How much does root canal treatment cost?
This page gives estimates for how much root canal therapy can cost for various types of teeth (their initial treatment).
Remember, root canal fees only make up a part of your tooth's total treatment expenses.
It's important to understand that the fees shown here estimate the price of performing a tooth's root canal treatment only.
Each and every tooth will also require some type of final restoration. And since the type that's placed will vary on a case-by-case basis, a dentist will quote the cost for it separately.
A) Root canal fees - General dentists (Initial treatment).
- Root canal treatment for an anterior tooth (incisor, canine/cuspid)
$585.00 - $1000.00
Low fee = Small rural city or town.
High fee = Large metropolitan area.
- Root canal treatment for a premolar (bicuspid).
$630.00 - $1200.00
- Root canal treatment for a posterior tooth (molar).
$780.00 - $1400.00
Why do costs vary by tooth type?
When a dentist figures out their fee schedule, one of the primary factors involved is the amount of time that it takes for them to perform that procedure. Root canal therapy is a prime example of this.
In most cases, anterior teeth have one root canal, bicuspids one or two, and molars at least three. (Use this link for details and examples.) And that means each type of tooth will, comparatively, take a different amount of time to treat. As shown in our list above, this difference is reflected in their relative cost of treatment.
B) Root canal fees - Retreatment cases.
The cost for retreating a tooth will usually be more than that charged for its original therapy, probably on the order of 20% to 25%.
- The steps involved with retreatment are essentially the same as when the tooth was first treated, with the exception that the previously placed filling material must first be removed.
- The time and skill needed to perform this task, as well as overcoming the deficiencies associated with the tooth's initial treatment, justify the fee increase.
What's the success rate of retreatment cases?
The success rate of retreatment is generally lower than initial treatment. A review of dental literature by Ng (2008) concluded that retreatment was successful 77% of the time. Original treatment can be expected to have a success rate of over 90% (see below).
- If your dentist feels that the chance of a successful outcome for your tooth is low, they may recommend some type of alternative treatment approach (tooth extraction and replacement) instead.
C) Root canal fees charged by endodontists.
You can expect that the fee charged by an endodontist will be greater than that charged by a general dentist (for treating the same type of tooth).
Endodontists generally treat the most difficult cases, and the fee that they charge reflects a premium based on the high level of skill and expertise they have to offer. An endodontist's fee can easily be 30% to 40% more than the average fee charged by general dentists in the same area.
Should a specialist perform your work? - Endodontists vs. General Dentists.
The answer to this question simply depends on how much expertise is needed for the successful treatment of your tooth.
Different teeth can pose different challenges. And aspects of treatment that might be fairly routine for an endodontist may be quite difficult for a general dentist.
- While all dentists receive training in performing root canal treatment, some dentists, called "endodontists," limit their practice to just providing this type of service.
- To become an endodontist, a dentist must complete an advanced training program and meet certification criteria.
a) Success rates.
Specialty training does influence treatment outcome. As an example, Alley (2004) found a success rate of 98% for routine root canal treatment when it was performed by endodontists. This number fell to 90% for cases treated by general practitioners.
b) Diagnostic services.
There can be situations where your dentist feels that the services of an endodontist are required, simply to determine what type of treatment it is that you need. Some problems can be difficult to diagnose, and it may take an endodontist's experience to figure them out.
There's usually a financial premium attached to an endodontist's care. Their fee will usually be higher than your regular dentist's. But when the extra skill they can provide is required, it is well worth the expense. In some parts of the country, you may find that an endodontist is relatively hard to find, and seeking the services of one requires a trip to a nearby metropolitan area.
Let your dentist decide who should perform your root canal treatment.
With many and possibly most cases your dentist may feel that they are more than capable of providing the treatment that your tooth requires. If not, then they can refer you to an endodontist.
Having your own dentist perform your work has advantages. Your treatment will be performed in an office you're already familiar with, by a person you already know. And since they know you too, they might be more accommodating with scheduling, billing, and insurance issues than an endodontist's office would be.