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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Dentistry & Orthodontics > Dental X-Rays

Dental X-Rays Cost


How Much Do Dental X-Rays Cost?

 
low costBitewing X-Rays: $20-$100 a Setaverage costPanoramic X-Ray: $60-$150high costFull-Mouth Series: $85-$250
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A dental or oral x-ray provides the dentist with detailed pictures (radiographs) of specific sections of the patient's mouth.

Typical costs:

  • Although traditional x-rays capture the image on film, many dentists are switching to digital x-rays, which sends images to a computer. Whether x-rays use film or are digital does not seem to affect the price, which is typically based on the type of x-ray taken -- bitewing, periapical, panoramic or occlusal. Rates vary by location and by individual dentist.
  • Bitewing x-rays, which show the upper and lower back teeth, are often taken in sets of two (right and left) for children or four for adults and can cost $10-$25 for a single bitewing, or $20-$100 a set. They show how the teeth line up together and whether there's any decay between the teeth or bone loss due to severe gum disease. Bitewing x-rays are typically taken during a regular checkup or teeth cleaning, to look for tooth decay.
  • Expect to pay $15-$30 for a periapical x-ray, which is similar to a bitewing but displays more of an entire tooth from root to crown plus any supporting teeth, to pinpoint dental problems below the gum line or in the jaw, like an impacted tooth, an abscess, a cyst or a tumor. A full-mouth series of x-rays can cost $85-$250 and is typically done during a first visit to a dentist. The series can consist of 14-21 separate images, often four bitewings and 10-17 periapical x-rays.
  • Also called a panoramic radiograph, a panoramic x-ray can cost $60-$150. It provides a broad view of the jaws, mouth, teeth, sinuses and nasal areas, to highlight problems like impacted teeth; bone abnormalities; cysts, tumors or other growths; infections; and fractures. A panoramic x-ray may be included in a total package price for braces.
  • An occlusal x-ray (also called a palatal x-ray) shows the roof or floor of the mouth, and typically costs $20-$40 each. Not as common as bitewing or panoramic x-rays, occlusal x-rays are used to display extra teeth or teeth that have not grown through the gum; jaw fractures; a cleft palate; foreign objects in the mouth or growths such as a cyst or abscess.
  • Most dental insurance covers the cost of dental x-rays, but there may be copays ($5-$50) or limits on how often the procedure can be preformed. For example, Dental Select[1] allows eight bitewing x-rays per year; one upper and one lower occlusal x-rays every 24 months; and one panoramic or a full-mouth series (18) of periapical x-rays every 36 months.
Related articles: Dental Work, Cavity Filling, Dental Crown, Root Canal, Tooth Extraction, Full Mouth Reconstruction

What should be included:
  • Dental x-rays typically take less than five minutes, and are not painful. With traditional x-rays the patient bites down on a piece of cardboard holding a section of film inside the mouth; the film is developed with a darkroom machine then displayed on a light box. For digital x-rays a small sensor unit is positioned inside the patient's mouth or a sensor pad glides around the patient's head; both send images directly to a computer where they can be viewed and saved in the patient's file.
  • A dentist explains what bitewing x-rays are[2] and ToothIQ describes why periapical x-rays are taken[3] . With a panoramic x-ray, the machine moves around the patient's head; Kaufmann Orthodontics in New York posts a video[4] of the digital panoramic x-ray process. And ToothIQ.com provides a picture of an occlusal x-ray[5] .
  • X-rays aren't typically needed at every dental appointment, but should be taken periodically to check for hidden decay or other problems not visible during a visual exam. Children may require x-rays more often than adults, because their teeth and jaws are still developing. WebMD.com explains when to get dental x-rays[6] .
  • The dose of radiation a patient is exposed to during a dental x-ray is considered extremely small, and a leaded apron is typically is put over the abdomen anytime a dental x-ray is taken, to reduce the risk. However, if the patient is or might be pregnant, dental x-rays should only be taken when absolutely necessary, and extra precautions should be taken to protect the baby.
Additional costs:
  • The patient is actually paying for the labor involved in taking an x-ray, and the images are legally considered to be the property of the dentist who takes them. There can be a nominal charge ($10-$40) to have a previous dentist send copies of recent x-rays to a patient's new dentist.
Discounts:
  • Dental college clinics often offer reduced rates for services by supervised students or faculty, and some may provide free x-rays. The American Student Dental Association[7] maintains a list of dental schools.
  • Some dental groups pay partial fees for low-income patients; the American Dental Association[8] lists state and local associations.
Shopping for dental x-rays:
  • WebMD.com provides tips for finding a dentist[9] .
  • Get referrals to local dentists from the American Dental Association[10] . If the patient has dental insurance, the insurance company will provide a list of approved dentists.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Xrays and partial exam for wisdom tooth extraction referral
Amount: $160.00
Posted by: EB in Valdez, AK.Posted: June 12th, 2012 02:06PM
Type of X-Ray: Full setDentist: Silveira
Paid $160 out of pocket with no insurance for a full xray, with a partial exam and a referral to an oral surgeon.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.dentalselect.com/library/media/papers/pdf/Helpful%20Hints.pdf
  2.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CiRldXQMjg
  3.  www.toothiq.com/TV/video.aspx?id=81
  4.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikqb-A5zZbs
  5.  www.toothiq.com/dental-information/page.aspx?id=31d5a375-7e25-4df6-9521-c26a1f371931
  6.  www.webmd.com/oral-health/dental-x-rays-when-get-them
  7.  www.ada.org/sections/educationAndCareers/pdfs/dat_examinee_guide.pdf
  8.  www.ada.org/statelocalorg.aspx
  9.  www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/finding-dentist
  10.  www.mouthhealthy.org/en/find-a-dentist.aspx
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