How Dental Insurance Can Help Reduce the Cost of 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.
Learn more about what a root canal costs, what it is, when you might need it, and what steps to take to make sure your dental insurance can cover it.
What is a Root Canal?
Root canal treatment is a procedure where a dental specialist called an endodontist operates on the tooth’s nerve or pulp.1 The process involves more than one appointment and follow ups.
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 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 it.2
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.
History and Importance of Root Canal Treatments
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 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 practice.3
Some problems that might result from losing a tooth that is then not replaced 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
How a Root Canal Can Help Your Dental Health
A root canal can help your dental health because it saves your natural tooth. While the infection and swelling in the moment may hurt, a tooth extraction can hurt more. A root canal treatment prevents you from enduring a tooth extraction.
Although dentures, bridges, and implants may be options for patients who lose a tooth, they will not fully replace its functionality. They may keep teeth from shifting, but chewing and biting will not be the same.4
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What Does a Root Canal Cost?
The cost of a root canal can depend on the location of the tooth, from $762 for a front tooth, $879 for a premolar, and $1,111 for a molar.5
How Dental Insurance Helps with the Cost of a Root Canal
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.
With Guardian Dental Advantage Gold, Silver, and Bronze 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.
Guardian Managed DentalGuard plans are Dental Health Maintenance Organization plans available in some areas. Guardian Managed DentalGuard plans have benefits like no waiting periods, no deductibles, and no maximum dollar payout for each benefit year. If you have access to both PPO and DHMO plans, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of PPO versus DHMO plans before deciding which works best for you.
The purpose of insurance is not to look for it when the worst happens, but have coverage in case it does. 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.
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. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed reliable, please note that individual situations can vary, therefore the information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.
Guardian Direct plans are underwritten and issued by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America or its subsidiaries, New York, NY. Products are not available in all states. Policy limitations and exclusions apply. In the event of a conflict between this document and the language stated in your Guardian insurance policy, the language of the policy shall control.
1. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/r/root-canals (Last accessed 2019)
2. https://www.aae.org/patients/root-canal-treatment/ (Last accessed 2019)
3. https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/ADA_PatientSmart_Root_Canal.pdf?la=en (Last accessed 2019)
4. http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/ADA_PatientSmart_Tooth_Replacement.ashx (Last accessed 2019)
5. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/procedures/root-canals/what-root-canals-cost-why-cost-varies-0217 (Last accessed 2019)
Individual dental insurance products are underwritten by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, New York or by one of its wholly owned subsidiaries. Products are not available in all states. Policy limitations and exclusions apply. The actual limitations and exclusions that apply to your Dental Plan are governed by the policy forms approved for use in your state. Please refer to your policy for a complete list of limitations and exclusions. In the event of a conflict between this document and the language stated in your Guardian insurance policy, the language of the policy shall control. This policy provides DENTAL insurance only.
Dental provider networks vary by state, by market and by plan type
Rates are guaranteed for one year for your policy of benefits initially selected. Policies renew annually.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT GUARDIAN’S DENTALGUARD INDEMNITY AND DENTALGUARD PREFERRED PPO PLANS
Dental PPO plans provide in-network and out-of-network benefits. Use of an in-network provider may result in reduce out of pocket costs.
Coverage is limited to those charges that are necessary to prevent, diagnose or treat dental disease, defect, or injury. Deductibles apply. Waiting periods may also apply for some services
Individual dental plans do not pay for: oral hygiene services (except as covered under preventive services), orthodontia (unless expressly provided for), cosmetic or experimental treatments, any treatment to the extent benefits are payable by any other payor or for which no charge is made, prosthetic devices unless certain conditions are met, and services ancillary to surgical treatment.
Individual dental plans limit benefits for diagnostic consultations and for preventive, restorative, endodontic, periodontic and prosthodontic services.
Listed services, exclusions and limitations do not constitute a contract and are a summary only.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING DENTAL HMO BENEFITS
Dental HMOs provide Pre-Paid dental benefits through a network of participating general dentists and specialty care dentists. All covered services must be provided by the member’s Primary Care Dentist. Specialty care services are covered only when referred by the member’s Primary Care Dentist and approved in advance by the Dental DHMO.
Only those services listed in the Dental HMO plan are covered. Certain services are subject to annual or other periodic limitations. Where orthodontic benefits are specifically included, your policy provides for one course of comprehensive treatment per lifetime, per member. Dental HMOs do not provide orthodontic benefits if comprehensive orthodontic treatment or retention is in progress as of the member’s effective date. Listed services, exclusions and limitations do not constitute a contract and are a summary only.
Products Underwritten by Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
DENTAL PPO PLANS Policy Form IP-DEN-16 ET. AL.
DENTAL HMO PLANS
FLORIDA Policy Form IP-1-MDG-DHMO-FL-OFF-17
NEW YORK Policy Form IP-MDG-NY-FP-OFF-17
Products Underwritten by Managed Dental Guard, Inc.
DENTAL HMO PLANS
TEXAS Policy: IP-1-MDG-DHMO-TX-17
Products Underwritten by First Commonwealth Inc. through its Illinois subsidiaries*
DENTAL HMO PLANS
ILLINOIS Policy: IP-FCW-DHMO-IL-17
*First Commonwealth Insurance Company — (IL), First Commonwealth Limited Health Services Corporation — (IL), First Commonwealth of Illinois, Inc.
Information on the approved state and product specific online enrollment form numbers can be viewed here: Online Enrollment Form Numbers
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