How Much is a Root Canal?

If your dentist has recommended that you get root canal treatment, you may wonder how much it will cost you. If you have dental insurance, you should not worry much about the cost but more about your recovery process. If on the other hand you will pay out of pocket, then you should be concerned because it can be a hefty price.

However, you should note that the cost differs with the type of teeth, the area and the dentist. A root canal for premolars and molars may be more expensive than for the front teeth. The cost may also vary depending on whether the treatment is done by an endodontist or a general dentist, with endodontists charging more.

Factors determining the cost

  • Tooth canals. A root canal treatment involves accessing the root canals and removing the damaged pulp that runs from the top of the tooth to the root. The pulp contains nerves and nutrients. If it is damaged or diseased, it can affect the tooth. The more the canals a tooth has the more work will be needed. This means that teeth with more canals such as molars and premolars are charged more than teeth with one canal such as the canines and incisors. NerdWallet estimates the cost for front teeth root canal to be $700 and that of a molar to be $900.
  • The Dentist. Training of the dental professional performing the procedure can affect costs. A root canal treatment can be done by a general dentist or an endodontist who is a specialist in root canal. Endodontists charge more and they can also treat difficult cases.
  • Insurance coverage. The percentage covered by the dental insurance determines the out-of-pocket amount that you may pay. This depends on the policy terms. For instance, some insurers may cover from 40 to 80% of the total cost while setting a maximum amount payable.
  • Geography. A root canal procedure performed in one area may be more expensive than the other. For instance in Washington DC the average is about $1369 while in Seattle a similar procedure may cost $619. The providers have the freedom to set their own prices, which may be largely dependent on the living costs of a particular area.

What is included in the cost?

The cost of root canal treatment covers the following:

  • The x-ray. The dental professional needs to take an x-ray to show where there is an infection and the canals shape.
  • The opening of the tooth and removal of the damaged pulp. The tooth needs to be opened to remove the damaged pulp. This is done by numbing the area, drilling a hole and suctioning the pulp.
  • Dental appointments. In some cases, a root canal treatment may require more than one visit to the dentist. These should be covered in the cost.

According to some of the research done by NerdWallet, the cheapest front tooth canal costs $200 and it’s done in San Francisco while the most expensive costs $2,200 in New York City. The cheapest Molar root canal is $210 in New Jersey and the most expensive is $2,250 in New York City.  The average cost for the root canal for the front tooth is $700 while that of the molar is $900.

Other costs

You may be required to shoulder other costs that are not included in the root canal treatment. Some of these include:

  • Restoring costs. After the treatment, the tooth needs to be restored by topping with a crown or filling to close the drilled hole. Some cases may require filling and it is the cheapest. Metal crowns that are porcelain-fused tend to be the most expensive and they are suitable for front and back teeth. Metal crowns are cheaper and they are suitable for back molars that are out of sight. Porcelain crowns tend to be the cheapest, and they are preferred for front teeth. The cost of crown or filling is separate from the root canal cost and may range between $500 and $3,000.
  • Emergency costs. There may be additional costs if the procedure is to be done on an emergency basis such as the same day, following day or on the weekend.


How to save costs on root canals

Considering the high costs of root canals and the crown placement, it is in your best interests to try to save on costs so that when the time comes, you do not pay a lot of out of pocket money.

  • Get insured. If you have dental insurance, the out-of-pocket amount may not be high. Most insurance cover a certain percentage of the cost while you cover the rest. Instead of running costs of up to thousands, you may find that you are required to pay a few hundreds. There are different dental plans from various insurers. One can be covered as an employee or can buy private dental insurance.
  • Go for treatment in an area charging lower rates. Root canal treatment costs vary depending on the place. You will find that some regions or states are cheaper than others. In most cases, services in the big cities tend to be more expensive than in other areas.
  • Use comparison websites. The internet has opened up ways of comparing costs. You can use comparison websites to find dentists that are charging lower rates.
  • Use the services of a general dentist instead of an endodotist. A specialist charges more than a dentist. So if your case can be dealt by a dentist, it will be more affordable. However, you should not sacrifice on quality to save cost. If your root canal needs a specialist, then you should see one.
  • Getting the root canal done overseas. In some countries, the charges may be lower and therefore it may be a better option if you are looking at saving costs. However, you may miss out on aftercare if you take this option because you may not go abroad for repeat appointments and follow-ups.