How much does root canal treatment cost?

Root canal treatment is scary as it is, and the prices quoted on the subject can spook you even more. An RCT can cost up to $2,100. This doesn’t include additional procedures, which might turn out to be necessary.

So what is it that determines the price in the end?

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Root canal cost

The biggest factor that regulates the price for a root canal treatment is the category of the tooth involved. This could be a front one, a bicuspid, or a molar. The further back the tooth the more complicated the procedure.

The number of canals is also important. If there are more canals to treat the cost will be higher too.

First root canal treatmentAverage costCost range
Anterior tooth$1,000$700-$1,700
Bicuspid tooth$1,100$800-$1,800
Molar tooth$1,300$850-$2,100

What’s more, it may happen that the initial treatment fails. If this does happen, you will be looking at additional, higher costs.

Root canal retreatmentAverage costCost range
Anterior tooth$1,200$750-$1,900
Bicuspid tooth$1,350$850-$2,100
Molar tooth$1,550$950-$2,400

Have a look at the calculator below. You can change the options around, add or remove procedures, and see how the price changes.

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First root canal treatment

The average price for the first root canal treatment ranges from $1,000 up to $1,300 across the US, depending on the tooth being treated.

The bill for a root canal treatment goes towards:

  • removing bacteria,
  • removing damaged or dead nerve tissue, and
  • preventing reinfection.

Pain, a crack, or a deep cavity might all be indications for this procedure. Saving the natural tooth can prevent further, higher costs. Extracting it and paying for a replacement in the form of a bridge, denture or implant is a lot more expensive.

Nonetheless, you can still expect the additional cost of a filling or crown to seal the tooth.

Root canal retreatment

The average prices for root canal retreatment start at $1,200 and top off at $1,550 across the US. The cost is usually higher for teeth in the back of the mouth.

This procedure is indicated for patients for whom the initial root canal treatment has failed (an infection has developed post-procedure). The problem might appear on an X-ray, an additional cost you have to consider if you feel pain. The symptoms, however, might not be the same as before.

Dr. Jack Lawrence
Retreatments are usually done by the endodontist. If they are redone by a regular dentist the price is most often the same or a little higher than the initial procedure.

Your dentist will also charge for repeating the procedure and re-sealing the tooth. If this is not possible, or if it fails once more, surgical intervention (e.g. apicoectomy) might have to take place.

In the worst-case scenario, the tooth will be extracted. This would probably be included in the cost.

Incomplete root canal therapy

Incomplete root canal therapy costs $500 on average. The prices range from $250 up to $850.

Some treatments are unsuccessful. If the pain is not decreasing the dentist might suspect a vertical fracture or calcification of the canal. In such an event the treatment cannot be completed and you will be charged for the time spent by the dental professional only.

This visit would typically end with a temporary filling. Many offices don’t bill separately for this, but it is a possibility. Moreover, you can expect a fee for extraction of the tooth or a referral to an endodontist if the RCT were to fail.

Associated costs

ProcedureAverage costCost range
Dental exam$100$50-$200
Periapical X-ray$35$25-$50
Panoramic X-ray$130$100-$250
Cone-beam CT$350$150-$750
Apicoectomy$1,150$600-$2,100
Root canal obstruction treatment$350$150-$900
Internal root repair$300$200-$850
Laughing gas$90$40-$150
Non-intravenous conscious sedation$250$75-$500
Protective restoration$150$90-$250
Dental crown$1,250$200-$2,500

There are many procedures related to root canal treatment. Your dentist will decide which are needed in your case.

Dental exam

You are likely to pay for an oral evaluation before your root canal visit. The dentist will assess whether you need a root canal treatment and whether you are a good candidate. He or she may perform cold testing, hot testing and electric pulp testing of the teeth, which could be an additional cost, too. This will determine whether the tooth is living or dead.

If the canal is obliterated (calcified) or very curved you might need to have an RCT under a microscope. This is almost always done by an endodontist, which drives up the cost.

During dental exams, you should report any symptoms you are experiencing, as this will help diagnose the problem. The steps involved in the root canal procedure will also be explained to you.

Dental X-rays

As mentioned above, a dental X-ray is a cost you often have to take into account before (and sometimes after) a root canal treatment. They help perform the procedure safely by showing the dental professional the extent of the infection as well as inner structures of the tooth, such as canal length.

The types of X-rays you can expect are:

  • periapical X-ray,
  • panoramic X-ray, and
  • cone-beam CT.

Apicoectomy

This is a minor surgical procedure during which the tip of the tooth’s root is removed. This is done only if an infection leading to an abscess develops in this area. It is performed as a last resort.

It should be done as soon as possible, so you might have it the same day as your RCT. Once you have an apicoectomy you cannot have root canal retreatment on this tooth again. An RCT always takes place beforeprior to an apicoectomy, though.

The only alternative is extraction. By removing the tip, however, the natural tooth can be saved. This procedure is usually carried out by an endodontist.

Similarly to RCT, the cost is related to the position of the tooth. A molar will be the most expensive.

Root canal obstruction treatment

Sometimes access to the root is difficult. This could be due to pulpal stones (calcification inside the pulp chamber) or canal strictures (the shape of the canal does not permit access). This would be basis for a referral to an endodontist.

In order to reach the problem area, a pathway has to be formed. The endodontist will use a special drill and a microscope.

This procedure usually takes a long time; an additional fee might be charged accordingly. Nonetheless, this situation is rare.

Internal root repair

If the integrity of the tooth was broken in an unnatural way (i.e. perforation defect) internal root repair might be needed. The endodontist will need to reach the problem area and disinfect it.

A very expensive paste containing calcium hydroxide will be placed on the perforation site. This area often bleeds heavily, and this will have to be contained as well.

This procedure, including the healing period, is very time-consuming. X-rays will have to be performed to confirm that you are recovering properly. You will have to return once more for root canal retreatment.

Anesthesia

Local anesthesia is most commonly used for RCT. This may be a simple injection included in the price of the treatment. If the patient is very anxious nitrous oxide (a laughing gas) might be used

As regards the laughing gas it will usually cost just under $100. It is cheaper than non-intravenous conscious sedation, which might come out to about $250.

Conscious sedation means that you will be able to follow instructions, but most likely will not remember the procedure. IV sedation might be offered for extreme cases.

Protective restoration

The tooth needs to be secured after the treatment to prevent damage. Most often a temporary filling is inserted until a permanent crown is fitted. Sometimes a post is placed and the core is built up before a crown can be fashioned. Those will be charged separately.

You might be charged for the filling independently as well. A full crown will be more expensive and the final decision whether to fit one will be made by the dentist. Sometimes a crown is the only possibility, especially with molar teeth.

Dental crown

You will probably be fitted with a temporary crown while the permanent one is being made.

Those can be divided into relatively cheap and staggeringly expensive options. Some choose to have a filling permanently, as it is a lot cheaper. This is not always possible, for example in the case of molars.

The material and expertise of the dentist are the most important in determining the cost of the crown. By following this link you can find a separate calculator, similar to the one above, that is dedicated to estimating crown prices.

Does insurance cover root canal treatment?

Some of the costs related to root canal treatment may be covered. A portion of the price for the dental visit may be covered (up to 80%). Since those procedures are expensive, however, they can take up a lot of your insurance credit.

This means that the yearly cap (usually around $1,000) can be reached quite quickly. In the event that this happens early on in the year, your provider won’t cover any other procedures.

Here is what it comes down to as regards these three popular plans:

FeaturesDental Blue for Individuals: Core PlanCigna Dental 1000Renaissance Dental: MAX Choice Plus Plan
Fee per person per month$35.95 (if you’re under 65)$30 or more$89.49
Root canal therapy50% (50% coinsurance)50% (50% coinsurance)20% (80% coinsurance)**
Deductible$75$50$50
Waiting period12 months12 months*No waiting period
In-network dentistsQuotes provided for in-network dentistsQuotes provided for in-network dentistsQuotes provided for in-network dentists
Yearly cap$1,000$1,000$1,000**

*If you’ve not had dental insurance for the past 12 consecutive months. Waiting periods are waived at Cigna if you’ve had valid dental insurance for a year.
**First year.

Read on to find out how to save money on root canal treatment without insurance.

How to save money on root canal therapy?

The best dental discount plans can help you save up to 60% on all dental procedures. There are no yearly caps or paperwork to worry about. They work kind of like a membership and are compatible with insurance.

If you want to go to a dental school you can rest assured that it’s completely safe. Students are monitored by licensed professionals. The only downside is that it may take a bit longer. Each step has to be graded.

Dental tourism is popular among Americans, as prices on the other side of the border tend to be considerably cheaper. You will have to take into account the costs of travel and accommodation, though.

And if the treatment were to fail (which does occasionally happen, unfortunately), you will have to return to that country to fix it.

What are your thoughts?

Root canal treatment is demonized in films and on the internet. But it doesn’t have to be so scary! And it’s nowhere near as risky as presented.

Have you ever had this treatment? Are you satisfied with the results? Let us know in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: The total cost of root canal treatments depends on numerous factors. These include the location, the experience of the person performing the procedures, and the materials used. The costs vary from state to state, from office to office, and even from dentist to dentist working in the same office. These prices show the average expenses involved without insurance or dental plans. We did our best to compile and take into account values from many sources, but the final decision as to which procedures must be performed and how much to charge for them is always ultimately made by the dentist. We give no guarantee that the prices you find here are the prices your dentist will quote.

4 thoughts on “How much does root canal treatment cost?”

  1. Hey! This is a fantastic and informative post. I’m actually a copywriter trying to find a way to flesh out 800 words on the cost of endo for a client, and you’ve provided some brilliant info here. Hopefully someone who actually needs RCT takes the time to read it – it’ll really help them, I should think.

  2. It truly bothers me that healthcare insurance does not include dental services, most especially since the mouth is an indicator of our entire anatomy. Yeast/Candida an issue? If you find it in your mouth, chances are it’s in your system and prone to spread of diseases as time goes on. Plaque? Arteries and the heart can become plagued with plaque. The mouth and skin are our top lines of defense.

    Thank you for this informative article. Sure wish the powers that be had more good sense than the “common” sense they are praised for having.

  3. Those of us with cardiac problems can find ourselves in acute trouble because of a lack of dental treatment. Medicare and the insurance companies are ignoring this and are sentencing the elderly and the young with dental problems to an early disability or grave.

  4. Hey.
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