How Much Should I Expect a Root Canal to Cost? – GoodRx

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Many people fear having a root canal and expect the treatment to be a painful ordeal. But if your dentist says you need one, chances are your tooth is already sore from a crack, decay, or infection. Despite its reputation, a root canal can actually relieve your toothache. hopefully, it won’t hurt your wallet too much either. Read on to learn more about the procedure, the pros and cons of doing it, and how much it’s likely to cost you.

what is a root canal?

A root canal is a non-surgical procedure to repair a cracked or infected tooth. It is performed by a dentist who works below the surface of the tooth, known as an endodontist. the purpose is to remove bacteria and dead or dying tissue within the tooth. the main objective is to preserve the tooth, so that it is not necessary to extract it.

Reading: What does a root canal cost with insurance

Initially, the endodontist examines the condition of your tooth and discusses it with you. after that, the procedure is usually carried out in two steps:

  • excision: You receive an injection of anesthetic to numb your mouth. The endodontist then drills into the tooth to expose its pulp, which is the soft tissue at its center. They remove the infected pulp with small files and clean the canals (passages) within the root of the tooth. the endodontist may add a temporary filling for the roots of the tooth or a top seal to protect the tooth.

  • restoration: In a few weeks, you’ll probably see your regular dentist, rather than the endodontist. You will get a permanent filling or crown (artificial tooth) to protect the clean root and the rest of the tooth.

    In general, endodontic procedures do not differ much other than the location of the tooth: front teeth, molars, or premolars (the teeth before the molars). if you have had a previous root canal on a tooth, it will be re-treated. the dentist removes any previous restorative work and performs further investigation and cleaning of the canals. Some newer treatment devices include dental water lasers or ultrasonic energy to clean the canals. the manufacturers of these devices claim that these modes lead to faster healing and fewer appointments.

    How much does a root canal usually cost?

    The costs of endodontics depend on several factors, including:

    • the location of the tooth in the mouth

    • whether you visit your regular dentist or a specialist, such as an endodontist

    • either a first-time root canal or a retreatment (a second root canal on a previously treated tooth)

    • either an emergency or scheduled root canal

    • if you need a crown

    • if your insurance covers part or all of the procedure

    • where do you live

      Front teeth are easier for the dentist to access, so root canals are less expensive. Bicuspid or premolar teeth are the teeth anterior to the molars. unsurprisingly, they tend to be more expensive than front teeth and less expensive than molars. On average, the cost of a root canal on a front tooth is around $1,000; for bicuspids, it’s around $1100.

      The molars, in the back, are more difficult to reach and clean. root canals on those teeth are usually the most expensive. prices typically range from $1,300 to $1,600.

      Re-treating your tooth is a complex and time-consuming process. the dentist removes the existing filling materials and looks for additional problems with the tooth. expect to pay an additional 18-20% on top of the basic root canal price, depending on the location of the tooth.

      Averages aside, the above factors can cause root canal prices to vary widely. Typically, the range is approximately $700 to $2,100.

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      If these prices are too high for you, it is possible to finance dental work. however, you will end up paying interest along with your dental bill. for example, carecredit is commonly accepted, but, outside of its promotional offers, the card charges interest at an annual percentage rate of 26.99%.

      It is advisable to investigate lower cost options. Consider receiving care at dental schools that offer endodontic training. a root canal is usually much less expensive at a student or resident clinic, perhaps half the cost of the procedure at a private practice. You may need a referral from your dentist to access treatment at a dental school.

      what does the cost of a root canal include?

      The price of a root canal procedure typically covers all visits, including:

      • X-rays or other images

      • anesthesia fees

      • root procedure or treatment

        however, you may have to pay separately for the consultation. Also, the price of the root canal may not include the final restoration of the tooth, such as a new filling or crown.

        Your dentist may recommend a crown if the root canal is in a molar. A dental crown supports the tooth and increases its chance of survival. the average cost of a crown is $1,300, but prices vary depending on the materials used. Crowns can be made of metal, ceramic, zirconium (a type of ceramic), or porcelain fused to metal.

        Is a root canal worth it?

        If you have a toothache, a root canal is one of two viable options. the other option is to remove the tooth entirely, which could lead to an expensive dental implant.

        These are the advantages and disadvantages of having a root canal.


        • saves your natural tooth for aesthetic reasons and daily chewing

        • relieves swelling, toothache and severe tooth sensitivity to hot or cold

        • Compared to tooth extraction and replacement, it may involve less time, expense and risk to nearby healthy teeth and gums

        • more likely to be painless than an extraction


          • may require two or three 90-minute visits

          • may involve taking antibiotics after the procedure if the infection spreads

          • could cause problems such as a missing or broken tooth, nerve damage, or infection

          • can lead to tooth discoloration

            questions to ask a dentist or endodontist about your root canal

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            As stated above, root canal costs can vary, so before making a decision it’s wise to shop around and ask questions. questions may include:

            • How many root canals do you perform each day or each week?

            • How many visits will my endodontics take?

            • what are some possible problems I might face in my situation?

            • do I need a crown? how much will that cost?

            • Does my insurance cover root canals?

            • what are my out-of-pocket costs for this root canal?

              Does the insurance cover a root canal?

              A dental insurance policy will likely cover 50% to 80% of the cost of root canal treatment once you’ve met your deductible. however, if you need a crown, your insurer may pay a smaller portion of that cost.

              There may also be other limitations. In some cases, coverage may be contingent on meeting certain clinical criteria, such as destroyed tooth structure requiring a crown. In addition, you may be up against your plan’s annual maximum benefit, typically $1,000 to $1,500.

              Traditional Medicare does not cover most dental procedures. However, Part A may cover certain dental treatments you receive while you are in the hospital and may also pay for your hospital stay. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer basic or comprehensive dental coverage. root canals and endodontics are usually found in the comprehensive dental coverage package. check your policy documents for coverage details, including plan limits.

              Medicaid coverage of emergency and comprehensive dental benefits varies by state, as there are no federal requirements. Most states offer emergency dental coverage under Medicaid. less than half offer comprehensive dental coverage, the kind that includes root canals.

              How long do the effects and benefits of endodontics last?

              A root canal is meant to provide permanent relief. But sometimes the tooth needs attention months or years later because it has become infected, inflamed, or hurts in some other way.

              this can happen due to:

              • failure of initial treatment to cure existing infection or inflammation

              • a new infection

              • a crown or a damaged tooth

              • waiting too long to add a necessary crown

                In this case, endodontic surgery could save the tooth through retreatment. the endodontist removes your crown and any restorative material and reopens access to the inside of your tooth for a thorough cleaning and investigation. then the endodontist fills the canals. however, your endodontist may refer you for root canal surgery if your canals are not accessible for proper cleaning.

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