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While getting a root canal is usually on everyone’s not-to-do list, sometimes it’s inevitable to preserve your oral health.

If you think you’re going to need a root canal, you probably have lots of questions. Not the least of which is how much does a root canal cost? Well, there are a number of factors that affect this so the answer isn’t very cut-and-dried. Read on to learn all about root canal costs and what you can expect from your procedure.

What is a root canal?

Root canals, for whatever reason, have always gotten a bad rap as the worst dental procedure. You’ve probably heard someone reference that they’d rather get a root canal than do x, to highlight just how horrible is. 

And honestly, back in the day, root canal procedures were quite unpleasant. However, with advancements in modern dentistry and the saving grace that is anesthesia, root canals are not the horror-worthy dental procedures of old. 

Root canals are actually a great way to save your natural teeth. Instead of having to pull an infected tooth to remove the infection or prevent gum disease, dentists can simply treat the root and allow you to keep your natural tooth. 

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Root canal therapy is performed by your general dentist or endodontist when the inner part of your tooth, called the pulp, becomes infected. This pulp is cleaned out and the remaining cavity is thoroughly disinfected to prevent further infection. The dentist then fills and seals off the tooth. 

For teeth that are only infected, a root canal will be performed alone. However, in some cases, teeth become infected because of some sort of damage. Damaged teeth may require a dental crown over the top to ensure that bacteria doesn’t get inside the tooth and cause another abscess. 

How much does a root canal cost out of pocket?

Your root canal price will vary depending on various factors. One of the main ones is whether or not you have dental insurance. 

The location of the tooth also makes a difference. Root canals on the molars are generally more expensive than root canals on the anterior, or front teeth. This is because molars can have up to three roots whereas the front teeth only have one. For molars, expect to pay about $1,100 for one tooth. The premolars will cost around $880 and the front teeth will drop to about $760. 

And that only covers the root canal.

Out-of-pocket cost of the crown

If you also need a crown on the tooth, that’s an additional expense. Dental crowns are made from different materials and vary in price depending on the size and type of material used. The price can range from $1,000 to $3,500

How much does a root canal cost with insurance?

If you have dental insurance, you can expect the cost of a root canal to be lower. How much depends on the type of insurance you have.

Dental insurance is different from medical insurance in that it mostly covers preventative care. Whereas health insurance will cover excess expenses, dental benefits are generally limited to regular cleanings, exams, and x-rays. Extra procedures like root canals may be partially covered, but you’ll still be responsible for a percentage of the cost. 

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Dental plan coverage

Most dental plans follow a 100-80-50 structure. This means that preventative care is covered at 100%, basic procedures at 80%, and major ones at 50%. Depending on the particular insurance plan you have, root canals can be considered either a basic or major procedure. This means your procedure may be covered at either 80% or 50%. 

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It’s also important to realize that dental plans tend to have a high deductible that you have to fulfill first. If you haven’t paid enough out of pocket yet to fulfill it, you’ll have to meet that deductible and insurance may pay a portion of whatever is left.

On the other end, dental plans usually have an annual limit. If you’ve already used a lot of your dental benefits this year and are nearing the limit, you will only receive that amount, even if the plan would normally cover more. 

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For example, imagine you have an annual spending limit of $3,000 and have already used $2,800 of it. The insurance company will only pay $200, even if it would normally cover $400 of the procedure. 

Furthermore, most dental plans have a network of preferred providers. Find a dentist in the network and you’ll save money. Choose a provider outside their network, it’s likely they will cover considerably less of the cost of the procedure.

Assuming you’ve fulfilled your deductible and won’t hit your limit, your insurance may cover 50% of the procedure, bringing the average cost down to $380–$550. If you get lucky and it covers 80%, your out-of-pocket cost may be only about $150–$220. 

Cost of the crown

If a crown is required, that expense is extra. Crowns are usually considered major procedures, meaning they will only be covered at 50%. This could bring your out-of-pocket cost for the crown down to $500–$1,750. Again, this is assuming you’ve fulfilled your deductible and haven’t hit your annual maximum. 

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Why is a root canal so expensive?

On the surface, a root canal sounds like a pretty straightforward procedure. Your dentist simply has to clean out the infection, disinfect the tooth, and seal everything up. 

However, though it might be simple, it isn’t easy. An infected tooth is infected on the inside. Most of the time it isn’t a matter of looking at the tooth from the outside and determining the problem. It takes specialized tools and equipment just to diagnose the infection. 

Then, cleaning out the infected pulp is a delicate procedure. If there is more than one root, as in the case of molars, the price of the root canal will go up. 

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It’s also possible that your root canal will require more than one dentist appointment. Additional dental office visits also push the price of your procedure up. This is especially true if you will need a crown on top.

Furthermore, it makes a difference whether you choose a dentist or an endodontist to perform the procedure. If your situation is trickier, it’s better to go with an endodontist. Their experience and specialized training will help to ensure that everything goes well. However, this comes with an additional cost. 

Is it worth it?

The cost of a root canal might make you wonder if it’s really worth it. However, you’ll be saving your tooth by having this procedure. If the infection is allowed to spread, eventually you’ll lose the tooth. Tooth replacement options, such as a dental implant, make the cost of a root canal shrink in comparison. 

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Good dentists are very concerned about your oral health and most will offer payment plans to help ease the burden of paying for your root canal. After all, it is better for your dental health to get a root canal than have a tooth replaced!

Is it painful to get a root canal?

As we mentioned earlier, most people think root canals are on the extreme undesirable end of the dental procedure spectrum. However, with modern dentistry and anesthesia, root canals really aren’t that painful. You can consider it similar to getting a deep filling.

Your dentist will be cleaning out the entire root of your tooth, which can irritate the surrounding tissue and nerves to an extent. For this reason, a little pain in the area after the procedure is to be expected. However, this pain should quickly disappear. 

Now, ask yourself what will happen if you don’t get the root canal.

The affected tooth will only get worse, causing pain in the immediate area and potentially infecting the teeth around it. You may experience a constant toothache, tooth pain when chewing or biting, or sensitivity to hot and cold. Imagine how long you’ll suffer if you don’t have the issue taken care of. 

Where can I get a root canal near me?

Do you suspect that you’re going to need this type of dental work? How do you find a dentist near you? You want someone experienced in this type of dental procedure. Plus, if you have dental benefits that you want to use, you’ll want someone in your network to help keep the cost down. 

Just Googling a dentist in your area probably isn’t the most effective or efficient way to find a dentist. Instead, using a platform like the one we provide here at Opencare makes everything easy. You tell us what you want in a dentist and we’ll offer suggestions of great dentists in your area that fit what you’re looking for. 

Getting a root canal might not sound like the most pleasant experience in the world, but in the right hands, it won’t be nearly as bad as you might think. Let us put you in touch with a nearby dentist and help you level up your oral wellness today!

Book a dental consultation.

Find a dentist near you to tell you more about getting started on this procedure.

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