How Much Do Your Teeth Cost You Each Year?


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One of the foundations of handling your finances successfully is to know where all your money goes, and what you spend it on. Our family just went through our beginning of the year round of teeth cleanings and checkups and as I sat in the chair wondering why it’s so freaking hard for the hygienist to prevent herself from poking me in the gums repeatedly (I HATE that), I also wondered just how much the maintenance of my our teeth costs us for a calendar year.

So when I got home, I broke it down:

Cleanings: Our family of four diligently gets our teeth cleaned twice a year.

$137 per cleaning * 4 family members * 2 times a year = $1096.

However, cleanings and checkups are covered by our insurance which is $70 a month * 12 months = $840.

Note: Wow, I had no idea that my insurance actually SAVES me money if we get our recommended cleanings!

Tooth Brushes: We all get a toothbrush for free each time we visit the dentist. That’s what I use, however the rest of my family uses the SonicCare electric toothbrush. We replace the heads each time we visit the dentist.

3 family members * 2 heads a year = 6 heads. They come in packages of two for $17 (generic brand) so that’s 3 * 17 = $51 a year.

Tooth Paste: We have a tube in each of our bathrooms (3), and we need new ones about every two months (I think?). So that’s 18 tubes of toothpaste in a year * $3 a tube for the size we purchase = $54.

Whitener: Vonnie likes to have her smile as bright as possible. Whitening treatments through the dentist are quite expensive, and not covered by insurance. So she uses an at home product like teeth whitening gel by smile Brilliant. She does it twice a year (right after each bi-yearly cleaning), and it costs about $35 a pop = $70 a year.

If we have cavities or require some other procedure it would add to our cost, but in a normal year the grand total of maintaining the Pizel family chompers is….(drum-roll please!):


Have you ever calculated how much your teeth cost you and your family during the year? How much is it?

About Travis

21 Responses to “How Much Do Your Teeth Cost You Each Year?”

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  1. I have never broke down our dentist cost. I do know even with insurance that the out of pockets costs drive me crazy. I once looked at the amount of money I spend on razors to shave. I’m projecting a $6k cost over my life time. Ouch!

  2. Oh, I HATE that feeling of getting poked in the gums too! Be thankful you have insurance to get that discount as buying dental insurance is almost as bad, if not worse, than buying health insurance. We found that it’s just cheaper going our own way and paying out of pocket and we’re near that $1100 amount – which reminds me, I need to get to the dentist. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Travis says:

      I don’t mind the insurance cost (although I never realized before that it actually SAVES us money over twice a year cleanings) – but what does burn me is the next step up in insurance that gives us orthodontic coverage. I’m not sure who it benefits, but for both of our kids, the extra cost of the better insurance is MORE than what the orthodontic cost is per year! Now, get to that dentist! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. E.M. says:

    A trip to the dentist was our downfall last year. I don’t currently have insurance, so a tooth extraction cost me around $270. My boyfriend is covered, but they found a whole host of issues, and is looking at a total of $5k for everything. So far he’s only done a few teeth and he paid $1,100, but he recently got a letter from the insurance telling him his crown wasn’t covered, so it might be another $1,200. Lesson learned – we need to go for routine cleanings!

    • Travis says:

      What is that they say about an ounce of prevention, E.M.? Yikes, though….that’s a lot of dough to shell out – I hope everything goes smoothly for him. You gotta have working teeth!

  4. Kathy says:

    Stupidly, we reduced our dental insurance to basic, because for 15 years none of us had issues other a cavity everyone in a while. Well, Murphy decided to pay us a visit about 6 months later and I needed a root canal, which wasn’t covered by the basic insurance. Ouch to my wallet and to my gums. Lesson learned…

  5. Mike says:

    well put Travis! I’ve never broken it down like that.

  6. I hate it when the hygenist keeps poking my gums, too! Also when the dentist makes that scraping noise repeatedly. Ugh I shudder just thinking about it!

    • LOL…I can handle the scraping…but poke, poke, poke…OWW! The hygienist then will say, “If you would floss, it wouldn’t hurt so much.” No, I’m pretty sure stabbing me repeatedly with a sharp object will always hurt…how about each time you poke my gum, I hit you in the knee with a hammer? I think the appointment would go much better, don’t you think? ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I never broke down the cost, but I don’t have dental insurance so everything is out of pocket. Two years ago I needed a root canal and a crown…ouch…on so many levels.

    • Travis says:

      I can imagine….dental expenses can get expensive without insurance. Tori had a tooth extracted (because it wasn’t coming out on its own and the tooth behind it started sticking out her gum off to the side) and it would have been over $200 without insurance – it literally took the dentist 5 minutes to take it out!

  8. David says:

    Wow, more than I ever thought of. I guess I should now be calculating and trying to save more money when it comes to dental care.
    Thanks for the insight!

    • Travis says:

      I had always just “absorbed” my dental cost into my monthly budget – dental insurance is just taken right out of my paycheck, and the rest of the costs get eaten by our monthly household budget. I don’t know if there’s really much area to save money here (other than not do whitening or the more expensive electric toothbrush), but knowing how much you pay for something (ie, where you money goes), helps immensely when planning your spending for the year/month/week.

      thanks for stopping by!

  9. Suzi Shea Asquith-Evans says:

    Nothing. Free dental care on the NHS – at most about ยฃ250 on toothpastes and electric toothbrushes.

    My daughter’s braces, retainer and jaw surgery are all free (we only need to pay for parking our car!)- her checkups are every 6 weeks (all free!), times are convenient and service is very rapid! I have had 3 other daughters with braces – all free! We paid the equivalent of $150 for each daughter, to speed up the waiting time. Even with that expense, it’s extremely cheap!

    Thank god for the UK’s healthcare system.

    • Travis says:

      Nothing is “free.” It’s included in your taxes. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Suzi Shea Asquith-Evans says:

        Free at the point of access :).

        My taxes within the UK are only -$900 more than the US (I lived in it for half my life). It pays for itself particularly when you factor in free glasses, medicine until 18 (or older if you go the university) and our student loans system does trump the states.

        Altogether my family have had:

        – 6 broken ankles
        – Kidney transplant
        – 5 births (as we have had 5 kids)
        – Cancer treatment
        – 4 braces & retainers (2.5 year treatment for each child)
        – 3 sprained ankles
        – 2 broken arms
        – An appendix removal
        – Jaw surgery
        – All injections (e.g. for the flu and to protect against certain types of cancer)
        – Hundreds of doctors visits
        – Many blood tests
        – Treatment for cysts

        This is all over 15 years – costed me and my husband an extra $27,000 and the cost of parking is about a couple of hundred $ – we do not have these expenses as our daughters and son are old enough to attend appointments themselves.

        That works out to be an extra $600 paid in taxes per member of the family each year – this covers all dental, hospital, doctors and glasses. Our family have undoubtedly received our money’s worth – given the number of high cost and important treatments.

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