When you start to experience a toothache, one of the causes could be that infection has penetrated the soft center of the tooth, and you will need to visit your dentist to have it removed. This technique is known as a root canal.
There is no need to fear as your dentist will administer a numbing agent, so you should not feel any pain.
It is a straightforward process, and there is no recovery period; you have to wait for the anesthetic to wear off before resuming your day, but many people find themselves asking, how much is a root canal?
To find out about the cost of this procedure, if insurance covers it, and alternative, more affordable solutions, continue reading.
When do you need a Root Canal?
As mentioned above, your dentist will remove the pulp when it is infected. However, this is not the only cause that requires a root canal; other reasons include:
- Tooth decay was left untreated and infected the cavity.
- Trauma that has damaged the pulp, your tooth can still be intact while the pulp is injured.
- Chips or cracks in the tooth
- Previous dental procedures on a single tooth
Symptoms can include:
- Swollen gums
- Tender gums
- Continuous pain
- Tooth discoloration
- Tooth mobility
Many of these symptoms can result from other dental conditions, so it is best to have your dentist do a thorough examination to determine the problem.
What is the Cost of a Root Canal?
Dental care is costly, so do yourself a favor a take good care of your teeth. Ensure to see your dentist at least once every six months to treat any problems that could potentially lead to more invasive procedures.
When it comes down to how much a root canal costs, the answer is not so simple. The price varies due to a few factors explained below:
The Location of the Tooth
Two locations affect the prices of a root canal, your geographical location and the tooth needing the procedure.
Interestingly, dental costs seem to be more affordable in bigger cities as the dental groups need to offer competitive prices to compete with each other.
When it comes to the location of the affected tooth, prices will be more affordable on the front teeth due to them only having one root. Unfortunately, the molars will cost more as they can have up to three roots, taking more work to treat.
The average cost for a root canal for front teeth is between $650 – $800; premolars can cost $800-$950, and molars typically cost $1,050 – $1,200.
Another interesting fact is that root canals performed in coastal towns are more expensive than the national average. Therefore, it might be beneficial for those residents to travel inland for their procedure.
Treat it Early
Another price determining factor is the severity of the damage or infection in the cavity and the process that your dentist needs to take to repair your tooth.
That’s why it’s essential to catch and treat the infection as quickly as possible; if you feel even the slightest sensitivity in your tooth, hurry up and make an appointment with your trusted dentist. The sooner, the better; if caught early, you may only need to have a filling and can avoid the hefty price tag of a root canal.
However, if you wait and the infection causes your tooth to deteriorate, the root canal procedure will be more challenging, and you will need to have a crown placed, which will rack up the costs.
Sometimes your tooth is too far gone, and your dentist won’t be able to save it. Unfortunately, that would mean that the only answer would be extraction. If you can’t stand the thought of a missing tooth, you can have a bridge or implant placed. However, these options are costly.
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Treating Teeth that have had Previous Root Canals Performed
Most people don’t know this, but a tooth that has previously had a root canal can still get infected. Since the first procedure weakened the tooth, your dentist will need extreme caution when drilling into the tooth and removing the infection.
Once done, your dentist will need to place a crown over the tooth, even if it only had a filling. That will cost you much money, which you could have avoided.
To prevent retreatment, practice good oral hygiene by brushing for two minutes twice a day using toothpaste high in fluoride. The fluoride will strengthen your enamel and top up the natural calcium.
How Much Is A Root Canal Cost with Dental Insurance?
Always check with your insurer whether they cover the cost of a root canal, as plans differ, and some will only cover a portion of the price; others won’t cover the procedure at all.
Averages costs of a root canal that are covered by insurance is as follows:
|Front Tooth||$200 – $1,100|
|Premolars||$200 – $1,200|
What is the Cost of a Root Canal without Insurance?
Without insurance, you will pay a pretty penny for this procedure, and the prices are as follows:
|Front Tooth||$700 – $1,100|
|Premolars||$800 – $1,200|
If you cannot afford this procedure, there are ways to pay for it. First, have a look at discount dental plans. You pay an annual or monthly membership fee in exchange for discounted prices on most dental procedures.
Another alternative is to ask your trusted dentist if they offer any discounts if you pay cash upfront or if they offer a payment plan where you can pay off the procedure in monthly installments.
What is the Duration of a Root Canal?
To understand the time constraints of a root canal, you need to know about the procedure itself. Once your specialist has determined whether or not you need a root canal, they will administer a numbing agent.
Next, your specialist will drill a tiny hole in the top of your tooth and remove the pulp from the cavities chambers and canals.
The agent used to clean the canals is usually sodium hypochlorite or an alternative disinfecting solution. Once cleaned, your dentist will use a series of files to increase the cavity’s diameter, ensuring that they remove all the infected areas and space for the filling.
During the procedure, your dentist will take x-rays to ensure that the files penetrate the root and the canals are cleaned and shaped thoroughly.
Sometimes a root canal needs two appointments due to the severity of the infection. During the first appointment, your dentist will insert medication into the canals, which will aid in killing the harmful bacteria at the very ends of the roots, and place a temporary filling. Your specialist will then prescribe a course of antibiotics to fight the infection.
Generally, after a week, you will attend your second appointment. Your dentist will remove the temporary filling and any remaining infection, insert the permanent filling and seal up the tooth.
To help strengthen the tooth and prevent any damage or fractures, your dentist will recommend having a crown placed. You can do this immediately after the procedure or choose to have it done after a brief period.
Are there any Follow-Up Appointments After a Root Canal?
No, there are no follow-up appointments after a root canal if everything goes well. However, there are some factors you need to be made aware of.
After the procedure, you might feel some pain or discomfort once the numbing agent wears off. There might also be some swelling of the tissue around the affected tooth.
You can quickly treat the discomfort with over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol or Ibruprofen. However, if these drugs are not working, you need to call your dentist and ask for a prescription for something a little more substantial.
If this pain does not subside after seven days, something is wrong, and you should see your dentist as soon as possible.
There is no recovery period so that you can get back to your day-to-day activities immediately after the procedure. The only thing you have to take into consideration is the food you eat. Stay away from challenging or chewy foods such as candy, bubblegum, popcorn, and hard fruits and vegetables.
Aftercare, What you Need to Know
Because a root canal is considered a restorative procedure, it can last a lifetime if cared for properly. However, as mentioned above, if you do not practice good oral hygiene, the cavity can get infected again, and you could require more invasive treatment.
Though brushing and flossing are essential, you should visit your dentist once every six months to ensure there are no problems, and if there are, your dentist can treat them before they can cause any more damage.