extremely expensive Berkeley/Albany pediatric dentists with our 3 children, we have chosen a very gentle non- pediatric dentist. His name is Dr. Yu at El Cerrito Dental. My children are actually happier there--no brightly decorated walls, no stickers and plastic toy rewards, but a sweet, friendly, child-loving staff. Non- pediatric dentists cannot administer certain kinds of sedatives, so if you have a major procedure you may want to get it done at the pediatric dentist--but otherwise for regular stuff I'd suggest finding a gentle all-purpose dentist. And if you are very chemical conscious as I am, you will want to monitor it more vigilantly--most pediatric dentists know that you won't be wanting mercury fillings, but the regular, less expensive dentists will likely offer this as one of the options--lower income folks often have to choose mercury, I guess, becuase it's the cheapest.

Another thing--buyer beware. Pediatric dentists (and we've seen several) are by my experience, very eager to do procedures. One was wanting to do a root canal on my son's baby tooth (outrageous), and we just asked them to pull it out. They were reluctant, and we did it anyway. All has been fine in the years since (even though we did not opt for the $700 ''spacer'' to be inserted.)

Even though we are a low-sugar family, and we have brushed and flossed fastidiously all of our children's teeth their whole lives, they have had to get dental work.

For my youngest, they told us that we would have to undergo general anaesthesia to repair his stained and chipped teeth--and that was the final straw--we had done it before with my oldest, and it was very stressful plus over $1000. Dr. Yu took a very careful look, and decided we would wait and see--there has been no pain, and if there is not, Dr. Yu wants to avoid all of that--just keep a careful eye. Totally reasonable.

The pediatric dentists were sweet, but they put a lot of fear into us, took thousands of dollars from us over the years, and now I could not be happier with the inexpensive care we are getting!

I'm sorry you guys have to deal with this. My 2-year old son's initial visit was ~ 150 and subsequent filling visit was ~ 450. We went to Kidsmile in SF as recommended by my dentist. Good luck! Anon

If you are self paid, they charge you more for the same service compared to those insured. We took our 2 years old in for an exam and cleaning and it was $180. Both the exam and the cleaning were lightening fast so not sure what they are able to clean. In the southbay, I hear it is more like $65 for a cleaning. I felt that $180 was a big ripoff. Must be the prize to pay for living in Berkeley area. anon

Fixed cost for fillings?

Dec 2008

Does anyone know if there are set prices for dental work? ie: A filling on x tooth costs this much, etc. I just had two teency fillings done...Each took no more then 15 minutes each start to finish. The cost for each was $153.00. I''ve had huge dental bills lately due to periodontal disease. I know work for larger stuff is really pricey, but I'm wondering if I'm being taken advantage of or if my dds is just really high priced and I need to move on to someone more affordable. wish I flossed as a kid.

My husband is a dentist in Brentwood and he charges more than $153 for a filling. No, there is no ''fixed pricing'' in dentistry; there are costs to run a business and employ people and buy dental supplies like filling material and pay for electricity. Dentist Wife

I had a lot of dental work done getting my amalgams replaced. If you have to pay out of pocket, the price sounds right. Mecury-based heavy metal amalgams are cheaper than the safer composites (Gee- is anybody still putting amalgams in their mouths after all we know?!) and the prices are based on whether it is a one, two, three or four surface filling. If you are insured, the insurance may pay 75% of the cost. $153 for a one- surface filling sounds right. I checked with my dentist and the composites run from $185-$358 if you have to pay for them yourself. By the way - it is not all about flossing. You also need to cut back on refined sugar and take a good quality Cod Liver oil. The condition of your teeth are the root/the reflection of your overall health. Anonymous

Don't have insurance - how much does it cost?

March 2003

I do not have dental insurance, and I am wondering how much it costs to get x-rays and cleaning. I will probably need a new cavaty or two (or threem :-( ). I got a recommendation for a dentist, but he charges $250 (or more) for the first appointment which mainly is x-rays and cleaning. Is that normal, or can a find a good dentist a a lower rate?

Also, I am wondering if people without insurance and people with insurance pay the same rates. Not hat I would have expected that the medical system charges different amounts of money for the same work, but my Alta Bates/ Summit bill for the birth was hinting a that. $8,000 for less than 24 hours total in the hospital for a birth w/o any interventions or epidural, midwife billed separately, seemed crazy, but than I saw that my insurance (AETNA) had actally paid only a fraction of this (25% or even less). That seemed to be normal for them, they didn't expect me to cover the difference. Is this $8,000 a purely hypothetical number, or would I have had to pay the full amount if the billing wasn't done via an insurance? I cannot make any sense of this all... And I wonder if that billing strategy is practiced by dentist, too.

Any exponations, experiences, and recommendations are most welcome. Thanks, Julia

$250 sounds high. We don't have insurance and we go to Michael Young on Solano. 527-9396. A cleaning and x-rays were about $100; just cleaning was $60. He was nice enough not to charge for an office visit because we didn't have insurance. Hope this helps. Amy

How much do you pay for a cleaning?

Nov 1998

I am not happy with our dental insurance and am thinking about paying out of pocket for our dental needs. How much does your dentist charge you?

I haven't found a sufficient alternative to Delta (then again, I'm just now getting frustrated enough with them to start considering alternative, so am also interested in other people's suggestions). As to cleaning prices, I happen to remember seeing on my last statement of activity from them that my dentist charged the last cleaning at $50 and $30 for 2 x-rays. Jonathan

I am a student's spouse and do not get my health insurance through the student health plan (SHIP) b/c it is cheaper to buy individual plans. this goes for children of students too. We discovered this option through a flyer posted on our door from Frankel Insurance Services (800/938-1581) and I have been extremely pleased with both the dental and health plans he offers. The dental provider is Denticare and charges $5/month/person. You get one free cleaning with xrays per year and subsequent cleanings are $25 each. It is like an HMO where there are a few providers you must choose from. I won't rave about the office we've used, but it was just fine and money is the biggest issue for us. I'm glad to have the opportunity to say a good word for Frankel Insurance. The UC plan for student families is a big ripoff in comparison (although it is cheaper for the student him/herself). Marco

After gum surgery about eight years ago, I was scheduled for cleaning four times a year, twice with the periodontal office where the surgery was done and twice with my regular dental office. When Delta Dental backed off to paying for two cleanings a year, I asked for and was rescheduled for three cleanings a year, to preserve the situation where I pay for only one cleaning each year.

I was concerned about the relatively deep pockets behind my back molars, so I just went back for a follow up 4-6 weeks after cleaning. The pockets are stable as they have been for several years. ...and each time I go in, it seems I learn something incremental about how best to clean my teeth.

Bottom line: with moderate care, I've been able to maintain my problem areas with three annual cleanings instead of four.

2) We got a SoniCare ultrasonic brush set for Christmas last year, and there was a noticeable improvement for all areas besides the deep pockets. The periodontist recommended SoniCare, my regular office recommended Braun. ...ask your provider. Your mileage may vary :-)

My regular office is Dr. Kami's on University Avenue, which many UC folks recommended to me years ago. I called to ask your questions. 3) They charge $70 for a cleaning. I didn't call my perio specialist... 4) The average is two cleanings a year, with 5-15% of their patients requiring three or four cleanings per year. Ultimately your oral care depends on how often and how well you brush, floss, and care for special areas. For me that's a perio-pick -- a toothpick handle. Bob

I have been calling for an appt for my 19 month old, and wanted to give you some updates.

Dr. Matsuishi charges $90 for a new appointment. His office makes a first-time, no charge appointment to bring in your child just to get adjusted to the surroundings, then you can make a new appointment. He is a member of Delta Dental. 524-4633

Dr. Bernstein in Berkeley 848-4167 charges $75 for the first exam. He sees adults, and kids ages 3 and over. Yes for Delta Dental.

My family doctor recommended Dr. Denise Bass-Allen, a pediatric dentist in Oakland (763-2022). Very friendly office staff, member of Delta Dental, and charges $40 for a new appointment. They welcome drop-in visits to see the office, etc. and send out new patient packets prior to the visit. Warning: 2 months before a new, non-emergency appointment! Cindy