How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?

Updated on January 7, 2024

At a Glance

  • Root canals typically cost around $200-$500 with average dental insurance or $1,000 without insurance.
  • The cost varies based on factors like the tooth’s location, the need for a crown, and other considerations.
  • Dental insurance may cover a portion of the cost, but coverage varies.

Most people wish they never had to go through a root canal. It’s said to be very painful, and many individuals just prefer to leave their affected teeth as it is. But the price is another reason why people refrain from getting a root canal procedure.

The entire process is quite complex, so you can expect the treatment to be very expensive. But how much does a root canal cost in reality? Here is all you need to know about the price of a root canal.

How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?

The price of a root canal varies. Usually, factors such as the dental insurance plan of the patient, as well as their affected tooth will influence the cost of the treatment.

Generally, root canals cost around $200 – $500 if you have average insurance. Meanwhile, the lack of insurance could raise the price to around $1,000.

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a procedure used to fix an infected or cracked tooth. This procedure is nonsurgical and it is performed by an endodontist. The dentist will have to work below the surface of the tooth in order to get rid of bacteria, as well as the affected tissue from the tooth.

A root canal can also help save the tooth from a potential extraction.

When you have problems with one or more teeth, you will schedule an appointment with an endodontist and have your teeth examined. If problems are found, the dentist will discuss the matters with you and you will go through a series of steps to save your tooth.

First things first, the dead or dying tissue will have to be removed from your tooth. Your dentist will expose the pulp of the tooth by drilling it. Then, the pulp that is infected will be removed. To protect the tooth, your dentist may end up adding some filler for the roots. Don’t worry – all of this is done after the endodontist numbs your mouth with an anesthetic shot.

Next, you’ll go to your usual dentist after several weeks. To protect the tooth, you’ll end up getting a crown or permanent filling.

Nowadays, there are new devices for root canal procedures, such as ultrasonic energy and dental water lasers. These help effectively clean the canals with as little pain as possible. Besides, they might lead to fewer appointments in the future, as well as quicker healing.

Bear in mind that any existing root canals will require re-treatment.

How Much Does an Average Root Canal Cost?

Each root canal procedure is unique and involves different costs. Some individuals pay more for the treatment, while others pay less.

In order to estimate the price of the root canal, you have to pay attention to a few aspects, such as the geographical region, as well as what tooth requires the treatment.

Generally speaking, a front tooth will cost less than a molar tooth. Molars are the most expensive ones.

This is mainly due to how difficult it is for the dentist to access the molars. It is much easier to work on front teeth, which makes root canal procedures much easier, therefore less expensive.

Premolar or bicuspid teeth are between your front teeth and molars. Obviously, they will be less pricey than molars, but a bit more expensive than front teeth.

Lastly, molar root canals are the priciest, as it’s not only harder to reach these teeth due to their positioning but it’s also quite time-consuming to perform the treatment.

In general, one can expect to pay between $700 and $2,100 for root canals. For front teeth, you will pay from $600 to $900, whereas for bicuspid teeth you pay between $700 and $1,000. Root canals for molar teeth can range from $1,000 to $1,400.

Root Canal Cost Breakdown

There are different factors that affect the overall cost of a root canal. These are:

  • Whether you are getting your first root canal or you’re there for a retreatment
  • Whether you are going to a new dentist or your regular one
  • Where the tooth is located
  • Your geographical location
  • Whether a crown is necessary
  • Whether the root canal is scheduled or an emergency
  • Whether you can use your insurance to pay for the procedure

But what exactly do you pay for when getting a root canal? The root canal cost typically includes a few things, such as:

  • Dentist visits
  • Anesthetic fees
  • X-rays and different imaging
  • The treatment or procedure of the root

Keep in mind that sometimes, your consultation will not be included in the final price, and you will have to pay for it separately. Moreover, the filling or crown might not be included in the price either.

If you are getting a root canal in a molar, your specialist may recommend the crown to ensure the tooth stays safe and healthy. Crowns can be expensive too, with prices sitting at $1,300 on average.

But as crowns can be made from different materials, this will also influence the price. They can be made from porcelain fused with metal, zirconia, ceramic, or metal.

Pros and Cons of a Root Canal

Should you get a root canal? Given the high costs of these procedures and your potential fear of pain, you may be hesitant to get the treatment. Root canals can save a tooth from being lost forever, and while there are many benefits, there are also drawbacks.

Here are some pros and cons of root canals procedures:

Pros

  • It can get rid of your toothache, swelling, as well as heat or cold sensitivity
  • It might be less painful than a tooth extraction
  • It helps preserve your natural tooth as much as possible
  • It is less expensive, time-consuming, and risky than an extraction

Cons

  • You might have to take antibiotics after the treatment to prevent the infection from spreading any further
  • You may have to go to the dentist for 2-3 visits of around 90 minutes each
  • It may cause tooth discoloration
  • It may lead to tooth nerve damage, infections, fracture, or loss

Does Dental Insurance Cover Root Canals?

Dental insurance can cover root canals, but it depends on the case. After meeting the deductible, your insurance policy can take care of 50% – 80% of the cost of the procedure. However, the insurance company may pay less for a crown.

Other insurers want you to meet specific requirements to qualify for root canal coverage. For instance, your tooth’s structure must be destroyed and require a crown to be eligible for coverage.

There are Medicare Advantage plans that may cover some dental procedures, including root canals. However, Traditional Medicare typically does not cover dental treatments.

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Final Thoughts

The root canal cost will be different for each person and vary based on several factors. In some cases, you can use your insurance to pay for the procedure partially. Either way, root canals can be pricey, especially if a molar is affected.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.