How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?

Written by: Staff

A root canal can help offset any pain, save your teeth and even get you back to eating and smiling naturally again.

An extensive treatment designed to help with a tooth that has either become too infected or decayed, a root canal may be your only course of action to restore your tooth to its natural state.

Root Canal Cost
Root canal x-ray” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by gillicious

How much does a root canal cost?

The actual cost of your root canal will depend on your geographical location, the dentist you’re working with, your dental insurance (if you have it), the circumstances and the tooth that needs to be repaired.  The average estimates, from the many quotes we found online, averaged about $725 for a front tooth and close to $1,250 for a molar.  Keep in mind this price will not include the filling of the tooth, which is required after the procedure has been completed.

With dental insurance, this can be a tricky subject as all insurance policies/companies greatly so much in regards to what they will cover and how much they will cover.  Your costs, if your policy will cover the root canal, will be much lower than someone who doesn’t have a policy.  From the people who did have their insurance cover it, they reported their insurance company covered 55% to 85% of the costs, meaning you may pay about $100 to $450 for just the root canal if your insurance did cover it.  Be sure to check with your insurance company ahead of time to know exactly what you will be responsible for.

Those who are willing to go overseas, MEDIGO notes a root canal can cost about $363 in the United Kingdom and about $119 in Mexico.  Of course, if you’re going to go overseas, do so at your own risk as all countries have their own regulations.

As other factors can affect the price, we created a table below based on the information we found online.

Type of Root CanalAverage Price
Straightforward on front teeth (no complications)$725 per tooth
Straightforward on any bicuspid (no complications)$900 per tooth
Straightforward on any molars (no complications)$1,250 for a molar
+ Filling+ADD $500-$1,500 per tooth for a crown (depends on type chosen
Re-treatment for existing root canal?+ADD $500-$1,500 per tooth for a NEW crown (depends on type chosen

+ADD another $400-$850 for additional work to drill out old crown/filling.

According to the American Association of Endodontists, the largest factor that affects the cost of a root canal will lie in the location of the tooth.  If you have a cavity in your front tooth, for instance, it can cost much less than your molars since your front teeth only have one root, while your molars can have up to three.  Working on more than one root often means more work for your dentist, meaning more time and of course, money.

FAIR Health, a nonprofit organization, in its study, noted the front tooth can cost an average of $762, while molars averaged about $1,111 per molar.

Another factor which can increase the price is how severe the cavity on the affected tooth is at the time of repair.  If you waited and dragged your feet, then the tooth may become infected, meaning once again, your dentist will have to spend more time on your tooth, whereas taking advantage of the repair right away can lead less time for your dentist.  Also, if you need a crown, it can add even more money to the estimates mentioned above.

The additional costs to consider

Before considered for a root canal, your dentist may charge for a routine exam/cleaning, which, on average, averages about $65 to $115.

X-rays, also required during this exam, can cost another $50 to $150+, depending on the number of x-rays required.

The crown, which is required after the root canal and as mentioned in the table above, can add another $500 to $1,500 to the exam.

If a root canal has already been performed on the affected tooth and work needs to be done once again, then the additional work involved could add yet another $400 to $800+ to the entire procedure.

The prescription medication needed for pain relief after the procedure can cost another $20 or so.

In rare circumstances, if the root canal did not go according to plan, the tooth may need to be removed and a new implant, if chosen, will need to be inserted.

When we factor in all of these additional costs, you could be looking at a grand total of $1,500 to more than $3,250 per tooth.

The root canal procedure

Before the procedure is even considered, your dentist will first x-ray and examine your mouth thoroughly to make sure you’re a candidate for the procedure.

After x-rays and a visual exam, a local anesthesia will be administered to help ease the pain during the procedure.

Next, he or she will create an opening on the affected crown in your tooth and clear the entire center out from the infected pulp of the interior of the tooth.

Once cleared, the root canals will be filled with a biocompatible material and it’s sealed with a dental cement.  Typically, a temporary filling will protect the tooth.

After the procedure, you will be asked to come back in the future to remove the temporary filling and cover the tooth with a permanent crown.

The duration of the first visit will take about 90 minutes to complete.

How do I know if I need a root canal?

According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), this procedure is performed to help repair any damage which occurred on the inside of your tooth, known as the pulp.  Whether it’s infected or inflamed, this could be caused due to a variety of factors, including, a poorly filled cavity, gum disease and/or damage to your tooth.  Patients can often tell if they need a root canal because you will either start to feel sensitivity to hot or cold items, and/or will experience pain.  In some cases, the tooth can even start to discolor, become swollen and/or sensitive when touched.  As everyone is different, it’s best to talk with your dentist to know if this procedure would work for your circumstances.  If your dentist does recommend the procedure, it’s so important to take advantage of it right as waiting can make the problem even worse, meaning more money out of your pocket in the future.

Dentist vs. Endodontist

Both professionals can perform the procedure, however, there will be a difference between the two.

An endodontist will receive at least two years of additional experience beyond that of what a dentist requires, and a large portion of this will go toward working on root canals.  Because of this, an endodontist, on average, can charge about 30 percent more than your dentist.  Don’t let this scare you, however, as most dentists will refer you to an endodontist if they feel that the work is outside their comfort soon.

For context,, states the average dentist may perform about two root canals a week, while an endodontist may perform more than 25 during this same time frame.

How to save money on a root canal

A root canal, as you can see, can be quite expensive and not everyone can fork over thousands of dollars up front.  Talk with your dentist to see if they work with either a third-party finance company or can set you up on a payment plan.  If you’re lucky enough, they may be able to set up a 0% interest plan for the next few years.

Even if you do not have dental insurance, it doesn’t mean you cannot save.  Consider checking out, a website similar to that of a dental insurance policy.  If considering, find a plan that works with your local dentist to see how much you may be able to save.  Aside from saving money on your root canal, you could save on your x-rays and routine cleanings.

Even if you’re loyal to your dentist, it doesn’t hurt to receive a few quotes from other dentist offices in the area.  If you’re working with a good dentist, then he or she may be happy to match your other estimates to help you save even more.  If you do not want to research and trust your dentist, see if he or she is willing to work on the costs a pinch.

Some dentist offices may offer you a cash discount if you pay in full.

Consider checking out a local dental school to save a good amount of money.  Even though you will be working with dental students, they are still supervised by a professional dental instructor.

In some cases, you may be able to find a deal on a daily deal website such as  Seeing this is a pretty common procedure, you may find some local dentist offices offering a discounted deal to first-time customers.

Learn about your geographical location as you could find yourself saving a few hundred dollars if you travel a few hours away.  A rural area with a low cost of living could cost a lot less than a specialist located in the heart of a high cost of living city.

See if there’s a local clinical trial coming up which may involve a root canal at

Check with your local state health department to see what kind of aid is available in your area.  This list at ASTDD, for example, can help connect you with local organizations that can help you with the costs of the procedure.

Lastly, get your root canal done as soon as possible, even if you cannot afford the costs.  You’re going to find that ignoring the issue is going to mae the problem even worse and will cause you a great deal of pain and more money out of your wallet in the future.

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