How much does a root canal cost? Well, there are costs and then there are costs. Root canals, which as dental treatments have highly variable prices, are undoubtedly the most apprehensive moments in a dentist’s chair. They usually take quite a long time, they hurt afterwards, and the procedures are expensive, even with insurance. A root canal treatment involves the removal of pulp and root material from the gum of a tooth; they are removed because they have acquired an infection that antibiotics do not successfully treat. The actual root canal treatment is usually painless—the pain starts later, as you recover. And then it gets worse - the orthodontist hands you the bill.
Average root canal cost includes several elements to determine, most especially how many teeth are affected. Most root canal procedures are priced by the tooth, not by the session or surgery. On average, a root canal’s entire procedure runs anywhere from $1000 (for a few teeth, obviously) to $2500 and beyond (even with insurance).Dental orthodontists who do root canals regularly can make up to $90,000 annually on the root canal procedure alone.
You may think that, with dental insurance, root canals are relatively inexpensive, but this is not always the case.
Numerous individuals on prime dental insurance plans do find that most of the procedure is paid for. On average, however, most dental patients are allowed $1000 per year for dental work, including root canal procedures, and nothing more. This means that someone needing extensive work could, even after an insurance payment of $1000 (which in many cases ends further dental payment for the remainder of the year), owe $2000 to $4000 still. On average, dental insurance pays 40% of a root canal’s entire price.
There are several websites online that provide inexpensive dental plans to patients in need. An excellent source is healthsaving.ourperfectcard.com, which boasts clients who got a procedure (albeit a minor one) for $350. Others paid up to $1000. Again, whether insured or not, the root canal treatment price depends upon the individual teeth in figuring costs. A front tooth, for instance, has a single canal, and can average between $350 and $600 per tooth. If you need a section of your mouth treated, say more than four teeth, the procedure will be very expensive, whether with insurance or not.
The average cost of a root canal and crown, which includes a permanent “cap” placed on the tooth, will add between $600 and $1000 per crown to the price. The crown, however, is usually necessary, since it extends the tooth’s life and general health at least six times beyond normal. The root canal and crown cost, even for one tooth, can be $2000 and more.
All root canals vary slightly in price because all teeth are slightly different. A front tooth with an easily accessible canal that requires little maneuvering for treatment is not nearly as expensive, or worrisome, as a molar. Not only is a back tooth harder to reach, sterilize, and dig pulp from, it also has three canals compared to a front tooth’s one or two. The lowest price available for a molar root canal, in which all canals are pierced, drained and sterilized, is between $500 and $850—it can be as expensive as over $1000.
It’s the middle of the night, and you can’t stand the pain anymore or the infected heat from your impacted teeth. You find a dentist, who, after some X-raying, announces that the root canal should be done without delay. So—what is that going to set you back?
On average, it will be about $1000 per tooth.
In addition, emergency root canals may involve subsequent pulp-removal procedures as follow ups, which could run up to $850 per tooth. It might be prudent, if money is short or insurance won’t pay for the procedure, to consider root canal vs. extraction (a simple “tooth-pull,” which eliminates the whole problem - and if the tooth loss doesn’t create a significantly noticeable gap, it may be worth it). Tooth extraction will usually run between $70 and $100.
When do you need a root canal? That’s a little like asking when do you want that next invasive surgical procedure, but it’s worth knowing the answer. The signs that you need a root canal are fairly significant and easy to identify—the most obvious one will be persistent and throbbing tooth pain, which aspirin or even an antibiotic treatment does not alleviate. The teeth may also feel fragile and frail (this is the effect of pulp being slowly eaten away by the infection) or pressured and tense (the buildup of pus without drainage).
Despite the fact that your teeth are being siphoned of pus, and their canals and pulp removed, most reliable orthodontists numb the areas for treatment before beginning the work. You may feel little or no tooth pain after root canal surgery until the anesthetic wears off—then it may be quite painful indeed.
Post root canal pain can usually be handled with aspirin, taken in moderation. If the pain is localized (one of the most frequent root canal complications), a tooth numbing substance (there are dozens of products on the market), which allows you to sleep until the area heals over, may be indicated, or even a simple application of oil of cloves for temporary relief.
If you are experiencing root canal complications that include pain beyond any of these examples, you may need to revisit the orthodontist; the pain may be a warning that the tooth has abscessed, and the dentist will need to re-open the canal, drain it a second time, and siphon in antibiotics until the pain is gone, then replace the resin substance that supplanted the lost pulp. Once the pain clears, you can sigh with relief at having a healthy smile again.