Cost of a Root Canal: If you’ve had tooth pain, you know it can make your wallet hurt too. Emergency dental care is expensive, understanding how much root canal costs and why that cost may vary based on a few factors. Here’s the general rundown for root canals and what they’ll ultimately cost you.
Hearing that you have to have a root canal is probably one of the scariest things you can hear when you visit the dentist. A root canal is an endodontic treatment that requires the medical repair of a diseased or injured tooth.
This article will focus on:
What is a Root Canal?
In a root canal treatment, the dentist makes an opening in a tooth and cleans out an infected area, to prevent the infection from spreading.
Yes, it can seriously hurt once the anesthesia wears off — but putting off dealing with an infected tooth can land you in the hospital, undergoing an even more costly emergency root canal procedure.
When I was told of my impending doom, I didn’t have health insurance or a health savings account and had to pay out of my own pocket.
If you’re in a similar spot, you may still have time to get insurance and save your wallet some serious pain.
Before you lose your nerve — and savings — entirely, here’s how much a root canal could cost you, and how to save as much money as possible.
How Much a Root Canal Costs?
The cost of a root canal varies depending on where you are in the country and which tooth needs it.
Molars are significantly more expensive than bicuspids and front teeth. That’s not an access issue – it’s because front teeth have one canal, while your back teeth can have as many as three.
If all of them need work done, you’re actually getting a bulk discount on the molars.
So what are you going to pay for a root canal? The short answer is somewhere around the neighborhood of $1,000, depending on which tooth needs it, among other factors. Here are the average prices of a root canal by tooth:
- Front teeth: The cost will range anywhere from $300 to $1,500, but a more typical range will be $900 to $1,100.
- Bicuspids: The cost of a bicuspid root canal is a little steeper, ranging from $400 to $1,800 with a typical cost of $900 to $1,100.
- Molars: Here’s where things start getting really expensive. For a molar root canal, you’re looking at spending between $500 to $2,000, with typical costs between $1,000 to $1,300.
What does that include? An X-ray and the procedure itself. You’re probably going to be looking at extra costs, though, including follow-up visits (about $50 to $100 each) and a dental crown (anywhere from $300 to $3,000, depending on which tooth you had done and how nice you want the crown to be).
If you’re lucky, you might get away with just needing a filling, which is going to run you between $50 and $300.
Factors that Can Add to the Cost
Sometimes a root canal becomes infected again and needs more attention – which, unfortunately, can cost more than the root canal itself.
The follow-up, called retreatment, involves removing the existing root canal filling, then cleaning, shaping, and filling the canal again.
If the dentist can’t save your tooth, you may need to have it removed and replaced with an implant or denture.
What to Expect During a Root Canal
If you think you need a root canal, consult your dentist. There are a number of steps that occur over a few office visits.
- X-ray – if a dentist suspects you may need a root canal, he will first take X-rays or examine existing X-rays to show where the decay is located.
- Anesthesia – local anesthesia is administered to the affected tooth. Contrary to popular belief, a root canal is no more painful than a filling.
- Pulpectomy – an opening is made and the diseased tooth pulp is removed.
- Filling – the roots that have been opened (to get rid of the diseased pulp) are filled with gutta-percha material and sealed off with cement.
Tips for Care After a Root Canal
A treated and restored tooth can last a lifetime with proper care. Root canals have a high success rate. Here are a few ways to take care of your teeth after a root canal:
- Practice good oral hygiene – brush teeth twice a day, and floss at least once. Taking care of your teeth can help prevent future problems.
- Visit the dentist regularly – cleanings and examinations by dentists and hygienists.
- Avoid chewing on hard foods – chewing on hard foods such as ice can cause teeth to break, and can harm root canals.
1. Is root canal treatment painful?
Root canal treatment doesn’t cause pain but actually relieves it. Advances have made the treatment a virtually pain-free experience, many times accomplished in a single visit.
2. I’m worried about x-rays. Should I be?
No. While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontic treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system called digital radiography that produces radiation levels up to 90 percent lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery.
3. How long does a root canal take?
The amount of time a procedure takes depends on the details of the procedure you’re having and the type of tooth involved. We estimate your time in the office to last approximately 1-2 hours. The treatment itself can often be completed in one visit. At times, a second appointment may be needed.
4. What are alternatives to Root Canal Therapy?
If the tooth is seriously damaged and is not salvageable by root canal therapy then extraction is the only alternative.
5. What happens after my root canal is done?
When your root canal treatment has been completed, a report of your treatment will be sent to your dentist. You will need to contact their office for a follow-up restoration within 30 days of completion at our office. Your dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth.
6. Is it expensive?
Cost will depend on your dental insurance coverage. Our staff will help with getting your insurance information and let you know the cost of your root canal. If you do not have any dental insurance, we offer discount options or a payment plan with Care Credit.
7. What are the Risks and Complications?
Almost 95% of the root canal therapy is successful, but sometimes because of unnoticed canal malformations, iatrogenic errors like ledge formation can lead the root canal therapy to fail.
Where to Go from Here
Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding your medical condition or treatment.
I hope this article is useful in promoting understanding and knowledge about general oral health topics.