Root canal treatment or endodontic treatment is a necessary therapy in all cases where bacterial infection has penetrated deeply into the tooth, attacking the dental pulp. The procedure is performed in cases of moderate or severe caries to treat infections that have affected the pulp of the tooth. This treatment repairs the damaged interior of a tooth, preventing the need for its extraction.
During root canal treatment, the inflamed dental nerve is removed along the entire length of the roots, and bacteria are removed from the infected canal, to prevent new infection and save the tooth naturally.
How much does a root canal treatment cost?
The cost of a root canal treatment will be influenced by the location of the tooth (how easy it is to access it), how well trained and how much experience does the dental professional have and the number of canals in the tooth as a rear molar may have three or more and a front tooth, in general, has only one. Usually, root canal treatments are performed by a general dentist or a root canal specialist named an endodontist. This type of doctor, in general, will charge 30% to 50% more than a general dentist and treats the most difficult cases.
Depending on the terms of the policy, your dental insurance may cover 40% to 80% of the costs. Though, most dental insurance policies cover only $1,000 to $1,550 per year for dental treatments.
You should plan on spending anywhere between $320 and $1,500 or even more for a root canal treatment on a front tooth. However, the average cost would be anywhere between $920 and $1,200, depending on how complex the job is and whether it is performed by an endodontist or a dentist. For instance, according to some patients without health insurance coverage, the cost of a front tooth root canal treatment is anywhere between $980 and $1,400. Those who had a health insurance policy said that they had to pay anywhere between $250 and $1,250 out of their pocket.
Expect to pay anywhere between $450 and $1,900, or even more for a root canal on a premolar tooth (mid-mouth) or on a bicuspid. In case you have health insurance the average cost would be around $1,000. On the other hand, for those without a health insurance plan, the out-of-pocket cost would be anywhere between $300 and $400, with an average of $340.
The cost of root canal therapy on a back molar would be anywhere between $550 and $2,100 or even more, but in general, the costs are $1,000 to $1,320. If you don’t have a dental insurance plan, you will have to pay anywhere between $550 and $1,600, while with health insurance your out-of-pocket expenses would be anywhere between $320 and $1,700, with an average of $700.
Root canal treatment overview
The first step in a canal treatment is an x-ray that allows the endodontist to have specific information about the exact shape and length of the roots of the tooth on which the treatment is being performed.
After local anesthesia, the tooth is insulated with a rubber membrane, called a dam, to prevent bacteria from saliva from entering the tooth.
To reach the pulp of the tooth, a hole is made through the crown of the tooth with the help of a milling cutter. Before removing the soft tissue, the area must be cleaned and disinfected. The pulp is removed, the root canal is cleaned, and ready for filling. The session continues with the modeling of the canal and its filling with a biocompatible material that restores the morphology and function of the dental element.
What are the extra costs?
There are situations when at the initial consultation the doctor determines that the root canal treatment has to be performed on an emergency basis. If this is the case you will have to pay a same-day, next-day, or weekend-procedure fee, which may be anywhere between $60 and $110, or even more.
Once the root canal is treated, in general, the tooth has to be topped with a dental crown that can be made of porcelain and costs anywhere between $520 and more than $1,550. In general, these are used for the front teeth. The crowns made of metal and used on the out-of-sight back molars cost anywhere between $800 and $2,600 or even more, while for a crown made of porcelain fused to metal, that can be used on both front and back teeth, you will have to pay anywhere between $820 and $3,100 or even more. Sometimes only a filling will be necessary and it will cost anywhere between $100 and $320 or more.
After the treatment, you may experience discomfort that can last for several days. To get rid of this discomfort, you should follow the dentist’s recommendation, and take an analgesic. In extreme cases, your dentist should prescribe an antibiotic and a painkiller to rule out any possibility of infection.
Important things to consider
After the therapy is completed, regular check-ups (usually every six months) are essential for the health of the root canal. Regular check-ups associated with oral hygiene maintain the health of the teeth and gums and allow the treated tooth to last for a long time.
Among the elements that indicate the need for a root canal treatment, we can mention:
- Spontaneous pain or throbbing every time you try to bite on something.
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods.
- Severe caries or a wound that leads to an abscess (infection) of the bone.
Following the canal procedure, it is forbidden to chew directly on the tooth that has just been repaired before it has been rebuilt into a final shape, as there is a risk of rupture. The longer you delay the completion of the reconstruction work, the higher the risk of infection on the newly treated canals, in which case the procedure will have to be started again.
How can I save money?
You may be able to save some money on root canal treatment if you choose to go to a dental school clinic. In general, these schools offer reduced rates for the services performed by supervised students.