Root canals scare many people because of the expected discomfort. Some people also fear the cost, which depends on a number of factors. Even with good insurance, the fee for a root canal may vary drastically. The foremost factor that determines root canal cost is the amount of time and resources a dental care provider must commit to complete the procedure.
Insurance that includes a strong dental plan significantly reduces the out-of-pocket cost. Good policies cover between 40 percent and 80 percent of the total root canal costs, with 60 percent being about average. Most dental plans have an annual maximum limit of $1,000 to $1,500. If you visit a dentist office regularly, you may have to pay more out of pocket. Most types of insurance also require a small per-visit co-payment. Deductibles are common for root canal patients. A deductible is an amount of money you must pay before the insurance company will pay the remaining balance. Deductibles vary widely among dental plans.
Healthcare Provider Factors
Dentists perform root canal procedures -- sometimes at much lower costs. A complicated root canal procedure may require the services of a specialist called an endodontist. When an endodontist performs a root canal, it can cost up to 50 percent more than if a dentist were to perform the same procedure.
Some root canals take more time and therefore cost more. For example, a root canal for the front teeth will typically cost between $900 and $1,100. Those with good insurance pay an average of about $600 for a root canal on a front tooth. The back teeth, on the other hand, are more difficult to reach and require more of the dentist's time. Root canals for the back teeth can cost between $500 and $2,000, with the average being around $1,180. Those with good insurance pay an average of $680 out of pocket for a back tooth.
Some dentists quote a standard fee for a root canal, while other dentists operate on a time-based compensation schedule. Going into the procedure, you may or may not know the exact out-of-pocket costs a root canal will require. Additionally, not all root canals end in success. If unsuccessful, the dentist will have to perform another corrective procedure. This treatment may cost more than twice as much as a typical root canal.
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