How much does root canal treatment cost?

- Initial treatment prices by tooth type (molars, bicuspids, canines & incisors). | Specialist and retreatment fees. | Details about insurance coverage and benefits (with example calculations).

Root canal treatment prices and associated cost issues.

This page gives price estimates for having root canal therapy, broken down according to the type of tooth that's being treated: incisor, canine, bicuspid or molar. (This is the same categorization that your dentist uses when setting their fees for providing this service.)

This page also discusses dental insurance issues that are frequently associated with having root canal, including procedure coverage rates and common limitations & restrictions. Example cost calculations are given.

We also explain how prices for treatment typically vary with retreatment cases, or cases where an endodontist (root canal specialist) performs the work.

Remember: You will have additional expenses with your tooth.

It's important to keep in mind that the fees we show on this page are price estimates for performing a tooth's root canal procedure only.

As discussed below, all teeth will additionally require some type of final (permanent) restoration after its treatment has been completed. And this will involve a separate fee.


A) Fees for root canal treatment (endodontic therapy) -

The cost estimates shown here are for cases where the procedure is performed by a general dentist (non-specialist). And the work is the tooth's initial root canal therapy (not a retreatment case).

Example cost

How many
root canals
do you need?

(With or without

  • Root canal treatment for an anterior tooth (incisor, canine/cuspid)
            $595.00 - $1250.00
        Low fee = Small rural city or town.
        High fee = Large metropolitan area.
  • Root canal treatment for a premolar (bicuspid/premolar).
            $692.00 - $1355.00
  • Root canal treatment for a posterior tooth (molar).
            $839.00 - $1624.00

How did we come up with these estimates?

What does the above fee include?

The prices shown above are for the cost of the tooth's root canal therapy only. (Use this link for details about the steps of this procedure.) The tooth's work may require one or more appointments but only a single fee is charged.

The fee should include the local anesthetic (dental "shots") that are necessary for your procedure, any dental x-rays that are needed to complete your tooth's work, and the placement of an interim (temporary) restoration at the completion of each visit. Additionally, this fee should include any post-operative assistance that you or your tooth require.

An x-ray showing completed treatment, post and core, and dental crown.

The final restoration for this tooth was a crown with post & core.

What's not included.

The price does not include the placement of the final restoration that your tooth will require once its treatment has been completed.
The type of restoration needed will vary on a case-by-case basis. It may range from a simple filling to a dental post & core with crown, and for that reason is quoted as a separate fee.
It's possible that a delay in the placement of your tooth's final restoration may negatively impact the success of its root canal work. For this reason, it's wise to understand what your costs will be so you can plan ahead and be ready to follow your dentist's recommendation in regard to its timing.

B) Root canal fees - Retreatment cases.

An x-ray showing a tooth that needs retreatment.

Dentists usually charge more for retreatment cases.

The cost of retreating a tooth (non-surgically) will usually be more than that charged for its original therapy, probably on the order of 20 to 25%.
  • The steps involved with non-surgical 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, and overcome the deficiencies associated with the tooth's initial treatment, justify the higher price.


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] (see page-bottom references link) concluded that retreatment was successful 77% of the time. Original treatment can be expected to have a success rate of over 90%.

(This page provides more in-depth coverage about conventional endodontic retreatment.)

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 prices charged by endodontists (root canal specialists).

You can expect that the fee charged by an endodontist (for providing treatment for the same type of tooth) will be greater than that charged by your general dentist.

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.

Our page "Endodontist vs. General Dentists- Which makes the best choice, and when?" discusses the issue of case referral in detail.

Does dental insurance cover root canals?

It's very common that a dental plan will provide benefits for this procedure. It's typically categorized as a "Basic" dental service (although some plans may have it listed as a "Major" one).

As a Basic service, root canals are often covered at a rate of 80% of the procedure's UCR fee (or with HMO's, only a comparatively modest co-pay required). If categorized as a Major service, you can expect coverage levels to be less (frequently only 50%).

Common dental plan restrictions.

  • You'll probably need to have met your policy's deductible in order to receive full benefits. There may also be limitations in regard to the policy's maximum yearly benefits allowance.
  • New policyholders may find that this procedure involves a waiting period. For example, there may be a stipulation that root canal treatment is not covered during the plan's first 12 months.
  • In the case where a tooth's previous treatment has failed, you may find restrictions are triggered. For example, some plans limit each tooth to one root canal per lifetime.

    Other plans may not cover the retreatment of teeth previously covered within a certain time frame. (Two years is not uncommon.)

  • Some plans may not provide a different level of benefits for work performed by an endodontist vs. a general dentist. This can present a problem because treatment performed by specialists typically costs more (see above).


Cost calculations for root canals.

Examples, with and without dental insurance coverage.

There are several different issues that will factor into how much your tooth that requires root canal treatment will wind up costing you. Here are some sample calculations that explain possible outcomes, both when dental insurance is and isn't involved.

In this section, we also give suggestions about how the obstacle of policy maximum yearly benefits can sometimes be worked around.

As you know from reading above, the cost of endodontic therapy varies according to the type of tooth being treated. But for the sake of simplification, in the calculations below we've arbitrarily set it at $1000.

If only one tooth needs treatment -
  • Total charges by your dentist for your work: $1000 X 1 (tooth) = $1000.
  • If insurance is involved: As a "Basic" dental service, it's common for insurance plans to cover 80% of the cost of this procedure, after the policy's deductible has been met. But only up to the amount of its maximum annual benefits. (See above for a description of these terms.)

    For our examples, we'll set the deductible at $100 and the policy's maximum benefits at $1000. Both of these numbers are fairly common.

    Insurance benefits: [$1000 (total charges) - $100 (policy deductible)] X 80% = $720. Note, this number is smaller than the maximum yearly benefit.

    Amount you pay: $1000 (total charges) - $720 (insurance benefits) = $280.

  • Additional expenses that will be required for your tooth.


If two teeth need treatment -
  • Total charges by your dentist for your work: $1000 X 2 (teeth) = $2000.
  • Insurance benefits: Using the policy values given above, the calculation for treating two teeth would be [$2000 (total charges) - $100 (the policy deductible)] X 80% = $1520. However, this number is greater than the policy's maximum benefits, so the amount paid by insurance would be limited to $1000 (see solutions for this dilemma below).

    Amount you pay: $2000 (total charges) - $1000 (insurance benefits) = $1000.

  • Additional expenses that will be required for your tooth.


If three teeth need treatment -
  • Total charges by your dentist for your work: $1000 X 3 (teeth) = $3000.
  • Insurance benefits: Using the same policy values stated previously, the calculation for treating three teeth would be [$3000 (total charges) - $100 (the policy deductible)] X 80% = $2320. Note however, this number is greater than the policy's maximum yearly benefits (in fact its more than two years of benefits), so the amount paid would be limited to $1000 (see solutions for this dilemma below).

    Amount you pay: $3000 (total charges) - $1000 (insurance benefits) = $2000.

  • Additional expenses that will be required for your tooth.


Working around the maximum yearly benefits limitation.

As you can see, when root canal treatment is involved a policy's maximum benefits limitation can be reached very quickly. Adding in the fact that every tooth will also require some type of permanent restoration (crown or filling) only adds to this problem.

An example.

The following calculation will give you an idea of how much the full treatment some teeth require (root canal, post & core and dental crown) can be.

Notes: For this calculation, we'll use all of the same values as above.

We'll also arbitrarily set the fee for crowns and post & cores at $1000 and $350 respectively (these procedures are typically categorized as "Major" services, and as such are frequently only covered at 50%). (Links to more information about costs for crowns and post & cores.)

  • Total charges by your dentist for your work: $1000 (root canal) + $350 (post & core) + $1000 (crown) = $2350.
  • If insurance is involved:

    Insurance benefits -

    For the root canal: [$1000 (total charges) - $100 (policy deductible)] X 80% = $720.

    For the post & core and crown: [$1350 (total charges)] X 50% = $675.

    Total benefits: $720 + $675 = $1395. But since this number is greater than the maximum yearly benefit allowed, the actual amount paid will be limited to $1000.

    Amount you pay: $2350 (total charges) - $1000 (insurance benefits) = $1350.


A possible workaround.

As a solution, you might ask your dentist about the timing of your dental insurance policy year and how your treatment can be planned with it in mind.

For example, if your plan runs on a calendar year and December is winding up and you've just had root canal treatment completed, having your tooth crowned in early January of the next year (assuming your dentist concurs with this decision) could save you some money.

Dealing with insurance limitations when a large number of teeth require treatment.

In cases where a relatively large number of teeth must be treated and receive final restorations, the benefits paid by your insurance company can become comparatively minor.

An example.

Extrapolating on our example above, if just two teeth will receive root canal treatment, a post & core and have a dental crown placed:

  • Total charges by your dentist for your work: $2000 (2 root canals) + $700 (2 post & cores) + $2000 (2 crowns) = $4700.
  • If insurance is involved:

    Insurance benefits -

    For the 1st root canal: [$1000 (total charges) - $100 (policy deductible)] X 80% = $720.

    For the 2nd root canal: [$1000 (total charges)] X 80% = $800.

    For 2 post & cores and crowns: [$2700 (total charges)] X 50% = $1350.

    Total benefits: $720 + $800 + 1350 = $2870. But since this number is greater than the maximum yearly benefit allowed, the actual amount paid will be limited to $1000.

    Amount you pay: $4700 (total charges) - $1000 (insurance benefits) = $3700.


A possible workaround.

As a solution, and only after consulting with your dentist, you may find that some of your teeth can be stabilized and treated at a later time frame.

  • This can be a risky approach to use with teeth that require endodontic therapy since the possibility of an acute tooth flare-up always exists until treatment has been completed.
  • It's more likely that the placement of the final restoration might reasonably be delayed, although there are definite risks associated with this approach too (root canal failure, tooth fracture).

If a decision to delay is chosen, it must be on the advice of your dentist. Only they have the needed knowledge to make an informed decision about what constitutes a reasonable approach for your situation.

Why do fees vary by tooth type?

When a dentist sets their fee schedule, one of the primary factors in determining how much they need to charge is the amount of time that it will take them to perform that procedure.

Root canal therapy is a prime example of this, with a primary factor in determining the amount of time needed for a tooth's procedure being how many roots and root canals it has.

An x-ray showing a molar root that has two root canals.

Dentists charge more for treating teeth having multiple roots and canals.

In general terms:
  • Front teeth (incisors, canines) have one root and one canal.
  • Bicuspids frequently have two roots and two canals.
  • Lower molars have two roots and at least 3 canals.
  • Upper molars have three roots and at least 3 or 4 canals.

And that means that each of these different types of teeth will take a different amount of time to treat. And these differences are reflected in the fee estimates shown above.

(Our list here is just a cursory one. This link "How many roots and root canals does your tooth have?" provides more detailed information.)


 Page references sources: 

Because the procedure estimates we show are developed by different means, you may find the survey of dental fees published by DentistryIQ an interesting independent source: DentistryIQ - 2017 dental fee analysis by region and CDT procedure code

All reference sources for topic Root Canal Treatment.


Thank you for describing all

Thank you for describing all the costs associated with root canals. Before I read your article, it felt like I was wandering through the dark in terms of price. Thankfully, I live in a smaller area, so I will most likely only have to pay the low fee you mentioned.


When considering expenses, don't overlook the additional costs that will be required to complete your tooth's total treatment.


What is the probability that I will need root canal therapy later (up to date I didn't need any)? Do most people need root canal therapy once in their life? Do you have any number on this? Should I look for a dental insurance plan which covers the cost of root canal treatment?

* Comment notes.


That's not really a question we're going to be able to answer. We're not really sure anyone can, there are just too many personal variables involved.

This answer sort of suggests that point.

As far as coming up with numbers:

# of root canals performed each year. (There are over 300 million people in the USA.)

% of people who have had a root canal.

Your dentist (someone who has actually evaluated your teeth) would be in the best position to give you an answer. And it might be rather simple for them to form an opinion about what your risks might be.


Does Medicare cover any of the costs of a root canal?


Sorry about the delay in answering this. Per this page on, the answer seems to be no.

Thank you for the detailed

Thank you for the detailed explanation.

However, when I look at my plan, I don't see any amount for 'Maximum yearly benefit'. I though have out-of-pocket maximum amount (set to $2k)
So I am not sure if your math works in my case. In my case, my understanding is I have to pay co-pay up to $2000/year for my treatments, any further cost incurred is completely free. Please let me know if my understanding is correct.

Thank you.


Without having your policy to read it wouldn't be possible for us to know for sure. Your statement was:
"I have to pay co-pay up to $2000/year for my treatments, any further cost incurred is completely free."

The health insurance policy we have here at WMDS, Inc. generally reads that same way (and yes, that is different than we describe above), so it seems likely your interpretation is accurate.

When larger sums are involved, your dentist's office should be eager enough to help you understand what your expenses should be, just so there are no surprises for anyone involved.

In some cases, the situation may be so routine for them that they can come up with an answer in moments.
Other times, the dentist's office might need to file a predetermination of benefits form with the insurance company that when returned both passes judgment on your eligibility for those services, and states the benefits that the company can be expected to provide.

Undisclosed charges

Hello! I want to ask you, please, if patient has to pay for the unsuccessful procedure?? If he was assured that the tooth will be saved. Thank you!


Procedures, like root canals, can fail for all sorts of reasons (operator error, patient non-compliance, or even simple bad luck, such as the case where unforseen complications existed that prevented the successful completion of the case).
And because of all of these different types of variables exist, it's both foolish and impossible for a dentist to guarantee a successful outcome. Doing so simply lies beyond what is factually possible for them to promise.
It's impossible for us to know what has transpired in your case. Failure alone doesn't necessarily reflect on the quality of care provided by your dentist. And in this type of situation (high quality work, unfortunate outcome), they should be compensated for their efforts.
Dentists that go out of their way in stating that they guarantee a successful outcome, yet don't back up this statement in writing (which must be your case, otherwise no conflict would exist), should be looked at with extreme caution (because they're making a promise that's impossible to keep in all cases).
If the dentist has been deficient in either the diagnosis or treatment of your case, a complaint to your state's dental board, or litigation, is the way to resolve that type of issue (if your dentist is otherwise unwilling to resolve the matter, so to avoid those processes).

Good insurance

Can u please guide me which is good insurance that can cover my root canal expenses I will be great full to you


We have a section of that covers the topic of dental insurance, so you might read through those pages.

Generally speaking:
1) You'll want to make sure that root canal procedures are covered.
2) You'll probably want to know (compare) at what level benefits are provided. (Are root canals classified as a Major or Basic procedure?)
3)You'll need to know about other policy limitations that may apply (pre-existing donditions and wait periods, benefit maximums, deductibles, UCR fees).

Don't overlook that this page up above has information on it specifically about insurance coverage for root canal treatment.

There's a lot to know initially. But after you do, comparing policies is tedious but not that difficult.

Crowned tooth with a root canal became sensitive near the jaw.

I had a root canal reperformed by drilling through my gold crown which I hope can be filled and the crown remains.
However, I have a temporary filling and I am taking the antibiotic clindamycin150mg and metronidazole 500 mg for infection at one of the roots of the molar. I am to have an appointment in 30 days for an additional procedure or 2. I have been advised to return to have the root removed and the infection cleaned by cutting into the gum area below or beside my crowned tooth. I understand there is a possibility of nerve damage. I am not sure but I would expect this to take another 30 days to heal. Then another appointment for a permanent filling in the tooth is all is OK. I am unsure about all this working out. I don't really have a treatment plan just an appointment. Should I get a second opinion. I forgot the root canal was normal. The endodentist says there is a file in the root and during the procedure to remove the infection he cuts off the root, to remove the file and seals it. I have had the original crown and file for over 20 years.


The route your endodontist is taking with your tooth is your single opportunity to salvage your tooth. And the way you explain your treatment (historic and future) seems correct and appropriate for the situation you describe (a root that can't be successfully retreated because it has a broken file lodged in it).

Using this procedure (root amputation) as a solution, while not terrible common, certainly isn't rare. (Its infrequency of use is primarily associated with the fact that it's suited for such a small number of teeth (multi-rooted teeth where the endodontic problem is clearly associated with just a single root). Your (lower) two-rooted molar would generally be the ideal type of case.)

Generally, an endodontist would be the type of dentist best suited to determine when this procedure is indicated and appropriate (promises a reasonable outcome).

They would also be the person most knowledgeable about if your crown (after being plugged with a filling) makes a suitable final restoration for your tooth. (So ask.)

In regard to the potential for nerve damage during the procedure, one would anticipate that this has more to do with providing thorough "informed consent" (which both informs you of potential complications and helps to protect the provider legally if the complication arises). Considering that this is a severely compromised tooth and other routine dental solutions exist that could serve as an acceptable remedy too, that no dentist would perform this procedure if they though there was a significant chance of serious complications. Once again, you'll simply need to ask.

A great person to ask about the proposed treatment for your tooth is your general dentist. They'll be well versed in what other options exist, and how likely it seems to them that the root amputation makes a good plan. It very well may.

A common alternative approach would be to extract the tooth and replace it with a dental implant. Follow that link for a discussion of this topic.

Bottom line: 1) Everything you report seems appropriate and proper for your tooth. 2) Consulting with your general dentist might be big aid in alleviating your concerns, or helping you decide on another treatment route. Good luck.

* Comments marked with an asterisk, along with their associated replies, have either been edited for brevity/clarity, or have been moved to a page that's better aligned with their subject matter, or both. If relocated, the comment and its replies retain their original datestamps, which may affect the chronology of the page's comments section.

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