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How Much Do Dental X-Rays Cost? 

Many dental insurance policies help cover most or all of your preventative care costs. In many cases, a yearly X-ray is part of preventative care. If some dental patients need additional X-rays, dental coverage may help reduce the costs of these services and associated procedures. Let’s dive deeper into how dental X-rays work, some common types, and factors that can impact costs.

How dental X-rays work 

A dental X-ray is a simple procedure that helps a dentist see all areas in your mouth. It helps them see hidden structures, such as bones, nerves, and tooth roots. As a result, they can check the health of these structures and look for early warning signs of potential problems.1

To get an X-ray, the dentist uses X-ray equipment to send a small amount of X-ray radiation through your mouth. A detector on the other side captures the radiation to create the image.

Types of dental X-rays 

Dental X-rays can either be intraoral or extraoral, meaning the film or sensor is placed inside or outside your mouth.1 Here are some intraoral X-ray types:

  • Bitewing X-rays: These show your upper and lower teeth in one area of the mouth. They also show the area just beneath the gumline. 

  • Periapical X-rays: These images show the entire tooth, from the crown to the root tip. The dentist can examine individual tooth sections closely to look for potential warning signs of issues.

  • Occlusal X-rays: These X-rays highlight the roof and floor of your mouth, helping the dentist look for things like jaw fractures, cysts, abscesses, teeth that haven’t broken through, and similar issues. Dentists may use these to evaluate a child’s tooth development.

Here are some extraoral X-ray types:

  • Panoramic X-rays: This takes an X-ray of your entire mouth, including teeth, jaws, and all other tissues. The dentist will ask you to place your chin in an X-ray machine, allowing a tube to rotate around your head and get a full picture.

  • Cephalometric X-rays: This gives an orthodontist a full image of your teeth, jaw, and facial profile on one side of your face. This shows them the position of your teeth compared to your jaws. It helps them plan for orthodontic treatment, such as braces.

  • Cone beam CT scan: This captures a 3D X-ray of your teeth, jaws, joints, nerves, and sinuses. Surgeons may use these X-rays to evaluate your jawbone dimension and location before treatments like dental implants to ensure proper placement.

Does dental insurance cover X-rays? 

Many dental insurance plans, such as Aflac dental insurance, offer full coverage for preventative care, which includes routine X-rays. As for the number of X-rays, our plans help cover one X-ray per year. Fortunately, many people with healthy teeth and gums may not need an X-ray that often.2

Some X-ray types, such as cone beam CT scans, may be part of basic or major services and cost extra. Still, Aflac offers significant coverage on basic and major treatments.

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Dental X-ray costs 

Here are some average costs for different kinds of X-rays without insurance:2

X-Ray Type Average Cost
Bitewing X-rays $10 to $25 per section, $20 to $100 for an entire set
Periapical X-rays $15 to $30 per tooth, $85 to $250 for the entire mouth
Occlusal X-rays $20 to $40
Panoramic X-rays $60 to $150
Cephalometric X-ray $75 to $3003
Cone beam CT scan $100 to $1,0003

Factors that can affect the cost of dental X-rays 

Here are some aspects that may affect the cost of your dental X-rays:

Type of X-ray 

X-rays vary in complexity and resources required. Therefore, as seen above, each type may cost a different amount. For example, bitewing X-rays are the simplest and cost the least. On the other hand, cone beam CT scans are more complex and performed by a dental surgeon, driving up the cost.

How many X-rays you need 

The more X-rays you need, the more you’ll have to pay. For example, if you need multiple X-rays to help the dentist identify a potential dental issue, you may pay more to help cover the cost of all these X-rays. On the other hand, if you only need one routine X-ray, you may not pay as much.

Your location 

Big cities tend to have higher living costs. A dentist in one of these cities may charge more for the same X-ray to remain profitable. On the other hand, a dentist in a more rural area may charge less. You may have fewer options and have to travel further, but you could save money.

Your dental insurance coverage

Many dental insurance policies help cover the full cost of one annual X-ray as part of your preventative care coverage. Beyond that, plans vary. Some may offer partial coverage for additional preventative X-rays. Others may help cover X-rays that are part of procedures, such as dental implants, since these X-rays are part of the procedure’s total cost. Dental insurance that help cover more X-rays may cost more in premiums but can be worth it if you need the additional coverage.

Additional fees 

Depending on your situation and the services you receive, you may have to pay additional fees. Some examples include digital image storage, records management, immediate image processing, and specialist analysis. Furthermore, emergency or after-hours X-rays may cost more due to their urgency. 

Get a quote for Aflac dental insurance

X-rays are a crucial part of your preventative care, helping the dentist look at hidden areas of your mouth and catch early warning signs of issues while they're easier and less expensive to fix. Additionally, some X-rays are part of larger procedures, such as dental implants.

Aflac’s dental insurance policies offer full coverage for your annual preventative X-ray and can help reduce the costs of most other dental procedures. Speak with an agent today to explore your options and get a quote.

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