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Root canals: costs and process explained while bursting myths

Root canals: costs and process explained while bursting myths

‘You need a Root canal’ is a phrase that can make many people break into a sweat. The most commonly asked questions are: will it be painful? And how much will it cost? Both very valid questions!

Root canals are required when the nerve area of a tooth gets infected with bacteria. The most common cause is a decayed tooth with a large cavity that extends into the nerve area of a tooth called ‘pulp’. An abscess forms below an infected tooth and this can sometimes be very painful and sometimes not be painful.

Once a tooth has an abscess there are only two ways we can get rid of the infection permanently – either a root canal treatment or an extraction. Your dentist will discuss both options with you and based on your situation you can decide which treatment is more appropriate for you.

A root canal treatment can help save your tooth for longer so you can still use it for smiling and eating. It is important that the tooth still has enough of your natural tooth structure remaining so that it can be restored after the root canal is completed.


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To complete a root canal treatment, we usually require two or three appointments that are each at least a week apart. Root canals are technically difficult procedures and a high level of skill is required to navigate the tiny canals in your teeth and remove the bacteria that have infected your tooth. An antibacterial medicament is applied at the end of each visit and this helps to further reduce infection. While you are receiving this treatment, you will be numb so it should not be painful. Sometimes when the tooth is very infected, anesthetic doesn’t work as well. In this case you may be prescribed antibiotics and pain relief to calm down the inflammation first. After the numbness wears off, the area may feel a little tender for a few days. Over the counter pain relief medication can help calm this down and make you feel better.


At A+ Dentists, we focus on both carrying out high quality treatment and your comfort. All our dentists are known to be gentle and caring. You can read more about what people who have been treated at A+ Dentists have to say about their experience here and here.


The cost of carrying out root canal treatment varies based on the tooth, number of canals and overall complexity. Below is a general guide;

Front teeth/ 1 canal~ $750-$950 

Premolar teeth/ 2 canals~ $950-$1150

Molar teeth/ 3 canals~ $1150-$1350

Extra canals~ $200-$300 each

Any extra appointments~ $200-$300 each

***Please note all costs quoted above are for the root canal treatment only. Contact A+ Dentists for the costs of the final restoration. ****


After root canal treatment has been successfully completed, it is important to keep looking after this tooth. Teeth with root canals are a little weaker than natural teeth. They are more prone to cracking or breaking. It is usually recommended to place a crown on these teeth. It is also ideal to monitor root canal treated teeth for life.

FAQs answered:

How long do root canals last?

Root canal treated teeth can last a long time, even a lifetime. How long this tooth lasts depends on how well it is looked after. The most common reason for a root canal to not work is the tooth either breaking or getting decayed again.  Teeth with root canals, esp back teeth with chewing surfaces, should ideally be crowned to protect them from cracking. These teeth can get decayed again as well so brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, limiting sugary foods and drink is still very much required.

Why does it cost that much for a root canal?

The equipment and materials we use to carry out root canals are of the highest quality and many are manufactured in specialist factories in Switzerland and Europe. Root canal treatment is delicate, takes time and years to master. A high level of precision in every aspect is required to carry out a root canal treatment.

Does root canal treatment cause cancer?

You may have heard that root canals cause cancer. This myth is based on research that was carried out in the 1920’s. It has long been proved that root canals do not cause cancer and are in fact an effective way of maintaining your natural teeth.

Why do we need root canal treatment? Can antibiotics not get rid of infection like any other body part?

Antibiotics have changed the way most infections are treated so why can we not just get rid of the infection in our tooth with antibiotics? This is because antibiotics are transported via blood vessels and so unable to reach all aspects of our teeth to kill the bacteria. Therefore, bacteria have to be removed mechanically and killed with medicaments placed directly into the canal.

Why is root canal treatment recommended over extracting the tooth?

Your natural teeth are unique and while there are many options available for replacing teeth, none can match nature.

What if I cannot afford a root canal treatment?

To help you with this, we have partnered with Q card, Gem visa and Part Pay. You can find out more about this here –


The above is considered general information. If you would like to find out more about root canals for your own tooth, please contact us to book a time to see one of our lovely dentists for a consultation appointment. We usually save emergency appointments, so please contact us as soon as possible if you are in any pain or discomfort due to your teeth or gums.


We are a well established dental clinic located in Howick in Auckland & are proud to be serving the East Auckland Community – Howick, Cockle Bay, Highland Park, Half Moon Bay, Pakuranga, Botany, Botany Downs, Dannemora right through to Flat Bush, Ormiston, Bucklands Beach as well as the wider Auckland regions.

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