But according to a recent survey by the non-profit Delaware Valley Consumers Checkbook, not shopping around for a dentist could cost you hundreds of dollars per visit.
11,500 patients rated 187 local dentists for the Checkbook survey.
They looked at issues including the gentleness of treatment, waiting room time, thoroughness of exams, prevention instruction and cost.
Robert Krughoff, Checkbook's President, says the survey found big differences in prices, "For instance, for a two-surface filling on an adult pre-molar, prices ranging from $125 to more than $300."
On routine exams, prices varied from $40 up to $227. For root canals, the low price was $425. The high price $1600.
Krughoff says patients should try to shop around, especially if they don't have dental insurance. But not all dentists' offices are willing to quote prices.
"If they don't give you a proce over the phone, don't deal with them at all," he says.
If you don't have dental insurance, and you are part of a family that might need extensive dental care over the course of the year, Krughoff suggests looking at pre-paid dental plans.
"You might save a $1000 or $2000, a year by getting a pre-paid dental plan." Krughoff says. "But one of the things to be aware of is that many dentists won't even participate with a pre-paid dental plan, so it limits who you can go to."
You need to subscribe to Checkbook to get the full report. But here's a list of dentists some local dentists who rated high in patient-satisfaction and low in price:
Dr. Carl E. Boccellieri of Newtown Square, Pa.
Dr. Reed Finch of Newtown Square, Pa.
Dr. Glenn Gray of Narberth, Pa.
Dr. Christina Grebory of Bensalem, Pa.
Dr. Lawrence Gibb of Pottstown, Pa.
Dr. John Grigger of Fort Washington, Pa.
Dr. Robert Hlotzheimer of Sewell, N.J.
Dr. Joseph Icenhower of Oaks, Pa.
Dr. Bernard Jacobs of Mt. Ephraim, N.J.
Dr. Steven Miller of E. Norriton and Warminster, Pa.
Dr. Michael Mullaney of Media, Pa.
Dr. Ricahrd Pfeiffer of Havertown, Pa.
Dr. Francis Smithgall of Philadelphia, Pa., and Cherry Hill, N.J.
Dr. Peter Timian of Fairless Hills, Pa.
Dr. Jonathan Volinsky of Philadelphia, Pa
For more details of Checkbook's survey, click here.