Root Canal Cost: $1,000 per Molar

cost of root canal therapyThis survey found the average root canal fee is $740 for a front tooth and $1,000 for a molar, with three out of four dentists saying they perform posterior root canals.

“Root canals are the most predictable and profitable procedure in dentistry,” said one. “Dentists who do not do endodontics lose on the average $90,000.”

Cost of root canal therapyRoot canal therapy costs somewhat more from endodontists than from general dentists, especially on posterior teeth. Of course, an endodontist is will perform a difficult root canal, while a general dentist might refer out that endodontic procedure.

How much a root canal costs depends on where you live; dentists in the Pacific states reported charging the most.

In fact, a simple root canal on a front tooth may cost more in the Pacific than a more difficult molar root canal in many other areas, including the Northeast.root canal fees

Here are some dentist comment about root canals:

  • “I’ve been a DDS full time for 25 years and I have not done a root canal in over 14 years… I have never been happier than since I was told by a dental consultant: what would you rather do on a Saturday morning, play golf or do a root canal?” (Utah dentist)
  • “More GPs should do their own endo.” (Florida dentist)
  • “Root canal therapy is a big money maker. It’s a great way to beef up the bottom line.” (California dentist)
  • “Root canals are the most predictable and profitable procedure in dentistry. Dentists who do not do endo lose on the average $90,000.” (Virginia dentist)
  • “Your fee should represent what it would cost to replace the tooth if it were lost.” (Maryland dentist)
  • “Natural teeth are better than fake ones (dentures or implants).” (West Virginia endodontist)

Read more: How Much Root Canals Cost from Dentists and Endodontists


About Julie Frey

+Julie Frey is the Editor of TheWealthyDentist.com blog. She has dedicated her career to Internet marketing and communications, working side-by-side with dental marketing guru Jim Du Molin since 2006. She has a degree in Linguistics from Stanford University, has a passion for language and writing, and lives in San Francisco.

  • JL

    Your numbers for the northeast are so far off it’s not funny! Here in NY City I see the average charge for a lower first molar at about $1650 to $1950! What zip codes did you get $1000 for a molar! JL

  • http://www.thewealthydentist.com Jim Du Molin

    Seemed low to me too, but that’s how the data came in.

    We don’t track by ZIP code, just by state, which we then group into regions. So “The Northeast” isn’t just NYC, it’s rural Maine too.

    For most fees, the Northeast and the Pacific states have the highest numbers in the US. So seeing fees in the Northeast as low as in the South is indeed unexpected. But these numbers include 63 respondents in the Northeast, which is more than enough to be statistically relevant.

  • http://www.davidnelsondds.com Luanne

    Curious – does that include the final restoration, too? Although we are not an insurance driven office, I often study several different maximum allowable fees listed by different insurance plans. Many insurance companies list the RCT fee and then in parenthesis add that the fee does not include the final restoration.

    Nonetheless, even without the cost of the final restoration added, I agree that the averages listed here are low.

    Thanks for continuing to have such interesting topics and postings!

  • http://www.bondibeachdental.com.au/sydney-dentist.html hannah

    Root canal treatment is done when there is no chance of tooth to be saved, and the patient doesn’t want it to be extracted although decayed. It is done to kill the vitality of the tooth and then filling it with mechanical components, and placing a cap over it.
    The procedure involves the removal of the nervous elements of the tooth which have been infected or decayed already due to microbial action or any physical pressures.
    Root canal Treatment

  • Thom

    Why not get a implant instead of a molar root canal. They are stronger, and have a higher long term success rate. And they do not get cavities.

  • GMF

    Had a root canal redone yesterday – cost- $1500! Talk about being profitable for 45 minutes of work. He doesn’t even do the final filling as I have to go to my dentist for that. It’s time that the Congress looks into dental work if it’s going to reform the health system.

  • barbara

    I’m having one today. Top molar, 1500 dollars, Western Virginia.

  • Mike

    You can get them done all day long in Lower Burrell, PA by a good guy for 600 dollars cash, it will take 1 hour.

  • Angelizabeth Perez

    I had one today cost 3000 I paid 340 today and have to pay 270 in 15 days to get my crown.

  • mike

    Rob you And without a gun

  • JT

    I had a root canal on a back molar (#15) done this August in Atlanta by an Endodontist. It was very difficult as my mouth is rather small, so they did it in two visits – filling it in on the second visit. It cost $1695 total.

  • angelina

    where i come from … not the USA that is, root canals done by professionals who got their licenses from US universities cost a mere 35$ to 60$ depending if it’s a dentist or a professor who’s operating the root canal & the cost includes the final filling hehehehe… u guys are litterarly being rubbed out of ur money, better come here and do ur dental work all ur teeth together would not cost u a 1000$… As for implants, average cost is 1000$

  • Lynn

    First of all, I would be suspicious of anyone doing a molar root canal in 1 hour. 95% of upper molars have 4 canals which can not be treated properly in an hour. Endodontic failure often occurs when root canals are done quickly without treating the entire root canal anatomy thoroughly. Average cost of $1000 is so way below what it usually costs for a molar, but then again, if those dentists are only spending an hour, that is actually pretty expensive because the odds are it will need to be retreated in the future. Buyer beware!

  • Jeff

    My root canal after insurance will be $750, the insurance is picking up about $950.

  • Lyn Parker

    Dentists are legal thieves. I have had so many root canals that have resulted in the tooth being extracted 2-3 yrs later, it’s heartbreaking.
    The goverment should look into this, here in the Pacific NW a r/c is $1800 with a crappy patch on the crown.

  • joetheinformed

    Root canals are for rich people. Poor people just have to suffer. This country is such a joke the way we treat our fellow countrymen. Greed and excess is the norm, screw the poor. My dentist just gave me an estimate for a root canal, $1775. I have insurance so I would have to pay $623. Who in this economy has over $600 laying around to support some dipsh@t dentist’s porsche and yacht? We need to do something about this. It is a disgrace.

  • gerson

    hey, that the cost of good dental care. Would you rather have no teeth. Pay it and be happy we live in the USA

  • gerson

    My dentist gives me 50% off all procedures. Im happy to pay him Cash cause it beats Dental plans which only give 10-40 percent off…..

  • dr evan levine

    http://open.salon.com/blog/dr_evan_levine/2010/01/12/why_are_dentists_immune_im_not_smiling

    Read this and tell me if you think dentists deserve to make more from a root canal than a heart surgeon from a coronary bypass

  • Charlie

    I just had number 30 rear lower molar done, the root canal itself was about 600 and they spent an hour on the tooth and cleaned it out very thoroughly. The crown was 1200, so 1800 total. I am in Grand Rapids, MI. Paid cash.

  • ~Ken*

    NYC rate (for me at least):
    molar #14 root canal therapy – $1300
    #14 crown buildup w/pin – $225
    #14 porcelain crown – $1150
    front tooth #10 root canal therapy – $700
    #10 crown buildup w/pin – $225
    #10 porcelain crown – $1150

  • Mila

    I actually had to get 3 root canals done. 1 front tooth and 2 molars.

    The front tooth was beyond saving so i had that pulled and replaced with a ‘same day dental implant’ which cost $8000 (AUD). You can get an implant for $4000, just takes longer (6 months) to integrate into your mouth.

    I then had one of the back molars done which cost around 2200 (AUD) for root canal and cap. The other molar has just been cleaned out, got putty in it at the moment takes several weeks just to do one tooth though so its quite a lengthy and expensive procedure to get done… but it’s worth it, and if you have the money it shouldn’t be a problem to make sure you keep your beautiful smile intact for as long as you can.

  • Robert Kubler

    Moral Root canal in Los Angeles $800, pin and crown + 800 = $,600 total

    Moral Root canal in Tijuana, Mexico across the border $225, pin $75, Crown $250 = $550 total.

    Nearly a $1,000 in savings.

  • mary kruse

    I just had a root canal done with a permanent cap the cost was 1700 dollars. I have 4th stage breast cancer and take a medicine called zometa. because of this medicine my teeth cannot be taken out so even though i am on a fixed income and have medicare i have no choice but to pay this or be in pain. i dont know what i will do the next time one of my teeth goes bad. this cost is impossible along with all my other expenses.

  • John

    I just payed $1250 for a front bottom tooth in Tulsa, OK… second time, same tooth. Was told “I’m going to drain it real quick also” this took 5 minutes and an extra $150. In retrospect I would have rather pulled it out and not worry about dealing with it a 3rd time.

  • Tatiana

    I worked with a dentist who also taught at a prominent dental school. Needless to say, this dentist, did more root canals than I have ever seen before! He would open the tooth, go and play on the internet whilst leaving the patient in the chair for the appropriate amount of time needed for a compete root canal. Well, I never saw him chair side actually performing a debridement and lavage of the canals. After the root canals, a crown was immediately placed on the tooth! Then some how the patient was experiencing pain and infection on the ‘root canaled’ tooth.
    They would come back with infections that had gone through the bone and were visibly draining. When the root canal failed an impant would be suggested… what was the question are root canals profitable, at this practice they were!

  • http://www.centralohiorootcanals.com Root canal surgery

    Root canal treatment is very expensive but should be treated very professional, because if minute mistake it has to retreated again. Its very painful.

  • Kev

    Austin Tx
    Performed by a dentist.

    I just had a root canal on a #19 molar. It was quite a difficult one that took about 3 hours to work on.

    Cost
    $950.00 for root canal therapy
    $150.00 for build up
    1100.00
    The crown will be another $1000.00

    Now had I gone some place like Omni, Rose, or Castle with AmeriPlan or some other discount plan it may have cost $500-600. Maybe good work, maybe bad work on the root canal.

    However, if it gives me trouble within 2 weeks or so from today I will have it pulled. Dentist tend to push the limit when a tooth is questionable and they have admitted it but yet go ahead and do it anyway.

    Fleecing patients is a 2 way street. The question is, are the doctors cheating us or are we cheating them if we do not have the funds to pay and end up saying…”screw it”..I have no credit to destroy I cant so I wont pay?

    Personally I think the doctors and the ones that don’t pay their medical bills are both equally liars and cheats.

    So I reckon that makes us even. We square!!

  • Ken

    I need a root canal on my back upper molar and the tooth in front of that (which is a crown I’ve had for 20 years) needs a root canal as well . Then there is a open space in front of that tooth . My Periodontist want to do the 2 root canals for a total of $2000 . Then my regular dentist needs to do the build up and the crown in back and a bridge from the old crown area to go over the gap . I am sure the last few procedures are going to cost me another $3000 . Not looking forward to it . Hey Robert , what Dentist in Mexico did you go to ?

  • SSG

    Hi I’m from Singapore. I just consulted my neighborhood dentist on my lower molar (3rd one counting from the back of the mouth)that causing me pain at night only. He suggested root canal treatment (including the crown) for SGD 1,750. Btw root canal treatment saves teeth that would otherwise be extracted. Although the pulp(that contains nerves & blood vessels)has been removed, the tooth is still anchored in the bone & can still be used for biting & chewing.

  • Adventurer

    So it pays to take a nice vacation to Mexico- and while you are there get some dental work done too–

    haha-

  • jay

    #30 molar:
    root canal= $500 (endo clinic)
    crown w/buildup incl.pins = $1,100 (dentist)
    #14 molar
    same as above = $1,100
    $2,700 to save 2 teeth!

  • http://www.alpharettaendo.com Endodontist

    As a root canal specialist, I thought I would offer my opinion. More than a third of my treatments are repairing and fixing previously treated teeth that failed, most often within 10 yrs after initial treatment. I am fixing errors that I would not have made, most often ones that are easily avoidable and usually much harder to correct than to do right the first time.

    If you are paying for a 1 hr root canal, you will get the quality of a 1 hr root canal. We spend on average considerably more time for even what I would consider easier molar treatments. Most people would agree they do not want their doctor on a time crunch when performing treatment, but those who do endo at lower rates in my area are doing 10-15 treatments a day (I perform ~4). It is a different treatment model and be prepared for different treatment outcomes.

    Most often, you get what you pay for in life. If you want to fly to mexico or thailand to have your root canal treatment for a fraction of the cost, be prepared to shell out extra when I have to spend 5 hrs retreating and fixing your tooth (if I even can) trying to remove whatever non-FDA approved material they put in there.

  • CS

    I had a consult with an endodontist who was recommended by my friend’s dentist (mine didn’t know anyone). There is an infection in the bone between two teeth (#7 and #8), though mostly in the front tooth. Because it is between the two and in the second one the canal is closing up and may need surgery if the infection can’t be found,this is a complicated case – according to this endodontist. Most dental receptionists I spoke to (time is a major element here)said that complicated cases get referred to an endodontist. I really hope this guy was truthful, because his cost for the two is three times the price of any general dentist. And of course, I still need crown work on both.

  • Dipan Patel

    Go to India or China or even Mexico. Get in touch with sone good dentists there and get all the work done for less than 1/2 the prices. consider the week or so you might need to spend there as bonus vacation time. Even considering the ticket prices you will still save money.

  • MS

    I had a root canal near my home in the Philippines. The dentist was a very experienced female who completed the procedure in two visits. She is not part of the dental tourism circuit so her prices are not inflated. She was not only an excellent clinician, she was (is) a gentle soul who obviously cares for each patient. Her staff was equally wonderful. The best part, I am pain free for the first time in a year, and the gum pimple has disappeared. Total cost for the entire procedure was about $320 USD! I couldn’t be happier. And btw–i had a root canal in the US on the same tooth three years ago, but the dentist messed up and that’s why I had to have the procedure again. There are some awesome dentists and orthodontists in the Philippines. You can fly here, have your dental work done, and get in a nice vacation for far less cost than the just the dental procedure in the USA.

  • Dan

    Within the past hour – quoted 2574.00 for root canal / crown???? In Delaware..

  • RTN

    It’s no wonder that Americans especially despise dentists and anything to do with dentistry work and put it off as long as possible, even if they know what’s “better” for them.

    A blog about the “wealthy” dentist? YIKES! People are already scared of the pain that teeth problems bring and already wary of the amount of money they know they will probably need to drop, but articles for dentists on how to make even MORE money from their patients?

    I know dentists, like all of us, need to make money and where there’s no problem with profitability… but THIS:

    “Root canals are the most predictable and profitable procedure in dentistry,” said one. “Dentists who do not do endodontics lose on the average $90,000.”

    Predictable, yes. PROFITABLE?! Thanks a lot!

    “Beefing up the bottom line?”

    GEEZ!

    This blog post in particular is doing a major disservice to both the dentists and their patients – advertising root canal therapy as a money maker… and a money maker only.

    As a dental patient who has undergone one root canal therapy and is in the middle of doing a second one on a different tooth, this post not only pisses me off because it reminds me of big corporations and their golden parachutes but it also… makes me sad as well.

    I should HATE root canal therapies like the plague – even moreso after reading this post… and yet I don’t. And as pissed as I am from reading this post, I cannot regret having my root canal therapy done because I cannot deny that root canal therapy has its use.

    8 years ago, my root canal therapy “saved” my otherwise dead tooth (just dead, no cavities and no probable cause) which – owing to its dead state – had caused me excruciating pain in my jaw from the abscess that had formed at the bone owing to the leaking of the dead nerve tissue into the surrounding root area.

    The root canal was successful (monitored closely over a year and then less frequently afterwards once it was confirmed to be in a stable state), the infection cleared rapidly, the pain has never come back, my body didn’t react to the materials used, and I didn’t need a crown, cap, or bridge.

    The cost was in the ballpark of $1000 to $1250 total for everything – x-rays, diagnostics, procedure, and filling – and my dentist was careful and took his time and completed the procedure in two separate visits.

    8-10 years later, that tooth which is MY tooth and not an implant is still holding strong and I haven’t had a single problem with it (or any surrounding teeth) since (much less needing to go to another dentist to get it “fixed”) and it is all thanks to that root canal therapy that I had done.

    Right now, I am experiencing the exact same pain problem in the premolar bicuspid on my right side and yeap. It needs root canal therapy done, too.

    I went to a different dentist this time as my previous dentist moved and I got quoted $1512 for root canal therapy on a tooth that was confirmed through multiple methods (including a voltage method that tested nerve sensitivity) to be as dead as my previous tooth had been and to be the culprit of the abscess in my jaw that was giving me the pain.

    The $1512 includes both the therapy procedure and the filling procedure and materials using Endocal 10/Biocalex versus the more typical gutta percha from a dentist who has 29 years of dental experience and many of them with using Endocal 10 successfully.

    Initially, I had gone to him for a free new-patient consultation where he examined my teeth and gums very thoroughly and then took 18 digital x-rays of all of my teeth and then would have me back in his office for a second visit (still free) for the actual consultation of what things he saw and what work, if any, he would suggest.

    I had mentioned the pain and my previous history and during the initial examination (not looking at x-rays), nothing presented itself. I was about to leave his office when he stopped me and asked me to step back into the examining room where he tested my teeth’s nerve sensitivities (without me knowing what he was doing) and confirmed that the tooth I had complained about was indeed quite dead (wanted to make sure that he could test my teeth without worrying about a false positive reaction from me from pain from something unrelated to that particular tooth) and then showed me that the x-rays showed the abscess in my jaw connected to my otherwise perfectly fine tooth.

    I went ahead and started the first half of the therapy and will be going back to him to have a subsequent look-over to make sure everything is progressing as it should before it will be carefully filled.

    After the lengths my dentist went to examine my teeth and then to test them (without my knowing) for proof of living or dead nerve tissue and then to explain and demonstrate to me (as if I didn’t know already the abscess was causing the pain, but whatever; at least he bothered to explain!) the death of the tooth and the resulting need for root canal therapy if I wanted to “save” my natural tooth…

    After experiencing relief from that pressure and pain from having the root canal therapy done…

    After 8-10 years of no problems with a root canal-ed tooth that has been confirmed on multiple occasions by different dentists…

    It makes me sad to think that root canals are being thought of as money making schemes with little to no regard for what they can (or sometimes, can’t) do for a patient who is indeed suffering from a problem like mine – sudden tooth death of a perfectly otherwise healthy tooth with no probable cause which has caused the dead nerve cells to leak into the end of the root and into the bone and causing an abscess to form which then can cause severely excruciating pain.

    It also makes me sad to think that my own dentist might be thinking the same way as some of these dentists are – looking at my pain and my problematic tooth as a money making device with little to no regard to me as a patient and a person.

    Yeah.

    If anyone ever wondered WHY people are so terrified and/or fed up with dentists, THIS blog post is a great example of why!

  • Metro11

    The difference between your dentist and those who come here and agree with this scumbag is that your dentist cares about your health, these other dentists are just scumbags who care about money and only money. Hopefully they are in the minority.

  • Metro11

    You are very arrogant. What makes you think that dentists in Mexico or Thailand aren’t as good as those here?

  • F_perd

    This is very simple. I am a native from Uruguay, South America. Here in Los Angeles, California, a root canal in a back molar and a crown, was quoted to me in 2500-3000 $. In Uruguay, with a dentist who got his title at USC’s School of Dentistry, with materials imported from the US, I got the same work done for 400 $. That was a long time ago, and I never had any problems with it.

    Guys, it’s very simple: the difference is not the procedure, the materials, or the professionals who do the work. The difference is their salary.

  • rich

    my wife is in manila now getting r/c procedure. she said…the dentist, (described like the way you described yours) is charging $500/25,000php. So, that is $180 more than what your dentist charged. I imagine that the tooth involved has more than one canal. (it better!!) However, it is still about half of what it would cost in the states. Still, I expected the cost to be more in line with what you paid. Also, her dentist is a general dentist…and NOT an endodontist….so, again I feel my wife is being overcharged, but what can I do. I am here in the states and she is there…..
    I lived in Cebu for a year and loved it.

  • raby

    This is not your place to justify, we know that is why we are complaining. The dentist I went here in US charge me $60 just of that little half inch black paper to see if my bite are correct or not, not to mention other stuff that were added.

    Then decided to go to India. I had done 4 root canals with Crown in Mumbai India and cost me only $1200 where as here in US it was coming to $10000 (ten grand) RIDICULOUS. I have no problem what so ever they were as competent as you guys…YES she was an Endodontist. Plus they follow the strict international standard procedures.

  • Professor D

    I had a root canal on a lower molar about 3 years ago after being referred to an endodontist (in the Allison Park area of Pittsburgh, PA) by my regular dentist. I dind’t really care what the cost was because it hurt so much at the time. I was pleasantly surprised when the endodontist simply accepted the $800 or so covered by my dental plan and didn’t charge me any more.

    I now need another root canal in another lower molar (tooth #19, actually) and I’m going back to the same endodontist. I wonder if he still accepts the default insurance coverage, but I guess I’ll find out.

    Fortunately my dentist is a college friend, but all of the other dentists I’ve known seem to be pretty decent guys. The concept of a “Wealthy Dentist” blog is somewhat disturbing though.

  • al

    1250 in south florida…. that does not include the crown.

  • Crickettscorner

    My son is getting a root canal. Three step process the first step (today) get rid of thespian and start antibiotics. He goes back in 10 days to have “posts” done and then a week or so later he will get the crown. Total cost 1 molar $2024 my cost because I have insurance is almost $1100. Seems very expensive but I don’t want him to lose the tooth. He had a tooth ache about a month ago for one day and then pain went away. The pain came back last night with a vengeance.

  • Celest V

    MY ROOT CANAL MOLAR COST 1700 DOLLARS

  • Anonymous

    It must be a supply and demand thing. Whatever the market is willing to pay.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YJ2AR5IDFMMYMXEDWZ3BHMOSFM DAMan

    The comment that disturbs me the most is, “Your fee should represent what it would cost to replace the tooth if it were lost.”

    How do you imagine this dentist would respond if a roofer, installing a new roof on his house, said, “the fee for our service will be the cost to replace your whole house if it were demolished”?

  • JennaBoBenna

    Just got quoted $3,000 for a first molar, bottom, left side. The dentist automatically knocked it down to $1657 when he heard I didn’t have insurance (and I think he took pity on a single mom with three young children sitting 10 feet away during my treatment). He’s letting me pay this down in installments, $275 per treatment session (3 sessions) and then after that it’s to be $104 a month for 8 months. This is still nowhere near cheap but it is what it is and I’ll just be glad to be out of pain.

  • Hguhl4me7

    This is an out rage. all you talk about is your bottom line and you have millions of people suffering because of toothaches, we know that oral care affect ones overall health. i just had a well know dental office quote me 1600 for a root canal, and crown, for 100 dollars a month which by the way iam a single mother of 4 bad credit and government assistance. and you can criticise me all day long and crudely ask why im in this position, but it would be discriminating against what is being poor and unfortunate, no one wants to admitt that some americans are in that predicament and some of us need real help.

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  • HVHANDYMAN

    you should have stayed in india, Your the problem with America, always’s looking for the cheapest
    way. Buy American,shop american/local.
    Suppor,t your local grocery store,check the tags,pay alittle more.
    STOP BEING SO CHEAP AND SPEND SOME MONEY.

  • Hvhandyman

    You can’t drink te water in Mexico, but you would get a Root canal there?

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