June 6, 2012 6:17 am

$1,200 for a root canal…how can the average person afford that?


root canal

One of the reasons why I started Dental Departures was to help people get a better value for their dental care.  When I looked at the dental industry I was surprised at the lack of transparent pricing:  when I looked under the covers I found an industry ripe for disruption.

I spoke with my dad this evening and he told me he just spent $1,200 on a root canal.  He was in pain and I am happy that his dentist eliminated his discomfort by performing a root canal.

My dad is a retired teacher, worked hard all his life and made a comfortable living for himself and our family.  It seems to me that retirees are making less, paying more money out-of-pocket,  while everything else is getting more expensive every year.  One fun fact I have learned is that the inflation rate for dental care is 6.3% per year in the United States:  way above what my dad’s pension income is being adjusted for inflation.

As a regular visitor to Dental Departures, my dad found that he could have got the same  root canal at Thantakit in Bangkok, Thailand for $231 or at Sani Dental in Algodones, Mexico for $187 (two amazing clinics on opposite sides of the planet).  A root canal is a root canal regardless of whether it is in Canada, Thailand or Mexico so why does it cost so much more in United States?  Ultimately the price different isn’t due to quality (I have had dental care at both clinics) but due to the cost of labor and materials in the United States.

The fun part of building Dental Departures is the fact that I not only get to introduce my dad to the great values that exist globally for root canals but every other retiree who is feeling the financial pinch!



Root canal photo courtesy of Wonderlane 

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