What Determines The Cost Of A Root Canal?

What are the factors that come into account when the root canal cost of treatment is considered? There are those reasons why all such procedures are more expensive than routine dental work. There are also reasons why some cost more than others:


Root Canal Cost: General Factors

In general, root canal treatment (RCT or endodontics) usually costs more than many other dental treatments as it:

  • Is quite time-consuming.
  • Involves the use of expensive equipment.
  • Demands a high level of skill and training from the dentist. If you need to see a specialist (endodontist), they will command a higher fee.


What affects the cost of root canal treatment?

Specific Factors

How much a specific RCT will cost will depend on a host of factors. These include:

  • Where it is needed. Endodontics on a front tooth will generally be more straightforward than for a molar. This is because RCT on at the front usually involves treating one easy-to-access canal. Molar teeth are harder to get access to and have multiple roots and therefore take more time to complete. This obviously leads to a higher fee.
  • The number of canals involved.  RCT on a front tooth generally means cleaning and filling a single straight(-ish) canal. A molar on the other hand can involve up to four tight and difficult canals! The dentist will then need to locate each canal and clean out the damaged pulp inside. This is a time-consuming task. More canals = more time to complete = higher price.
  • Number of visits needed. RCT is carried out over one or more visits. The number of visits required will depend on the difficulty of the case.  A simple procedure may be completed in half an hour. A complicated RCT can take several hours to complete over a number of visits.
  • How badly infected the tooth is before treatment. One that is badly infected or has been left untreated may require more treatment than one that has nerve damage but has not been infected.


Treatment Needed Afterwards

The cost may not end with the root canal treatment itself.  The remaining tooth will often be weak as a result of:

  1. The original damage (e.g. decay) which necessitated the work in the first place and…
  2. The process involved to access the pulp. In order to access the root canals, some of the tooth structure needs to be removed. This is an unavoidable aspect, but one that can weaken the remaining enamel and dentine further.

The tooth will therefore need to be reinforced by placement of a filling or often a crown. A crown may also need a post under it to provide adequate anchorage.

If the tooth is not strengthened sufficiently, it may fracture and this may eventually result its loss. Thus the overall expenditure, to restore the damaged tooth, must factor in the cavity filling or crown cost.

If the tooth is dark, but does not need to be crowned, there are techniques available to whiten it after root canal.

The notes above all refer to the charges that your dentist will make. They do not factor in any dental insurance plans you may have. Any root canal cost without insurance will of course be higher. How much you will save via your dental cover will depend on the specifics of your plan. Speak to the insurance providers to make sure you are covered.


Return to our main page on root canal treatment here.

You may wish to see on page on RCT vs extraction, which can help explain that extraction (and then a bridge or denture) may not necessarily be cheaper…

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