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Low Cost Dental Root Canal Treatment

By Susan Braden

If one of your teeth has become infected, then you likely need a root canal. The very thought of this procedure scares many people, both physically and financially, due to common root canal myths

Understanding all you can about the procedure and how to find an affordable root canal treatment is vital for helping you overcome these fears.

Table of Contents

Root Canal Treatment

How Much Does it Cost?

Why Might I Need a Root Canal?

Can My Dentist Perform a Root Canal?

How Does Root Canal Treatment Work?

There are several steps to root canal treatment:

  • Understanding the process
  • Rubber dam placement
  • Accessing the nerve area
  • Cleaning your tooth out
  • Follow-up procedures

The first step to help you find low cost root canal treatment near you is to understand the process. There can often be some misconceptions about the price of the procedure because the full magnitude of the procedure is not understood.

Below are the steps your dentist will go through as he performs the root canal treatment.

1. Rubber dam placement

After your dentist numbs your affected tooth, he or she will stretch a sheet of rubber around it called a “rubber dam.” The primary purpose of a root canal is to clean bacteria out of your tooth. Since saliva contains bacteria, the rubber dam keeps your tooth saliva-free so as not to re-contaminate it while the procedure is being performed. Keep in mind though that some dental insurance plans may pay for part of the procedure, like any needed tooth extractions or crowns for the implants.

2. Accessing the nerve area

Your dentist must next access the infected area where your tooth's nerve tissue resides. Your dentist will use a drill to reach down to your tooth's pulp chamber. For a molar, this hole will be drilled through the chewing surface; for a front tooth, the access hole will be created on the back of the tooth.

3. Cleaning your tooth out

Next your dentist will clean out the pulp chamber and root canals in the tooth's interior. This is primarily accomplished by using “root canal files,” and by irrigating the tooth. The dentist will move the file up and down the tooth's interior in a twisting motion. This action scrapes and scrubs the sides of your tooth’s root chambers, thus cleaning out any bacteria, toxins, nerve tissue and related debris inside. With an irrigation process, your dentist will wash your tooth out periodically to flush out any excess debris.

4. Follow up procedures

After this procedure is complete, the dentist may either cap the hole with a crown, or seal it with a rubber compound called gutta percha and a sealer, which will work together to fill the area that has been cleaned out. If you need these follow-up procedures, you may need to visit your dentist on more than one occasion, depending on your tooth's complexity. This is typically an additional cost to the price of the root canal, however a discount plan or insurance plan can help cover this additional charge.

This procedure is not particularly painful, contrary to popular belief, and might not be as expensive as you may hear. If you have access to a dental plan or insurance, you could actually receive a very cheap root canal. If you are experiencing discomfort in one of your teeth, it would be wise to make an appointment with a low cost dental plan provider to see if a root canal is necessary. The sooner you address an infected tooth, the less expensive and time consuming your procedure will be.

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How Much Does an Average Root Canal and Crown Cost?

A root canal can cost anywhere from $850 to $1,200 without dental insurance, depending on the tooth in need of a root canal, your location and the type of dentist you see. With a discount dental plan, a root canal costs between $400 and $600.

A dental crown can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $1,700 without dental insurance. With a discount dental plan, crowns cost between $600 and $1,400.

These prices are estimates on the root canal and crowns themselves. There are other materials and treatments needed for this particular procedure.

Root Canal

  • $850 to $1,200 without dental insurance
  • $400 to $600 with a discount dental plan


  • $1,200 to $1,700 without dental insurance
  • $600 to $1,400 with a discount dental plan

If you need a root canal, you may want to look into getting a discount plan to help cut down the costs and make your dental work more affordable.

When using 1Dental’s dental plan, you can ask for a less expensive crown if quoted for a higher-priced crown. Ask for a comparable crown on our fee schedule. Usually there is another crown that would be just as good AND cheaper. All you have to do is ask!

Additional Costs

There may also be additional costs for things like dental x-rays or anesthesia.

Paying these additional root canal costs out-of-pocket can be tough, as they can add up to a lot of money if you have no dental coverage. However, discount plans such as the Careington Care 500 Series can help save you from 15-60% on procedures like root canals.

Check out our dental plan savings guide to see how much a root canal and crown can cost you, with the additional costs often associated with the treatment.

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Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

The most common causes of root canal infections are:

  • Cracked or chipped tooth
  • Deep or widespread decay
  • Repeated or large fillings
  • Multiple procedures on the tooth
  • Repeated irritation of the area

Does a Root Canal Weaken the Tooth?

A root canal strengthens a weakened tooth. Throughout a root canal procedure, the tooth's pulp chamber is cleaned out and the tooth is reinforced with a metal post.

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Can My Dentist Perform a Root Canal?

All dentists are trained to perform root canal treatment in dental school. Despite this fact, not all general dentists offer the procedure at their practice. Those that do, however, typically have cheaper prices for the procedure than seeing a specialist. Even if your general dentist does perform endodontic therapy, he may refer you to a specialist called an endodontist if he does not feel comfortable performing the treatment. Endodontists are also better trained for the trickier procedures.

While seeing a specialist is typically more expensive,endodontists have received extra training in performing root canals by receiving additional education after completing dental school. If you are more comfortable with a more experienced dentist, you may find that an endodontist is worth the extra money.

A root canal treatment can seem frightening at first, but once you are familiar with the procedure, it will seem a lot less intimidating. Because the bacteria can spread to the rest of your mouth, be sure to talk to your dentist about your options if you think you might need a root canal. Doing so will greatly improve your oral health as well as your overall wellness.

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