Root Canal Costs: With & Without Insurance

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Table of Contents

  1. Who Performs a Root Canal?
  2. Average Root Canal Costs
  3. Other Cost Factors
  4. Reduce Costs With Insurance
  5. What to Expect
  6. Offsetting the Cost
  7. Overview of Root Canal Costs
  8. Root Canal Cost FAQs

A root canal will cost significantly more out of pocket without dental insurance coverage.

The out-of-pocket cost of a root canal can range from $200 with good dental insurance to over $1,600 without insurance. The price is also impacted by which tooth is affected, where you live and have the procedure done, and how extensive the procedure needs to be.

Even if you don’t have dental insurance, there are ways to offset the cost. You can use a health savings account (HSA) or set up a dental payment plan.

Who Performs a Root Canal?

A root canal is often necessary when tooth decay has weakened the structure of the tooth, and dead or dying tissue needs to be removed. It is considered a medically necessary procedure, and it is often covered by dental insurance as a result. 

Many general dentists perform root canals, especially when the procedure is relatively straightforward and involves a front tooth. 

If the root canal procedure required is complex — for example, involving multiple roots or a decayed back molar — they may refer a patient to an endodontist.

An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in tooth pain diagnosis, root canal treatment, and other issues dealing with the interior of the tooth. They are specialists because they’ve completed at least two years of additional education in this area after completing dental school.

In the United States, medical professionals who specialize can charge more than those who do not. It’s one of the reasons that surgeons make more money than regular general practitioners do. It’s also a reason that endodontists make more than general dentists do.

Average Root Canal Costs

The average cost of a root canal in the United States is between $600 and $1,600 without insurance. Where your tooth is located has a major role in your costs. This table can help you understand the differences:

Type of tooth

Average cost



Premolar (teeth between your front teeth and the back molars)


Molar (your back teeth)


The cost is going to be based on which tooth needs the procedure and where it is located in your mouth. For example, front (anterior) teeth are typically the easiest to access, so the root canal will cost less than it would for a bicuspid or molar. Molars are generally the most expensive teeth for root canal procedures.

Factors influencing cost can include the following:

  • Where you live: Where you live influences the average cost.

  • Who does the procedure: A general dentist will typically cost less than an endodontist.

  • Difficulty of the procedure: The more extensive the root canal, the higher the cost.

  • Dental insurance coverage: Insurance can lower your out-of-pocket costs.

Other Factors that Affect Cost

These other factors could increase the cost of your root canal:

Your initial visit with a dentist about your root canal will likely require an oral exam and x-rays. The cost of these services will vary depending on your dentist, the type of exam and x-rays needed, and your insurance coverage. Without insurance, the total cost could be $400 or more.

Some individuals coming to their dentist for an emergency procedure like a root canal have missed previous appointments. Others haven’t been to a dentist in years. This increases the likelihood that they may also be experiencing other oral health issues, especially if they haven’t been consistent with an effective oral hygiene routine.Your dentist may recommend other needed treatments, including cleanings and fillings for other teeth, which could increase your cost.

If the tooth needing a root canal is in the back of the mouth, it may be harder to reach and work on, meaning a longer treatment time and possibly a higher price. 

Getting a root canal on your bicuspid teeth (the teeth before molars in your mouth) is generally more expensive than having the procedure done on your front teeth, which are the most easily accessible. While a root canal on a front tooth will cost around $1,000 on average, a root canal on a bicuspid tooth may cost around $1,100. The molars in the back of the mouth are usually most expensive for root canals, with an average cost of $1,300 to $1,600. 

If your tooth condition is severe or complex (for example, involving multiple tooth roots or infections), this can also add to procedure time and costs.

Your dentist may use a local anesthetic for your root canal, or they may recommend other options like sedation or nitrous oxide. There may be additional fees for these services.While nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) costs, on average, around $25 to $100, oral and IV sedation can range from $150 to $700. The use of general anesthesia is uncommon for root canals, but it could cost from around $300 to $1,000.

If you need an expedited dentist visit because your root canal is an emergency, you may be charged additional “emergency” fees, especially if you are not a regular patient of the dentist you are seeing.

Just as the cost of rent and groceries can vary from location to location, so can the cost of dental care. We used the Delta Dental cost estimator to examine the costs associated with a root canal in a premolar tooth.

Zip Code - Location - Cost Out of Network

10001 - New York, NY - $2,000-$2800

94016 - San Francisco,CA - $1,229-$1569

80014 - Denver, Co - $1,164-$1,423

85001 - Phoenix,AZ - $1,180-$1,413

98101 - Seattle, WA - $1,444-$1,728

Overview of Root Canal Costs

Root Canal Costs: With & Without Insurance
Location of root canalAverage cost
Front tooth$1,000
Additional factors that could increase costYour geographic location (certain cities or regions may be more expensive)
If your procedure is performed by a specialist rather than a general dentist
Exam and x-ray fees
If other treatment is needed, such as cleanings or other fillings
Complexity of procedure, such as if multiple tooth roots are involved
Anesthesia fees (cost depends on type of anesthesia used)
If your root canal is scheduled or an emergency procedure (emergency fee)
Your insurance coverage

Reduce Costs With Insurance

Dental insurance can cut the cost of your root canal in half, depending on your coverage. Several types of dental plans exist, and knowing what type you have is important before you schedule something like a root canal.

The American Dental Association says these are common types of dental plans:

  • Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO): These plans require that you work with a dentist in a network, and fees for services are typically fixed.

  • Dental Health Maintenance Organizations (DHMO): Dentists must provide contracted services at no or reduced costs.

  • Indemnity plans: Companies typically pay a percentage of the fees, and consumers must pick up the rest.

  • Point of Service: These plans require people to seek care from network providers or pay more to use someone else.

  • Discounts: Some programs offer discounts for care, but they don’t pay for anything in full.

On average, dental insurance covers 30% to 50% of a root canal. However, the type of plan has a deep impact on the cost.

Your dentist should help you use your insurance plan properly. For example, your dentist should document why you need a root canal and submit paperwork to the insurance plan. Your dentist office should also provide an estimate that tells you how much you’ll pay after insurance.

Comprehensive dental insurance often costs more in monthly premiums but will have lower deductibles and out-of-pocket costs for procedures like root canals. Basic dental insurance is often free or very low cost on a monthly basis, but the deductibles are higher, and it may only cover a small portion of your root canal procedure.

The average cost of a root canal when you have insurance coverage ranges from $200 to over $1,000. Again, specific pricing will depend on the tooth’s location, the difficulty of the procedure, and where it is performed.

Dental insurance will cost you more up front, but it can save you a lot of money down the road when you need procedures like this.

What to Expect

When getting a root canal, you need to be prepared for costs that might be billed as additional charges. A root canal will often require the following:

  • Multiple visits to the dentist or specialist

  • Medications both before and after the root canal

  • A crown on the tooth

Talk to your dental provider ahead of time to learn about all the potential costs that need to be considered for your root canal, so you are not surprised later.

Offsetting the Cost

Aside from dental insurance, you can opt for a dental discount plan that can save you money on dental procedures, such as a root canal. These plans usually have an annual fee. They are membership programs that work with a network of dentists to offer discounted rates. 

You will need to pay for your services when you get them, but the cost is generally lower than it would be without such a plan.

Dental offices often offer discounts if you pay the entire cost in one payment up front or in cash. Many also offer dental payment plans to help you spread out the cost over a longer period of time, making the payments more manageable. Often, you can use an HSA or special tax-exempt medical savings account to pay for the procedure as well.

Community dental centers and dental schools may offer root canals at lower prices. Many states have programs to help people afford dental care and necessary root canals when cost is a deterrent. Nonprofit organizations, such as Dental Lifeline, run programs to help people afford the dental care they need.

Root Canal Cost Frequently Asked Questions

How much you pay for a root canal will depend most on whether or not you have dental insurance and what kind of coverage you have. 

If you have a comprehensive dental plan, much of the cost of your root canal may be covered. Other fees, like exam and x-ray charges, may also be partially covered. 

With insurance, you may pay around $200 to $1,000, depending on the extent of your coverage. If a crown is required, your out-of-pocket costs may increase, especially if a more expensive material (like porcelain) is chosen for your crown.

The most affordable choice for your root canal will depend on the options available to you.

If you have insurance, choosing an in-network dentist and going over all out-of-pocket costs beforehand can help ensure your bill is as low as possible.

For those without insurance, some dentists offer discounts and reasonable payment plans. Again, dental schools are another good option. Some offer low-cost treatments performed by faculty or supervised clinical students.

There may also be local resources available, such as a community dental clinic or nonprofit organization offering affordable emergency dental treatments. Call your local health department and search online for what’s in your area.

If you have an infected or abscessed tooth, it’s imperative that you get treatment. Not only is an infected tooth very painful and uncomfortable, but it’s also dangerous.  The infection could spread to other teeth or parts of your body. 

Not getting a root canal could lead to the need for a tooth extraction. A tooth extraction is the only other option for an infected tooth, but it is beneficial to save your natural tooth with a root canal if possible. A missing tooth could lead to oral health problems in the future, and tooth replacement options (such as dental implants and bridges) can be costly.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.