Getting a root canal isn’t fun, and paying a lot of money for it out of pocket isn’t fun either. How much is a root canal with insurance? The cost of a root canal typically depends on the location of the tooth, your plan coverage, state, among other factor and can vary from an average cost of $762 for a front tooth, $879 for a premolar, and $1,111 for a molar¹. Dental insurance can help lower the out of pocket cost that you need to pay for a root canal take away some of the sting of having to get a root canal.
If an infection in a tooth or decay threatens to compromise a tooth, a root canal treatment may be the next course of action. However, many patients struggle with the fear of what a procedure like this might feel like and what a root canal could cost. Root canals have a reputation for being painful, but in many cases, people may not feel pain during the procedure because of the anesthetic that the dentist uses. You may also want to talk about sedation dentistry with your dentist. People who have an extreme fear of dental work or experience severe anxiety when it comes to getting dental work done often find that sedation dentistry makes it easier for them to get the dental treatment they need.
The pain that comes with the cost of a root canal is something very different. Having dental insurance that covers a portion of the cost of a root canal can make it a lot less financially painful to get that root canal that you need. Paying out of pocket for a root canal can be quite expensive, especially if you have multiple broken or cracked teeth that need a root canal.
What is a root canal?
Root canal treatment is a procedure where a dentist or a dental specialist called an endodontist operates on the tooth’s nerve or pulp. The process involves more than one appointment and follow-ups. General dentists can perform root canals, but if your tooth is broken off completely or has some other special circumstance than you may need to have an endodontist do the root canal to make sure that your tooth is able to be saved.
After an opening in the crown of the tooth is made, the nerve or pulp is removed. Then, the inside is often filled with a rubber-like material to seal it before a temporary filling is added. Depending on the severity of the infection, medicine may also be administered at this stage to remove bacteria and prevent it from spreading.
The next part of the treatment typically involves the endodontist or a general dentist removing the temporary filling. Then, they put a crown or filling on the tooth to restore and strengthen it².
A tooth restored with a root canal treatment can last many years. However, like with other procedures, it is important to keep the treated tooth clean and have regular checkups to ensure the tooth is still healthy.
Before root canal procedures were a common practice, dentists would pull a tooth if an infection was present and not replace it with an artificial one. Practices like this are likely why many people have anxiety about dentist appointments. Today, however, a root canal treatment often helps saves the tooth rather than risk it being pulled.
If someone experiences infection at the tooth root or pulp, or the area is inflamed, a root canal can often be the solution. However, if left untreated, the infection can spread. In addition to losing a tooth, the patient can even damage the bone connecting the tooth to the jaw, which is why removing a tooth is no longer a common practice³.
Some problems that might result from losing a tooth that is then not replaced may include:
Difficulty chewing or biting
Teeth may shift around
Gum disease may develop if the area is not cleaned properly
Pain or swelling may increase if they are not already present
A root canal can help save your natural tooth. Even though implants and bridges can be used to replace missing teeth keeping your natural teeth is always the best option for your health. Although dentures, bridges, and implants may be options for patients who lose a tooth, they will not fully replace its functionality. They may help keep teeth from shifting, but chewing and biting will not be the same⁴.
Root canals are an effective way to help save teeth that have become damaged or infected. While the infection and swelling in the moment may hurt, a tooth extraction can hurt more. A root canal treatment typically prevents you from enduring a tooth extraction.
What is the average cost of a root canal without insurance?
Paying for a root canal without any dental insurance can be very expensive. How much is a root canal without insurance? According to recent data the average cost of a root canal for a front tooth was around $1100 out of pocket. The cost of a root canal for a back tooth was about the same at around $950⁵. The cost of a root canal without insurance will vary though based on many factors such like where you live and the condition of your teeth. A general dentist can perform a root canal usually, but if you need to see a specialist because of your particular situation that will typically increase the price of the root canal.
Dental insurance may help lower the out of pocket costs that you will pay for a root canal and often dental insurance will help cover the extras that you need with a root canal like x-rays or diagnostics. Without dental insurance you will need to pay for the costs of office visits, X-rays, and diagnostics out of pocket in addition to the root canal and the cost of a crown if you need one.
Root canal cost with insurance is often more affordable than the out of pocket costs that you will typically pay for a root canal without insurance. If you have concerns about your current dental insurance coverage for procedures like a root canal treatment, it is important to review your policy. When looking it over, find out if there is a waiting period following your coverage start date, what the deductibles are, and the maximum amount covered. Dental insurance with no waiting period for a root canal can help you from having to spend time in pain waiting until your insurance kicks in to cover a portion of the cost of the root canal.
With Guardian Direct® Dental Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, savings of 35% off dentists’ typical charges is possible for in-network services. With a procedure like a root canal treatment, that savings can be useful. Plus, Guardian Direct®️ PPO plans provide access to cleanings, x-rays, and exams from the time your coverage* starts, so there are no waiting periods for preventive care.
The purpose of insurance is not to look for it when the worst happens, but have coverage in case it does. A root canal cost without insurance is something that many people would have trouble paying for. If a root canal treatment could be in your future, then planning for it now will save you a lot of hassle later. Plans like those from Guardian Direct® can help.
Can a cracked tooth be saved after a root canal & Insights
A cracked tooth can happen to anyone. Sometimes a tooth is cracked as a result of an injury or impact, like being in a car accident or getting hit in the face with a ball. Or you may have a tooth crack because of tooth decay that has weakened the tooth. But no matter what the cause it your cracked tooth can sometimes be saved by a root canal. If your tooth is so cracked that the root of the tooth is exposed a root canal can eliminate the pain and save the tooth⁶.
Guardian Direct® is committed to helping you learn more about common dental procedures, how you can keep your teeth healthy, and how dental insurance can help make regular dental care affordable. We have created a large library filled with articles and information to help you be proactive and take care of your teeth throughout your life.
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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.(exp.11/23)