Dental Coverage for Root Canals
People must undergo root canal therapy “when the innermost layer of [their] tooth becomes inflamed or infected (or even in the case of dead tooth). This layer, called the pulp, contains [their] tooth’s nerves and blood vessels” (Nowak 2019). While people could just extract this tooth, root canal treatment could preserve it by “[removing] the pulp and [disinfecting] the canals of [their] tooth roots” because “[a] fully developed tooth can actually function without [the pulp]” (Gentle Dental 2017; Nowak 2019). While the treatment may be expensive for some people, dental insurance could cover part of the costs.
The costs associated with root canal treatment plans depend on many factors. For instance, the cost of root canals can depend on the “severity of the root’s damage,” the location of the affected tooth, “[complexity] of the root systems,” “the level of damage,” etc. (Nowak 2019). The prices of root canals can range between “$300-1500 for anterior teeth, $400-1800 for premolars, and $500-2000 for molars” (Nowak 2019). Afterwards, people need to pay for crowns which protect the treated tooth, since “the tooth may become more brittle because it is drier without the pulp. This can cause the tooth to appear grayer and slightly darker over the course of a few years, and the brittleness can cause the tooth to split, creating the need for it to be extracted” (Nowak 2019; Whisenhunt 2016). Rarely, people can get fillings, which costs less than crowns (Nowak 2019). People also have to factor the costs of initial consultations, X-rays, anesthesia, emergency fees, etc. (Nowak 2019). Also, if general dentists believe they cannot provide proper root canals, they could send patients to endodontists, who have more experience and education with root canals, but “regularly charge 30-40% more for their services” (Nowak 2019). Unfortunately, after treatment, if people experience any problems, such as infection, mistreated root systems, etc., people may need “to pay 20-30% more for root canal retreatment because it is more involved” (Nowak 2019).
Dental insurance could help people pay for root canals. Although dental coverage for root canals would cause patients to meet their annual maximum sooner, they could schedule their treatment plan into two years by getting root canals near the end of the year and the restorative treatment at the beginning of next year (Goodell 2018, 2; Nowak 2019). However, people should get root canals soon in order to prevent decay and damage (Nowak 2019). Before getting coverage, people have to fulfill a deductible, which is “usually less than $200” (Glover 2016). Dental insurance could cover root canals as basic procedures or as major procedures, a category that could result in less coverage (Walton 2018). Although health insurance usually does not cover root canals, it can cover “any antibiotics needed to clear up any infection” (Haney 2018).
People need to go through root canal treatment plans in order to save the affected teeth. Fortunately, dental insurance could help people pay for their root canals.
Gentle Dental. “Root Canals: The Ultimate Guide.” Gentle Dental, October 31, 2017.
Glover, Lacie. “How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?” nerdwallet, March 10, 2016.
Goodell, Sarah. “Dental Insurance: What’s Covered, What’s Not.” WebMD, June 12, 2018.
Haney, Kevin. “Does Private Health Insurance Cover Dental Work?” Growing Family Benefits,
Nowak, Simon. “How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?” Authority Dental, January 25, 2019.
Walton, Justin. “How does dental insurance work?” Investopedia. Last modified April 10, 2018.
Whisenhunt, Jannette. “Demystifying root canals: Educate your patients about restorative
dentistry in just a few minutes.” RDH, April 15, 2016. https://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-36/issue-4/contents/demystifying-root-canals.html.