Patients will often call Phoenix Endodontic Group and ask what appears to be a very simple question -How much does a root canal cost? Like I said this seems like a simple question, however there a so many factors involved in providing an answer that most dental offices do not like to take these kinds of calls.
For one thing, most times you have no way of knowing who is asking the question. Today’s miserable economic conditions have many patients focusing only on the cost (of whatever service). If your price for the root canal is $1.00 higher than someone else, the patient will drive 30 extra miles just to save a dollar on the root canal. I may be exaggerating a little, however sometimes I have to shake my head at the logic I witness.
Before we give an answer as to what is the cost of a root canal, my staff is trained to get some additional information. Here is just a short list of what else we need to know before we quote a price over the phone: Are you in pain?, Has the tooth had a prior root canal?, if so how long ago?, Do you have dental insurance?, if so with whom? Does the tooth have a crown?, if so how long ago was it placed?, Which tooth needs a root canal?, Who is your general dentist?, and did they refer you to our office?
I will stop there, but you can tell that in order to provide an accurate treatment cost, the endodontic office needs to have some information on which to base our answer. It is similar to calling up Discount Tire and asking them how much it costs for tires on your car. They will need to know what type of car you have, how old it is, what type of tires it has currently, etc. Whether it is tires or a tooth, diagnosing over the phone is never a good idea.
The other challenge when providing a quote over the phone to a patient is to be sure there is an “apples to apples” comparison. In order be sure you are talking about the same services it is helpful to know the three elements go into the root canal cost. They are as follows:
1) Exam and x-rays (if a dentist provides treatment, they are legally required to diagnose from x-rays they have taken themselves)
2) Root Canal procedure (the cost varies depending on which tooth needs treatment, molars being the most expensive)
3) Post/Core buildup (this seals up the access hole and allows for further restoration, crown etc. A lot of general dentists insist on doing their own buildups)
To further complicate the price quote is that if the patient has insurance and the treatment is completed in one visit, the insurance company may have limits on billing for all of the required x-rays. Additionally each endodontic office may offer different discounts and incentives, i.e. senior citizen or active duty military discount, professional courtesy, etc. At Phoenix Endodontic Group, we have our own discount program that is utilized based up on the individual needs of our patients.
Having gotten the disclaimers out of the way, I can now attempt to answer the specific question posed, How much does a root canal cost? If we go by dental insurance companies, they use a fee schedule which is broken down by zip code and dental procedure code for a molar root canal. The data is broken down from lowest to highest. I will use data from 2012 in the 85013 zip code. Here we go:
D0140 (Exam) $68.00 – $105.00
D0220 (X-ray) $27.00 – $ 37.00
D3330 (Molar Endo) $953.00 – $1,305.00
D2950 (Core Build) $248.00 – $347.00
Much more to come on this and related topics in future blog posts!