You feel your tooth hurt, and the ache radiates all the way up to your temples. You feel as if there is an electrical storm going through your brain that is convulsing in sheer excruciating pain.
You’re thinking that it’s the end. "Just take it out doctor, end it all."
Whilst the straightforward approach to resolving a damaged and inflamed tooth is simply to extract it, the consequences of doing so are quite jarring.
There will be a gaping hole in your smile, or a hole in the arch that makes chewing difficult.
When the inner layer of your tooth gets inflamed, you feel acute pain because the inner layer is known as the pulp and it is filled with blood vessels and nerves. Swelling here will give you some serious pain.
What exactly am I paying for during root canal treatment?
Root canal treatments involve your dentist trying to save your tooth instead of straight up extracting that painful little bugger.
I mean, you would not want to lose your teeth if you can save them.
During your treatment, your dentist will begin by drilling a hole in your teeth to access the pulp.
He or she will then try to remove the inner damaged pulp which has most likely been infected, with pin-like tools known as files.
In so doing, the source of your pain would be removed and your dentist would also disinfect the roots of the canals.
Following which, your dentist will most likely advise you to put a crown over the teeth for protection or fill it up with a tooth-coloured filling.
Most of the time, crowns are needed after root canal treatments, and fillings tend to be a temporary measure for you to get on by with your daily activities post-treatment.
(In case you missed it: Everything You Need to Know About Dental Crowns and Bridges)
Why do the costs for root canal treatment differ in Singapore?
There are 5 main determinants you need to consider when you do your root canal treatment.
Determinant 1: Specialist versus non-specialist
The first and most obvious deterninant would be whether you're visiting a specialist or non-specialist.
A root canal specialist (called an endodontist) would have received 3 years of post-graduate training in the said specialisation.
The endodontist would be far more skilled at such a treatment, with a much higher success rate than a normal general practitioner, so surgery fees might be much higher as a result.
Determinant 2: Location of tooth
|Incisors / Canine (Front Teeth)||$300+|
The second factor would be the tooth location. This is because the location of the affected tooth in your mouth would determine how difficult the procedure would be to carry out.
In public institutions, treatment for the front teeth (anterior teeth) costs at least $300+, and can go up to $700 - $800.
Pre-molars, which are your fourth and fifth tooth, cost $500 - $1000+ to treat. This is because instead of 1 root, they have 2 roots and a slightly bigger pulp chamber.
Molars are the most expensive due to their large size, and also because they could have up to 3 roots. The roots could also be positioned very awkwardly, which requires a lot of skill to navigate and cleanse during surgery. They cost a minimum of $750 - $1200+.
Determinant 3: Cost of crown
The third factor would be the cost of your crown, depending on the material you have chosen. You can find more details about the cost of crowns in Singapore here.
Determinant 4: Need for follow-up treatment
The fourth factor would be to take into account miscellaneous costs beyond surgery.
- Consults: $50 - $150
- X-rays: $20 - $250+
- Local anaesthesia: which cost around $50 - $500
Due to the complexities of root canal treatment, your treatment success rate is far from 100%. It might be a nice 90% with an experienced endodontist who has seen many cases, or a 50% at the hands of a less competent general practitioner.
If the treatment outcome is not ideal, you might need further retreatment. A safe estimate would be to take 30% off your original cost and add it back to the bill. Retreatment may be necessary if your surgery was mishandled and some residual infections were not cleared.
However, many times, retreatment is not due to the dentist’s fault during treatment, but rather poor oral hygiene after treatment by the patient, which leads to the tooth becoming reinfected.
As such, a general rule of thumb for handling root canal treatments would be firstly to see a dentist as soon as the tooth begins to ache, and to ensure that the tooth is well taken care of with great oral hygiene and brushing after treatment.
Determinant 5: Eligibility for subsidies
The fifth factor would be whether you are eligible for any subsidies or have insurance.
Fortunately, subsidies are available for root canal treatments for those who are in need of financial support or those belonging to the Pioneer Generation.
However, Medisave is not applicable since root canal treatment is not considered a surgical procedure in Singapore.
|CHAS / Pioneer Scheme||Subsidy|
|Blue||$164 to $256.50|
|Orange||$109.50 to $170.50|
|Pioneer||$174 to $266.50|
Insurance agencies may cover the 20% co-payment of your root canal, depending on your provider so it is recommended that you check with them first.
If you are seeking a trusted dentist for root canal treatment, you can send in a free enquiry to a few dentists on DxD here!
- Yoneda, N., Noiri, Y., Matsui, S., Kuremoto, K., Maezono, H., Ishimoto, T., Nakano, T., Ebisu, S., … Hayashi, M. (2017). Development of a root canal treatment model in the rat. Scientific reports, 7(1), 3315
- AlRahabi M. K. (2017). Evaluation of complications of root canal treatment performed by undergraduate dental students. The Libyan journal of medicine, 12(1), 1345582.