Dental services at MIT Health

Dental care in the United States is different from other kinds of medical care. 

If you have a problem with your teeth or gums (such as tooth pain or a broken tooth), you will need to see a dentist. Your regular health insurance does not cover most kinds of dental care. Dental care is usually very expensive—whether you go to the MIT Health Dental Service or elsewhere. You can buy dental insurance, but even with insurance, you will have large out-of-pocket costs for many kinds of dental care.

Dental insurance

To buy dental insurance, you can visit the Massachusetts Health Connector. However, even if you have dental insurance, you will have to pay for your visits to the MIT Health Dental Service on the day of your appointment. At the Dental Service, you can pay with Mastercard, Visa, or a personal check. After you pay, you can submit the receipt to your insurance company, and they might repay some of the cost. It is important to know what kinds of services your dental insurance covers and how much of the cost they will repay for different kinds of care.

Your first visit

During your first visit to the MIT Health Dental Service, a dentist will examine your mouth and take a full set of dental X-rays. The X-rays are an important part of the exam and are always included unless you can bring good, recent X-rays to show the dentist.  

If you have had complete dental X-rays within the past three years, you can bring them to your first appointment or drop them off before your first appointment. If your previous dentist has digital files, they can send them to us electronically. Contact the Dental Service for information about how to do this. But if your previous X-rays are difficult to read, we might still need to take new X-rays.

What will it cost?

Your first visit—exam and X-rays—will cost around $200. If you have been to the Dental Service before and are coming in for a regular cleaning and checkup, the cost will be about $150. If you need dental repairs, such as fillings for cavities, the price will depend on how big the cavity is and what type of filling you want. Filling a cavity can cost from $100–$350 or more.

Dental emergencies

If you have a dental emergency at night or on a weekend, call MIT Health’s 24-hour Help Line at 617-253-4481. Our dentists can provide advice by phone when the Dental Service is closed.

If you have a serious dental emergency like an injury to your face, a jaw fracture, or uncontrolled bleeding, you should go to the Massachusetts General Hospital emergency room. If your problem is urgent but not serious—like a chipped tooth, tooth pain, lost crown, or a broken filling—don’t go to the emergency room. Instead, call us. We can give you an appointment quickly, usually the next day.