Dental bills high in California

Research Activities, January 2011, No. 365

Dental bills in California averaged $813 per patient in 2007, roughly a quarter more than the national average of $643, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The Agency's analysis of dental care spending and use in the 10 largest States in 2007 also found that:

  • Nationally, nearly half (49 percent) of the cost of dental care was paid out-of-pocket vs. 16 percent for other types of health care.
  • Compared with the national average for dental expenses paid out-of-pocket, Florida and Ohio had higher and lower rates—69 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
  • Insurance was a factor. Private insurance paid for only 27.5 percent of dental bills in Florida but 48.5 percent in Ohio. Portions not paid by private insurers or out-of-pocket were paid by Medicaid or other sources.
  • About 42 percent of all Americans incurred at least one dental care expenditure. Nationally, this varied from 31 percent of Texans to 54 percent of Michigan residents.

The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, view Dental Expenditures in the 10 Largest States, 2007 at

For more information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of January 2011
Internet Citation: Dental bills high in California: Research Activities, January 2011, No. 365. January 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.