I’m not saying anything bad about dentists who do root canals, but their rates are crazy. I don’t have dental insurance and have been cash pay for years. Last weekend, my face swelled and my regular dentist said that I either needed a root canal or to have the tooth pulled. If I had the tooth pulled, he could do it, but if I wanted to save the tooth and get a root canal, I’d need to see a specialist. I’m only 45, so I want to save the tooth. The problem is, the specialist wants around $1,500 to do it and the extraction is around $400. Well, if I don’t have $1,500, I don’t have much of a choice. Plus, he says it might need even more treatment after the root canal which will probably cost another $1,000. That’s one expensive tooth!
My dentist put me on antibiotics but cautioned me that my infection would likely return as soon as they ran out. So, I have little time to work with to get this sorted, but not much. Before I give up on the tooth, is there not a cheaper way to get my dental work done?
This is a great question! Let’s break it down.
Find Out Why Your Dentist Wouldn’t Do the Root Canal
Some general dentists just don’t like performing endodontic treatment (root canals). Especially when you get into molars with three roots, it’s an intensive and time-consuming process. If your dentist passed on doing the work because he fits into this category, you may be able to call around and find a different general dentist who will do it. If he normally performs endodontic treatment but your case is unique—perhaps your roots curve or you have other considerations—and he referred you to an endodontist because he thinks it’s best for your situation, you’ll probably want to see an endodontist regardless.
Request Quotes from Nearby Dentists
Ask your dentist for a copy of your x-ray and the exact codes from your treatment plan. You can use the codes to call around and get pricing from other dentists in your area. It probably goes without saying that you likely do not want to go with the cheapest dentist. You want someone who has a good reputation taking care of this tooth. It is an investment, but it’s a worthwhile one. As you said, you’re only 45. You could literally have another 45+ years ahead of you without that tooth. And, without it, your other teeth will start shifting and you will likely have more trouble eating. If you can find a way to save it, you should.
You Can Find Ways to Make Treatment More Affordable
When you find a dentist who will do the root canal and you feel comfortable with him, then start digging into ways to make the treatment more affordable. A few tips:
- Ask for a cash pay discount
- See if the office will let you make payments
- Find out if the practice accepts programs like Care Credit (a medical credit card)
- Inquire about discount plans
Best of luck to you and your tooth!
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Raymond Bolt, an Auburn, AL affordable dentist.