Having to get a root canal is already painful enough — but then comes the prospect of paying for it.
While the specific cost of a root canal will vary depending on your geographical location, the location of the tooth, your dentist, and other factors, it can easily cost as much as $1,400 or even more out of pocket if you don’t have insurance — and several hundred even if you do.
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to finance dental work that make it possible to afford the care your teeth require. Here’s what you need to know.
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What Is a Root Canal Treatment?
A root canal is a dental treatment that can remove infection and bacteria from the pulp beneath the hard exterior of the tooth. It’s a pretty common procedure — millions of them are performed each year.
While root canals are often characterized as unpleasant, modern dentistry means this medical intervention can take place relatively painlessly while preserving the natural tooth for both chewing and complementing a smile. All of which is to say, if you’re in need of a root canal, you’re not alone.
Reasons for a Root Canal
There are many different reasons your dentist might prescribe a root canal, including:
• Tooth decay
• Large cavities
• Chips in tooth enamel
• Periodontal disease
• Dental trauma
In any of these situations, bacteria might infect the pulp of the tooth and, if left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding structures such as gums, other teeth, or even the jawbone. In extreme cases, dental infections can contribute to heart attack or stroke, along with causing a lot of pain.
Taking good care of your teeth can help prevent these causes, but sometimes, accidents or predisposition to decay can play into the equation. In any case, if your dentist prescribes a root canal, it’s probably worth heeding their advice.
How Much Does a Root Canal Cost on Average?
While, again, the cost of a root canal procedure varies greatly depending on factors we’ll dive into in more depth below, the average cost hovers around $1,400 without insurance. With insurance, your bill might be considerably lower: between $200-$500 out of pocket, depending on your coverage and the extent of the procedure.
How Much Is a Root Canal and a Crown?
In many cases, you may also require a crown along with a root canal, which can help protect the tooth for future chewing and use. A crown can add a substantial amount to the overall bill: as much as $1,000 if you’re paying out of pocket.
Factors That Impact the Cost of a Root Canal
Here are some of the specific factors at play that can pull the cost of your root canal up or down.
Obviously, the cost of a root canal — or any dental or medical procedure — is likely to be higher if you don’t have insurance coverage or if your provider is out of your insurance company’s network. Because root canals are usually medically necessary, as opposed to just cosmetic, it’s likely your insurer will cover the procedure itself.
The location of the infected tooth in your mouth can also have an impact on the total cost of the root canal. That’s because certain teeth are more difficult for dentists to work on than others.
For instance, molars, which are set more deeply in the mouth, are harder to reach and thus command higher costs for dental procedures. Bicuspids, or premolars, cost slightly less, while front teeth needing root canals are likely to cost the least.
Like most other goods and services, the cost of a root canal can vary largely depending on the local economy — or the prices set by the dental professional you choose.
Type of Dentist
While most general dentists can perform a simple root canal, some teeth with more complicated infections might require an endodontist, who specializes in dental pulp specifically (the part that is treated during the procedure).
Root canal treatment cost by a specialist may be more more than treatment by your general dental professional, as can the use of high-tech equipment such as an ultrasonic needle or water laser.
Root Canal Complications
Although they’re very common and generally safe, like most other medical procedures, root canals do come with some risk.
For example, the root canal can fail due to a breakdown of materials or the provider’s failure to remove all of the bacteria during the procedure. In addition, sometimes the tooth becomes slightly discolored after the procedure due to bleeding on the inside of the tooth.
Ways to Pay For a Root Canal
Although root canals can be expensive, there are many ways to pay for this vitally important procedure without chewing through your savings.
Carrying dental insurance is a great way to lower the cost of procedures such as root canal — though keep in mind you’ll be responsible for monthly premiums as well as a potential copay or coinsurance costs.
Health Savings Account
A Health Savings Account is a tax-incentivized account that can help you save and pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses more affordable. However, you must have a High Deductible Health Plan to contribute to one.
Recommended: How to Set Up a Health Savings Account
Personal loans are a type of financial product that allows you to borrow money for almost any purpose, including dental or medical care. Because they’re unsecured, meaning no collateral is required, they tend to have higher interest rates than auto loans or mortgages — but the rates can be lower than those offered by credit cards.
As with most financial products, your specific rates and terms will vary depending on your credit score and other financial aspects. While rates may be higher, there are still personal loans for low-credit borrowers — and taking one out may still make more financial sense than decimating your emergency fund or putting the procedure on credit.
Recommended: What Is a Fair Credit Score — and What Does It Mean?
Although they usually have fairly high-interest rates, credit cards are another option for paying for necessary medical interventions in a pinch. If you can qualify for a credit card with a 0% promotional interest rate, you’ll have some time to pay the balance without interest if you can pay it off before the promotional period ends.
Other Dental Procedures a Personal Loan Can Cover
Along with root canals, personal loans can be used to cover other common dental procedures, as well, including:
• Periodontal surgery
• Tooth bonding
• Wisdom tooth removal
• Dental fillings
Recommended: What Are the Common Uses for Personal Loans?
Having a root canal can be an important medical intervention for your health and the survival of your affected tooth. And although the procedure is expensive, there are ways to pay for it that won’t add financial pain to your dental pain.
If you’re considering a personal loan — for a root canal or otherwise — SoFi Personal Loans offer fixed rates and no origination, prepayment, or fees. You can check your rate in just one minute without affecting your credit score.* Now that’s a reason to smile.
How much is a root canal and a crown?
A root canal procedure averages $1,400, and the restorative crown can add another $1,000 the total cost. Costs can vary depending on what part of the country the procedure is performed in and which tooth is being treated.
Why is a root canal so expensive?
Root canals are performed by licensed medical professionals who use specialized equipment. More complex situations may need to be treated by an endodontist, a dental specialist who has completed additional years of training beyond dental school.
What does a root canal cost without insurance?
The full, out-of-pocket cost of a root canal may range from $700 to $1,800, depending on a variety of factors.
*Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
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