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Root Canal: Treatment & Costs

In the past, teeth with damaged pulps were removed. Today, root canal treatment has provided dentists with a safe solution for saving the tooth and maintaining your natural smile.

What is Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal treatment is used to save a tooth with an infected or dead pulp and prevent the infection from spreading.

Pulp exists inside each tooth, providing the tooth with nerves and nutrients. The pulp tissue can sometimes die if it is damaged or diseased. A root canal saves the affected tooth by cleaning out the diseased pulp and reshaping the canal.

Once the pulp is removed, the root canal is cleaned and sealed for protection. A crown is then placed over the tooth to increase its strength.

What are the Symptoms of Pulp Tissue Damage?

Individuals may experience symptoms differently, but these are the most common symptoms of an injured or damaged pulp:

  • Pain when biting down and chewing
  • Oversensitivity of teeth with hot or cold food or beverages
  • Facial swelling.

These symptoms can also be a sign of other oral health issues, so they may not always indicate that you require root canal treatment. It is recommended that you consult a dentist if you are experiencing pain or discomfort.

Root Canal Pain

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Why Do I Need Treatment?

Your tooth cannot heal by itself. If left untreated, the infection could lead to:

  • An abscess forming at the root of the tooth
  • Deterioration of the underlying bone tissue
  • Severe pain.

Delaying treatment for too long can make it impossible for your dentist to save your tooth.

The infection can also spread to neighbouring teeth, potentially leading to:

  • Illness
  • Blood poisoning
  • Fevers
  • Swelling in the face and neck.

Do I Need an Endodontist for My Root Canal Treatment?

Endodontistry is a specialisation in root canal treatment; however, all dentists are capable of performing this treatment. Any Smile approved dentist can assist you with root canal, only patients with rare and special circumstances are referred to a specialist.

Simply click here to find a Smile approved dentist for your root canal treatment.

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What is the Root Canal Procedure?

A root canal is usually a simple procedure with little or no discomfort. It involves one to three visits to a dentist.

Here is a step-by-step guide to how the procedure saves your tooth:

  1. Your dentist makes an opening through the top of the tooth down to the pulp chamber.
  2. The injured or dead pulp is taken out and the root canals are irrigated and medicated.
  3. A temporary filling is placed in the opening at the top of the tooth in order to protect it between procedures. Alternatively, the tooth may be left open to drain for a couple of days.
  4. The temporary filling gets removed and the pulp chamber and root canal(s) are cleaned then filled.
  5. A crown is placed over the tooth. The endodontist performing the treatment will advise you to see your dentist to complete this last step.

Most patients report that having a root canal treatment today is as unremarkable as getting a filling.

Root Canal Treatment Costs

Regular patients can pay up to $1,448 (in QLD) for a root canal treatment, but Smile members pay just $870. See a breakdown of each individual root canal treatment and how much Smile can save you below.

Simply select your state for the relevant Smile member savings.

Root Canal Costs Comparison

Item No.Root Canal Treatment (1 Canal)*
Dental service
Queensland
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$49 - $72$43
022 x 2X-Rays$86 - $114$70
415, 417Molar Root Canal (1 Canal)$571 - $790$472
419Extirpation of Pulp/Debridement of Root Canal(s)$182 - $272$160
521Filling - 1 Surface - Front Tooth$148 - $200$125
Total Cost$1,036 - $1,448$870

Save on Dental. Learn How!

That's an estimated saving of $166 - $578!

You can read more about Smile savings and benefits here.

Important Notes on Dental Fees

Root Canal Costs Comparison

Item No.Root Canal Treatment (1 Canal)*
Dental service
Australian Capital Territory
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$53 - $70$48
022 x 2X-Rays$86 - $110$76
415, 417Molar Root Canal (1 Canal)$591 - $740$476
419Extirpation of Pulp/Debridement of Root Canal(s)$204 - $270$147
521Filling - 1 Surface - Front Tooth$151 - $185$140
Total Cost$1,085 - $1,375$887

Save on Dental. Learn How!

That's an estimated saving of $198 - $488!

You can read more about Smile savings and benefits here.

Important Notes on Dental Fees

Root Canal Costs Comparison

Item No.Root Canal Treatment (1 Canal)*
Dental service
New South Wales
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$49 - $72$42
022 x 2X-Rays$84 - $114$70
415, 417Molar Root Canal (1 Canal)$527 - $796$437
419Extirpation of Pulp/Debridement of Root Canal(s)$196 - $290$161
521Filling - 1 Surface - Front Tooth$152 - $200$127
Total Cost$1,008 - $1,472$837

Save on Dental. Learn How!

That's an estimated saving of $171 - $635!

You can read more about Smile savings and benefits here.

Important Notes on Dental Fees

Root Canal Costs Comparison

Item No.Root Canal Treatment (1 Canal)*
Dental service
Western Australia
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$51 - $74$44
022 x 2X-Rays$90 - $110$78
415, 417Molar Root Canal (1 Canal)$521 - $744$434
419Extirpation of Pulp/Debridement of Root Canal(s)$173 - $257$150
521Filling - 1 Surface - Front Tooth$143 - $185$121
Total Cost$978 - $1,370$827

Save on Dental. Learn How!

That's an estimated saving of $151 - $543!

You can read more about Smile savings and benefits here.

Important Notes on Dental Fees

Root Canal Costs Comparison

Item No.Root Canal Treatment (1 Canal)*
Dental service
Tasmania
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$49 - $65$45
022 x 2X-Rays$90 - $110$78
415, 417Molar Root Canal (1 Canal)$603 - $718$508
419Extirpation of Pulp/Debridement of Root Canal(s)$198 - $276$166
521Filling - 1 Surface - Front Tooth$159 - $182$141
Total Cost$1,099 - $1,351$938

Save on Dental. Learn How!

That's an estimated saving of $161 - $413!

You can read more about Smile savings and benefits here.

Important Notes on Dental Fees

Root Canal Costs Comparison

Item No.Root Canal Treatment (1 Canal)*
Dental service
Northern Territory
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$54 - $58$56
022 x 2X-Rays$94 - $106$90
415, 417Molar Root Canal (1 Canal)$548 - $652$487
419Extirpation of Pulp/Debridement of Root Canal(s)$196 - $240$176
521Filling - 1 Surface - Front Tooth$146 - $150$135
Total Cost$1,038 - $1,206$944

Save on Dental. Learn How!

That's an estimated saving of $94 - $262!

You can read more about Smile savings and benefits here.

Important Notes on Dental Fees

Root Canal Costs Comparison

Item No.Root Canal Treatment (1 Canal)*
Dental service
Victoria
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$50 - $74$42
022 x 2X-Rays$88 - $114$76
415, 417Molar Root Canal (1 Canal)$541 - $791$454
419Extirpation of Pulp/Debridement of Root Canal(s)$191 - $291$159
521Filling - 1 Surface - Front Tooth$153 - $200$129
Total Cost$1,023 - $1,470$860

Save on Dental. Learn How!

That's an estimated saving of $163 - $610!

You can read more about Smile savings and benefits here.

Important Notes on Dental Fees

Root Canal Costs Comparison

Item No.Root Canal Treatment (1 Canal)*
Dental service
South Australia
Regular patients pay

Example Smile fees
013Oral Examination - Limited$52 - $70$45
022 x 2X-Rays$90 - $114$78
415, 417Molar Root Canal (1 Canal)$510 - $670$446
419Extirpation of Pulp/Debridement of Root Canal(s)$166 - $250$142
521Filling - 1 Surface - Front Tooth$136 - $185$121
Total Cost$954 - $1,289$832

Save on Dental. Learn How!

That's an estimated saving of $122 - $457!

You can read more about Smile savings and benefits here.

Important Notes on Dental Fees
Last Updated: 5 July 2016
Source: Australian Dental Association's (ADA) annual dental fee survey conducted in October 2015.
Regular Patients Pay: The fee non-members 'could be charged' when visiting a regular dentist.
Members Pay: Members pay no more than this fee (the fee may be less) when visiting an approved dentist.
* This Dental Fee Example is a guide only. Your personal situation should be discussed with your approved dentist.
** You may require fewer or additional dental services which may increase or decrease the total cost.
*** This fee will vary depending on the approved dentist visited & will be reduced by 15% off the practice fee.


Is Treatment Painful?

The root canal treatment eliminates the pain caused by the tooth infection. A local anaesthetic numbs the tooth and surrounding area, making the procedure painless.

How Long Does Root Canal Treatment Take?

A single root canal treatment can usually take anywhere between 30-90 minutes.

What Are the Benefits of Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal treatment is a simple and painless procedure that offers many benefits, including:

  • Relief of pain and discomfort
  • Prevention of spread of infection
  • A healthy restored tooth that lasts a lifetime if properly cared for
  • No interruption or changes to other teeth
  • Normal biting and chewing sensation
  • You get to keep your natural smile!

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Are There Any Side Effects of Root Canal Treatment?

Returned infection is a possible, although uncommon side effect of root canal treatment. This can be the result of incorrectly cleaned root canals or an undetected crack in the root of a tooth. Returned infection can be aided with a simple retreatment.

Are There Any Risks?

Over 95% of root canal treatments are completed successfully. Occasionally, a case may require a repeated treatment if there are diseased canal offshoots that have initially gone undetected or if the canal filing instrument fractures, but this is very rare. Returning pain is a symptom of a root canal that has not been completed correctly.

How Long Does Recovery Take After Treatment?

The recovery period after root canal treatment is minimal, and you should be feeling completely back to normal after just a few days. Slight inflammation is normal and may cause discomfort for a couple of days or so. This can be treated with an over-the-counter painkiller, as well as a warm saltwater rinse.

Are There Any Alternative Options to Root Canal Treatment?

The only alternative is to have the tooth extracted. Unfortunately, this can affect the surrounding teeth, often causing them to move and leaving you with a bad bite. Although having your tooth pulled out may cost less initially, the space left will require an implant or bridge to be fitted, which can ultimately be more expensive than root canal treatment.

If you have the choice, keeping your original teeth is always the best option.

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