If you have a toothache, you know that it can also hurt your wallet. Emergency dental care is expensive, so it is recommended that regular oral examinations be held at least twice a year to avoid potential problems. If, however, your sore tooth requires a root canal to repair it, do not be shocked on the sticker. Understand how much the root canals cost and why this cost can vary depending on a few factors. Here is the general summary of the root canals and what they will ultimately cost you.
Location, Location, Location
The actual amount charged by your dentist for a root canal can vary widely. Why the big price difference? According to the American Association of Endodontists, one of the main factors is actually the location of the tooth to be repaired. If your cavity is on one of your front teeth, it will cost less. This is because the front teeth have only one root. Molars can have up to three. More than one root means more work for your dentist and ultimately higher cost. NerdWallet estimates that national average costs for root canals are $762 for a front tooth, $879 for a premolar and $1,111 for a molar.
The region of the country in which you live can also determine the cost. If you live closer to the coast, expect a price higher than the national average, says NerdWallet.
Sooner Rather Than Later
Another factor in the cost of root canals is the severity of the cavity and what needs to be done to repair the infected tooth. If you visited the dentist as soon as you noticed a sensitivity, the infection will probably not be as widespread and it will be easier for the dentist to drill, access and fill the cavity. However, if you drag your feet and wait before making an appointment, the infection can become more serious. What could be easily repaired with a filling could actually require a crown, which can add more dollars to your final bill. If your tooth is so severe that it requires extraction, this is the highest cost of all; not only will you pay for the extraction, but also the repair and an implant or bridge.
Why Crowns Are Added
After performing root canal work, dentists apply permanent fillings to protect the treated teeth from bacteria and strengthen them in the process. For many root canal procedures, however, fitting the crowns to the filled teeth is necessary due to the high risk of fracture without the additional protective crowns. Another advantage of crowns is that they restore the natural appearance of your teeth.
Retreatment for Past Root Canals
Finally, if you have an infection in a tooth that has already had a root canal, the procedure becomes a little more extensive. Although your dentist will still need to drill to access the infected areas, you will likely need a crown, even if you have only had one filling before. This may be why your bill is higher, even if it is the same tooth with which you have had problems before. To avoid this situation, adopt oral hygiene habits and brush with a fluoride toothpaste that deeply cleans teeth and helps protect teeth against cavities, like Colgate Enamel Health multi-protection toothpaste. It helps strengthen enamel and replenish natural calcium.
If you don’t have dental insurance and are concerned about the cost of a root canal, talk to your dentist. He or she may be able to give a special discount if you pay up front or if you offer a payment plan to help relieve some of the pain when paying your bill. In the end, any ethical dentist would far prefer that you make an appointment and seek treatment, no matter the cost. Indeed, although it may seem expensive, root canals cost more the more you wait. Let your dentist know your concerns in advance, and chances are you can find a payment solution and get the root canal you need.