Root canal treatment, also known as the endodontic therapy, is a dental treatment which removes infection inside a tooth. But people often avoid it in fear of hurting their wallet.
But do you know that if you avoid root canal treatment, then it can damage your bank balance even more? Yes, if you wait longer, then the infection might get worse and will increase the treatment cost.
Root canal cost varies depending on the type and location of the tooth to be treated, amount of repair, retreatment, etc. Also, the region in which you live in can be one of the deciding factors of the cost involved in the root canal treatment.
Let’s move ahead in this article to understand the complete aspect of root canal treatment from the cost perspective.
What is root canal treatment?
A root canal is the dental procedure attempted to save the rotten or infectious tooth. This is the conservative treatment aid which saves your tooth from the extraction.
The pulp is the vital tissue of a tooth which lies in its center. Enamel and dentine layers protect the pulp tissue. Pulp tissue contains blood vessels and nerves.
It nourishes the tooth through its blood supply and renders the vitality to tooth through its nerve supply. If a dental infection, such as tooth decay, dental abscess, etc., is left untreated, then bacteria from the infection might travel to pulp tissue.
Infection damages pulp which can further trigger the nerve response and initiates pain. A root canal is a pain relieving treatment which relieves pain by removing the nerves from the pulp tissue of the tooth.
The empty root canal, after the removal of pulp, is then filled with biocompatible and non-resorbable material which is also called gutta-percha (1).
Gutta-percha seals the canal and prevents it from further infection. The tooth, after the root canal treatment, is protected with a crown if the decay is large.
In this way, the root canal treatment helps us to save the tooth and maintain the aesthetic and functionality of the tooth.
Root canal cost
Based on Fair Health Consumer, root canal cost varies between $700 to $1200. But to your surprise, it is still cheaper than having a tooth removed and replaced with crown, bridge or implant.
- Front tooth: $762
- Bicuspid: $879
- Molar : $1,111
Above cost is just a number based on location and type of treatment required. But it can give you a good idea about the expense you need for the root canal treatment.
However, like any other medical treatment, the complication may arise during the treatment and may increase the final treatment cost.
Some tooth may have bifurcated root canals, crack due to trauma, unusual number or counters of canals, and this is not easily detectable before treatment.
But teeth with such complications are difficult to treat and increases the cost of the treatment in the end.
Why the cost varies?
The cost for root canal varies due to following factors –
1. Type of the tooth to be treated
Type of the tooth to be repaired decides the cost of a root canal. Depending upon the structural variation, the teeth in the oral cavity categorized into incisors, cuspids, bicuspids, and molar.
Usually, the incisor, cupids, and bicuspids have one root canal. Whereas, molars have two or even three root canals (2). So, as the number of root canal increases, the number of canals to be repaired also increases, making the price go up. (3)
Hence, the root canal of the front teeth demands less money than the posterior teeth.
2. Amount of repair
People often ignore or delay the treatment since they try to avoid the cost involved. But, over the time, it may land you in more expense. The cost of a root canal depends on the amount of tooth repair.
Over time, the tooth decay progresses and may cause more structural damage to your tooth. So, the tooth which could have been saved only by a root canal and filling now might require a crown post root canal.
Crown enables the restoration to stay at its place and replaces the lost tooth structure. The cost of the root canal with the crown is higher than the root canal with filling.
Hence, do not ignore the tooth’s initial damage and get your tooth treated at the earlier stage of decay to avoid more expenses.
3. Your location or region
The region in which you stay also determines the cost of your dental treatment. For instance, if you live in the coastal area, then the price is higher than the average national cost for the procedure.
4. Need for retreatment
When you fail to take the proper care of your oral health, the infection may reoccur in the same tooth which has been treated for a root canal in the past.
Treating the re-infected canals can cost you more. The dentist needs to drill for the access, remove the previously filled material and infection, and refill the canal. In totality, the procedure is time-consuming and more expensive. (4)
If you are really serious about saving money then there is nothing better than preventive measures. Preventive measure maintains the oral health and can save you from the costly dental affairs such as root canal, tooth extraction, etc.
Here are some prevention you should take to minimize the risk of oral illness –
- Brush teeth in the morning and before bedtime.
- Floss teeth every day.
- Use of fluoridated products such as fluoride-containing toothpaste and mouthwash.
- Avoid sugary dairy and candies.
- Follow a healthy diet.
- Attend regular dental check-ups.
If you are advised to have a root canal for your teeth, then do not worry much about the expense. Firstly, know that root canal expense is anyway cheaper than the tooth removal and replacing it with bridge or implant.
If the infection is left untreated, then the root canal infection has the highest chances of spreading to the face and neck region.
Also, go for dental insurance if you want to save money at the end of the treatment. Dental insurance approximately covers 50% to 90% of your total treatment cost.
If you do not have the dental insurance, talk with your dentist as he or she might help you with the individual discount plan.