Nobody really looks forward to a root canal but when you have a tooth that is in need, it can bring relief that is worth the stress and expense of having one done. If your dentist has told you that a tooth needs to have this procedure performed on it, then it’s best to get it done as soon as possible to avoid health complications and the possibility of needing to have the tooth extracted.
What is a root canal and why is it necessary?
When a tooth becomes decayed in the interior, it may look perfectly healthy on the outside, but xrays reveal the real story. Deep decay must be addressed quickly because the longer it’s left untreated, the more the tooth will decay at its root. Infection can set in and spread throughout the entire body in a worst-case scenario. When caught early in many cases, the tooth can be fixed and preserved through a root canal procedure. The dentist removes the pulp along with the nerve that is located in the area that is known as the root. The area that is being excised is filled with dental materials that seal the area once the decay has been removed, to shore up and strengthen that area of the tooth.
How much does a root canal cost?
The prices for a root canal vary, depending on which tooth is affected and the severity of the damage. Molars are generally more expensive than other teeth and many dentists are willing to offer a discount if you need more than one root canal. On average, a molar will cost between $1,000 to $1,300, but if the damage is less significant it can be as low as $500 or as high as $2,000. Each dental office will give you an estimate of the cost range prior to the service, but it can be hard to pinpoint the cost because many times, they don’t know exactly how much damage has been done until they get in there and start the work. Xrays don’t always show the full extent of the decay.
Front teeth range in price on an average of $900 to $1,100 but may be as low as $300 to an extreme of $1,500. Bicuspid root canals prices are in the middle of the other teeth averaging between $900 to $1,100. They can be as low as $400 up to $1,800. Some dentists will do the best that they can to help reduce the costs and when possible, they use a filling that costs between $50 and $300 on average, but some teeth require the addition of a crown to ensure the strength of the tooth afterward. Crowns can cost between $300 all the way up to $3,000 apiece.
The amount that your insurance will pay depends on the company you’ve gone with and what is listed in the policy you have. Some plans pay up to 100 percent of routine care costs but major procedures usually require you to pay for a percentage of the bill with insurance picking up the remaining portion. Most dental insurance policies have an annual limit on the amount of coverage that they will provide for an individual, so it’s important to find out how much that is. The typical range is between $1,000 to $3,000 per year with some limits for the entire family plan. The office manager in most dental offices can pull the information up for you and give you an estimate.
How to prepare for a root canal
The best way to prepare for a root canal is to follow the instructions that are given to you by your dentist. In most cases, you’re given a printed instruction sheet that lets you know what to do before and after. If you have certain medical conditions you may be given a prescription for antibiotics, although not every patient is required to do this. After the procedure, you may need to avoid eating ice chips and other hard foods until the tooth has had time to adjust from the work that has been done. There may be some discomfort and although some dentists will offer a pain medication, in most cases, over the counter analgesics such as Tylenol or ibuprofen work well to manage discomfort. It may be sore for 2 to 3 days, but some people report little to no discomfort in the days after a root canal. If swelling occurs, you can use an ice pack to reduce swelling and discomfort.