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How Much Is A Root Canal?
●May 14, 2021●4 minute read
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If a dreaded trip to the dentist has revealed you need a root canal, you may be wondering how much it’s going to cost you. Especially as root canal treatment isn’t covered under Medicare. As a result, this means dental work can be very expensive, especially if you don’t have private health insurance with dental cover.
In this guide, we give a rundown of what a root canal is, why it’s important, and how much it could cost you.
What is a root canal?
A root canal treatment, also known as an endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure that repairs the damage within the inside of a tooth. It involves drilling into a tooth and removing its soft centre (the dental pulp), and then filling and sealing this space. If necessary, the crown (the surface of the tooth) can be removed as well.
Source: Normanhurst Dental
A root canal can be used to save a badly infected or damaged tooth. When the dental pulp (the part that is removed during a root canal) is damaged, this can lead to an infection or abscess. Saving your own tooth is important, as real teeth work better than artificial teeth for biting and chewing. In addition, sometimes losing one tooth can lead to other problems. This is why if a root canal is needed, it is the best option to try and save the tooth if possible.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
While your dentist or endodontist is the only one who can identify if you need a root canal, there are some symptoms you can keep an eye out for. According to healthdirect, the signs of a root canal include:
- Severe toothache when biting or chewing;
- Sensitivity to hot or cold that lasts after the heat or cold has been removed;
- Darkening of the tooth;
- Swollen and tender gums;
- Pus around an infected tooth;
- Swelling of the face or neck;
- A loose tooth.
How much does a root canal cost?
The cost of a root canal will depend on a few factors including the number of root canals needed, the practitioner, whether you require a crown, follow-up appointments, and your health cover.
According to Smile.com.au’s National Dental Fee survey, the average cost of a root canal (without a crown) in Australia varies between $2,000 and $3,400. Specifically, a molar root canal with three canals costs $2,760 without a crown, or $4,760 with a crown.
Does private health insurance cover root canal therapy?
Depending on the type of extras cover you have, your private health insurance policy may cover root canal therapy. While general dental (e.g. general check ups, cleaning, x-rays) is included in most extras policies, major dental is typically only included in a higher level of extras cover. Generally, the waiting period for major dental treatment is six to twelve months.
Depending on your individual policy, your health insurance provider will cover a certain amount of the root canal treatment. Keep in mind that you may be left with a gap payment, depending on the cost of the procedure and how comprehensive your insurance policy is.
What happens if I don’t get a root canal?
If you need a root canal treatment and decide not to get one, this can lead to severe health issues. If left untreated, the infection could spread to the nearby tissues, including your gums and jaw, and lead to a painful abscess. In rare cases, it can lead to a heart attack, stroke or sepsis.
A root canal is typically the most effective option to treat a damaged or infected tooth. This is because removing the tooth is less effective, and antibiotics and fillings can’t be used to solve the issue.
If your dentist has advised you that you need a root canal, or you suspect that you may need one, it is important to prioritise this. While it is going to cost you money, it is vital to protect your health and wellbeing. Plus, no one likes being in pain all the time!
What if I can’t afford a root canal?
Unfortunately, dental work is not covered by Medicare. Even with private health insurance, a root canal treatment can still be costly.
If you need a root canal and don’t have the funds available, you may be able to talk with your dentist to try and negotiate a payment plan. This could spread out the costs of your root canal over a manageable period of time. If this isn’t possible, you may be able to use a credit card or personal loan to help pay for your root canal.
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Written by Rachel Horan
Rachel Horan is a Content Writer for Jacaranda Finance. Rachel has previously produced content for Brisbane City Council, Black & White Cabs, and Clubs Queensland. She has a Bachelor of Mass Communication with Distinction from the Queensland University of Technology.