Father holding his infant daughter as they wash the dishes

What Root Canals Cost And Why The Cost Varies

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

If you've had tooth pain, you know it can make your wallet hurt too. Emergency dental care is expensive, which is why it's recommended you keep regular oral check-ups at least twice per year to head off any potential problems. If, however, your sore tooth requires a root canal to fix, don't suffer sticker shock. Understand how much root canals cost and why that cost may vary based on a few factors. Here's the general rundown for root canals and what they'll ultimately cost you.

Location, Location, Location

The actual amount dental professionals charge for a root canal may vary significantly. One of the main factors is the location of the tooth that needs to be repaired. If your cavity is on one of your front teeth, it will generally cost less. That's because front teeth only have one root. Molars can have up to three. More than one root means more work for your dentist and, ultimately, a higher cost.

Your geographic location also plays a role in root canal treatment costs. Certain markets have higher dental care-related prices than others, so it's important to see what your insurance provider offers when it comes to root canal procedures.

Sooner Rather Than Later

Another factor in the cost of root canals is how severe the cavity is and what needs to be done to repair the infected tooth. If you visited the dentist as soon as you noticed sensitivity, the infection probably wouldn't be as extensive. If, however, you waited before making an appointment, the infection may become more severe. What could have been an easy fix with a filling might now need a crown, which can tack on more dollars to your final bill. If your tooth is so severe that it requires extraction, it's the highest cost of all—not only will you pay for the extraction, but the repair and an implant or bridge as well.

Retreatment for Past Root Canals

Finally, if you have an infection in a tooth that already has a root canal, the procedure becomes a little more extensive. While your dentist will still need to drill to access the infected areas, you'll likely require a crown, even if you only had a filling before. This might be why your bill is higher, even if it's the same tooth you've had troubles with before. To avoid this situation, adopt oral hygiene habits and brush with fluoride toothpaste that cleans teeth thoroughly and helps protect teeth against cavities.

Talk to a dental professional if you don't have dental insurance and you're worried about the root canal cost. They may be able to extend a special discount if you pay upfront or offer a payment plan to help ease some of the pain when it comes time to pay your bill. In the end, any ethical dental professional would much rather you make an appointment and seek treatment, no matter the cost. That's because while it may seem expensive, root canals cost more the longer you wait. Let your dentist know your worries ahead of time, and you can likely work out a solution for payment and get the root canal you need.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

paper airplane

Want more tips and offers sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up now

Mobile Top Image
Was this article helpful?

Thank you for submitting your feedback!

If you’d like a response, Contact Us.

Mobile Bottom Image