Knowing what a root canal is, as well as the cost of a root canal with insurance vs without insurance, can help put your mind at ease so you are more prepared going in and there aren’t any surprises.
What is a root canal?To understand what a root canal is, you need to first have a basic understanding of the anatomy of teeth.
Put simply, your teeth are made of layers that include the enamel on the exterior, a layer of dentin, and pulp, which has connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels within it. A root canal involves a dentist or endodontist removing the infected pulp, filling and sealing the space and later applying a crown for protection.
When is a root canal necessary?If a tooth develops decay that’s so extensive that it reaches the pulp, your dentist might prescribe a root canal to clean out the infection, salvage the tooth, and help prevent future infections. Another scenario in which you might need a root canal is if you end up accidentally cracking a tooth or an injury causes damage to the pulp. If you’re experiencing a lot of pain when you bite or chew, you have a lot of sensitivity, your gums are tender or swollen, or your gums are becoming darker or developing pimples, it’s wise to see your dentist, as these are all signs that a root canal may be necessary.
What does a dentist or endodontist do during a root canal?
A root canal might sound scary, but it can be a lot like getting a filling to fix a cavity. Your dentist or endodontist will provide anesthesia so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure, and then he or she will get to work on removing the pulp that has become infected and inflamed.
Here are the basic steps involved in a root canal:
1. To reach the pulp inside the tooth, the endodontist will start by creating an opening.
2. The infected pulp is removed and the root canals and pulp chamber are cleaned with small tools. The endodontist also works on shaping the space inside the tooth to prepare it for a special filling. And medication might be necessary to thoroughly remove the infection.
3.The next step involves the placement of a filling in the pulp chamber and root canals.
4. Finally, the endodontist will use a crown to fully restore the appearance and function of the tooth.
Root Canal Treatment Cost
Root canals are considered serious dental procedures, and you might need more than one appointment to complete the entire treatment.
Plus, there are costs to consider before and after the treatment too, such as the price of X-rays and prescription antibiotics or painkillers. For these reasons, it can be expensive, especially if you’re paying for it completely out-of-pocket.
How much is a root canal without insurance?
Various factors can affect the cost of a root canal, such as:
The tooth that’s being treated. While a front tooth might cost, on average, up to $900, a bicuspid (premolar) might cost upwards of $1,000. A root canal for a molar is the most expensive, as it might cost up to $1,400.
Your location and the dental professional you choose. Different areas of the country come with varying dental care costs. Also, the professional that you choose might charge more or less than others in your area.
The cost of the crown. We already mentioned that there are other expenses to consider before and after a root canal, but don’t forget that you also have the added cost of the crown that comes with this procedure. This might add a significant amount to your bill, as a crown might cost as much as $1,000.
Without dental insurance that helps cover the cost of root canals, you will be required to foot the entire bill yourself. Ouch!
How much is a root canal with insurance?
Many dental insurance providers will cover anywhere from 50% to 80% of the cost of undergoing root canal treatment.
It depends on whether the insurer classifies root canals as basic or major procedures. Insurance companies tend to cover a greater percentage of the cost of basic procedures than those that are considered major.
As an example, instead of paying $1,000 out of pocket, you might only be responsible for $200 to $500. That’s a lot of savings!
Plus, with the right type of plan, you’ll be able to rest assured that the root canal procedure itself, as well as the crown, will be covered so there’s nothing to worry about.
Bottom line: with insurance, you might be able to save hundreds of dollars, especially if you’re using an in-network endodontist or your plan comes with a higher annual maximum.
It Starts with Searching for the Right Dental Insurance!
It’s clear that getting a root canal with insurance is going to make it easier—at least financially—to handle this experience. And planning ahead is key because the last thing you’d want to deal with is the hefty cost that can come with an emergency root canal with no insurance.
When you shop for dental insurance, there are a lot of things to consider, and a lot of fine print to read. For example, you want to look into the annual maximum, the out-of-pocket costs like copays and deductibles, and whether you can choose any dentist you want or you’re required to stick to in-network dentists to save the most money.
To keep things simple, check out the Direct Benefits Marketplace, where you can browse and compare a variety of dental insurance plans that are available in your area. This is an efficient way to sign up for the one that will allow you to save the most money when you need treatments like root canals.