Are you wondering how much does a root canal cost? It’s definitely not as cheap as a dental filling and usually costs more than a crown. But there are different factors that influence root canal cost, meaning they can significantly fluctuate from one person to the next.
The cost of a root canal treatment can range from $700 to $1,600 per tooth, but the actual price may vary depending on factors such as location, your insurance company, and the complexity of the case
Root canal treatment cost aside, you need endodontic therapy if the nerve of your tooth is compromised, infected, or dying. There simply is no other way to repair a tooth with necrotic nerve tissues inside of it, other than getting a root canal.
The only way to get a firm diagnosis of whether you need a root canal (and the applicable root canal cost) is to schedule an exam and X-ray with your dentist. In some cases, your dentist may need an expert’s input on the matter. Especially if it’s a hard-to-diagnose or hard-to-treat case. Root canal specialists are called “endodontists” and your dentist will usually refer you to one if they want you to get a second opinion.
The cost of a root canal treatment can easily fluctuate by as much as $800. It’s not that a dentist is trying to “rip you off” or “pull one over on you.” The fee is strictly dependent upon several factors, such as:
On average, the cost of a root canal without dental insurance can range from:
Let’s say worst case scenario you don’t have any dental insurance and expect to pay for your root canal treatment completely out of pocket. Since you already know the cost can fluctuate depending on which tooth is being treated you’ll want to nail down a specific quote from your dentist. That being said, a front tooth with a single root canal treatment usually costs between $700-1,600 on average to treat with a root canal. Keep in mind that does not include the dental crown you’ll need after the fact.
The further back you go in your mouth, the more roots there are. The “bicuspids” or “premolar” teeth behind your canines (eye teeth) will have one or two roots, depending on which one it is. If there are two roots, root canal procedures takes longer, meaning it also costs more. On average, premolars are around $800-1,600 to treat with a root canal.
And then there are your furthest back teeth, which are your molars. Molars usually have 2-3 roots. In extremely rare cases, they can have four roots. They’re also harder to see and reach, making the treatment more of a challenging procedure for general dentists. Depending on the tooth, your dentist might refer you to a specialist. The average root canal cost for molar teeth is between $1,000-1,600.
If you do not have dental insurance, a great option is to get a dental savings plan. They are no waiting periods or exclusions, or maximums and you get a flat discount on every oral health service, from dental cleanings to elective restorations. Dental discount plans also work for other out of pocket costs for vision and RX!
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On average, the cost of a root canal with dental insurance can range from:
If you have dental insurance, your root canal will usually be covered at the tier specified by your insurance plan. What do I mean by that? Typically, insurance benefits are prevention-driven. In other words, they pay more for preventative services like checkups and cleanings. Dental insurance plans usually covered those at 100%. Once you start developing cavities or gum disease (both of which are preventable conditions) the coverage starts to drop. Your plan might pay 80% or only 70%. It’s an incentive to get you to keep your mouth healthy. For major treatments, coverage typically drops as low as 50%, meaning you’re responsible for half of the root canal procedure (after covering any copays or deductibles.)
|Root Canal Cost
|Total | No Insurance
|Total | With Insurance
|Total | With Dental Plan
|$700 - $1400
|$800 - $2000
|$1700 - $3600
|$450 - $2000
|$850 to $1,800
|Bicuspid / Premolar
|$800 - $1600
|$800 - $2000
|$1800 - $3800
|$500 - $2200
|$900 to $1,900
|$1000 - $1600
|$800 - $2000
|$2000 - $3800
|$600 - $2200
|$1,000 to $1,900
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If you don’t treat an abscessed tooth, the infection will not go away on its own. Eventually, it can spread to other areas of the face and in rare circumstances, even your brain. It’s not uncommon to hear about people being hospitalized because of an untreated dental abscess.
The other risk is losing your tooth altogether. At a certain point, teeth become non-restorable. If it deteriorates too much, there will not be enough tooth structure left to repair. Eventually, you run out of root canal options and a tooth extraction is your only choice.
Untreated abscessed or dying teeth can cause severe tooth pain when you least expect it. And if you’ve ever had a toothache, you know how miserable they feel. Typically, they pop up at the most inopportune times (like on vacation or right after the dentist’s office closes for the weekend.) Waiting to address the issue will only increase the cost of treatment in the future.
The standard of care is to repair dying or abscessed teeth with root canals. Root canal treatment has come a long way, making it both gentle and cost-effective for today’s modern dental patients.
The absolute cheapest way to get a root canal is to go to a dental school for your endodontic treatment. Most likely you’ll have to wait a while before getting in for an exam, then even longer to schedule the root canal. But root canal cost at a university dental school will probably be less than half of what it would in a traditional dental office. You might even be able to see one of the post-graduate endodontic students, who are specializing in root canal therapy! A dental school probably won’t take dental insurance or offer payment plans, but their low-cost fees make dental care accessible for almost everyone. If you do not live close to a dental school, check your local resources for community dental clinics that offer root canal services.
With dental discount plans, there are no waiting periods or exclusions, or maximum amounts that you can cap out. You get a fixed, flat discount on all dental procedures, regardless of whether it’s for a cleaning, root canal treatment, dental implants, or an emergency extraction. So, if you don’t have any insurance coverage, you’re instantly saving money just by signing up for the plan.
No insurance or dental coverage? No problem. A payment plan can be used for your root canal with or without insurance coverage, making it easier to budget your treatment ASAP. Most dental payment plans offer limited 6-12 month terms at 0% interest, with low-interest financing for longer periods. You can usually get immediate approval, so you won’t have to wait to schedule any treatment you need.
Some dental offices also have in-house membership plans, which include a fixed discount on treatments like root canals, fillings, etc. The programs typically work as an insurance alternative, including no-cost checkups and cleanings as well.
A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged account linked to high-deductible health insurance, enabling pre-tax contributions for qualified medical expenses. HSAs cover root canals dental fees as eligible medical expenses. Ensure compliance with your HSA provider's terms and be aware of annual contribution limits. Verify any prescription requirements and consult a tax professional for personalized advice.
Although I highly advise against it, one cheap alternative to a root canal is to pull your tooth. A dental extraction can cost as low as $99 or $200 whereas root canal costs are far more than that.
However, if you do decide to extract a tooth, those “affordable” treatments are short-lived. The complications of tooth loss will eventually jeopardize the rest of your smile, potentially adding additional care costs to your dental bill in the future. Such as bone grafts, fixed dental bridges, or installing a brand new dental implant. The healthier and more cost-effective solution would be to just get the root canal to save the tooth you already have.
When you arrive at your root canal appointment, you’ll be made comfortable in the treatment room and some numbing gel will be applied to your gums. A few minutes later, the dentist will administer some local anesthetic to numb that area of your mouth. After that, the infected tooth is opened up, the nerve tissues are cleaned out, then the canals are medicated and filled to seal out any new infection. You’ll also need a crown to reinforce the non-vital tooth. More than likely your dentist will prep you for it that day, then install the permanent crown a couple of weeks later.
If you’re someone who prefers to “sleep” through your dental appointments, be sure to ask about having sedation during your root canal. Something light like nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can keep your root canal cost low since it’s usually only about $20-45. But there are also deeper levels of sedation if you want to completely tune everything out. In that case, you’ll need to have someone drive you home afterward.
On that note, if you have a lot of swelling or drainage from the abscess, your tooth can be more difficult to numb up with local anesthetic. To ensure you’re comfortable during your treatment, your dentist may need to prescribe an antibiotic to reduce how much inflammation there is. That way the numbing medication works properly.
Once your root canal procedure is complete, your tooth won’t feel a thing. How? Because there are no longer any “live” nerves or blood vessels feeding it. It has a large filling taking up all that space.
Waiting to treat an abscessed tooth will make root canal costs go up. You’ll save money by treating abscessed teeth sooner, rather than trying to ward off symptoms and delay the inevitable. How much does a root canal cost? Less than an emergency visit, extraction, and installing a dental implant!
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