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How Long Does a Root Canal Take? Time of Complete Process

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If you’re going to have a root canal soon, you may be thinking about how long the procedure will take. It’s normal to have questions like, “How long does a root canal take?” Knowing the timeline can help ease your worries and give you a better idea of what to expect. if you’re going to have a very normal root canal, expect 40-60 mins for the complete process. Otherwise, if you have a case other than normal, it might take more time (around 80-90 mins). Well, if you’re confused about what steps will be taken during this time and will there be pain in this process? Don’t worry, this article will tell you each step during the root canal, and how much time each step will take.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental treatment that helps fix a tooth when it’s infected or damaged inside. The dentist removes the infected part called the pulp, cleans the area, and seals it to stop any more infections. Root canals are usually suggested when a tooth has a lot of decay, is cracked, or has a deep cavity that reaches the inside part of the tooth.

How Long Does a Root Canal Take?

The duration of a root canal can vary depending on several factors, including the tooth’s location, the severity of the infection, and the complexity of the case. On average, a root canal procedure can take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes per visit. However, multiple visits may be necessary to complete the entire process. The time I mentioned is the average of all types of root canals while normal root canals take around 40-60 mins.

How long does a root canal take

The Steps Involved in a Root Canal Procedure

Now let’s see what are steps taken to complete the root canal, how much time each step takes, and in which step, you might expect pain.

Step 1: Initial Consultation and Examination

During the initial consultation, the dentist will examine your tooth, take X-rays, and discuss the treatment plan with you. This step helps determine the extent of the infection and whether a root canal is the appropriate course of action. This step should take a maximum of 20-30 mins.

Step 2: Administering Local Anesthesia

Before the dentist begins the treatment, they will make the area around your tooth numb. They do this by using a special medicine called local anesthesia. This helps you not feel any pain during the root canal procedure, so you can have a comfortable experience. This will be a 2-3 mins step.

Step 3: Accessing the Tooth Pulp

Then the dentist will make a small hole in the top part of your tooth (crown) to reach the infected part inside. This helps them take out the infected tissue in a good way. This will take 10-15 mins max.

Step 4: Cleaning and Shaping the Root Canals

Now the real work starts and this step will take at least 20 mins. The dentist will use special tools to clean the inside of the tooth’s roots. They will remove any infected material and shape the canals so they can be filled properly. This step is really important because it helps stop the infection from coming back again.

Step 5: Filling and Sealing the Root Canals

After the dentist cleans the canals very well, they fill them with a special material called gutta-percha. This material is safe for your body. Then, the dentist seals off the canals to stop any bacteria from getting back in. This will roughly take 15-20 mins.

Step 6: Restoring the Tooth

Sometimes, the dentist might put a temporary filling on your tooth to keep it safe until a permanent fix, like a crown, is put on in the next visit. The dentist will talk to you about the best way to fix your tooth (Will take around 40-60 mins).

How Long Does It Take for a Root Canal to Heal?

After the root canal procedure, it takes time for your tooth and surrounding tissues to heal. The exact healing time can vary from person to person, but it typically takes 3-4 days to a couple of weeks. However, it’s important to note that complete healing may take several months.

During the healing period, it’s normal to experience some discomfort or sensitivity. Your dentist may prescribe pain medications or recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to manage any discomfort.

When There Is a Need for a Root Canal?

Obviously, you will not go for a root canal just for the fun. There must be a reason that forces you to go for a root canal. Some of the possible reasons are given below:

  • Severe tooth decay: When your tooth has a lot of decay, the root canal can help remove the infected part and save the tooth.
  • Deep cavities: If you have deep cavities that reach the inside of the tooth (pulp), a root canal can get rid of the infection and save the tooth.
  • Cracked or broken tooth: When a tooth is cracked or broken and the inside is affected, a root canal can prevent more problems and keep the tooth in place.
  • Dental abscess: An abscess is a pocket of pus caused by a bacterial infection. A root canal can remove the infection and prevent it from spreading.
  • Sensitivity to temperature or pressure: If you experience pain or sensitivity while eating hot or cold foods, or when biting down, you may need a root canal to treat the infected or inflamed pulp.
  • Tooth trauma or injury: If you’ve had a hard blow or injury to your tooth, a root canal may be necessary to fix any damage to the pulp.
  • Repeat root canal treatment: Sometimes, a tooth that has had a root canal before can get infected again. Another root canal can treat the new infection and save the tooth.
  • Avoiding tooth extraction: Root canals can help save your natural teeth and prevent the need for tooth extraction. Keeping your natural teeth is important for your dental alignment, biting, and chewing.
  • Relieving pain and discomfort: A root canal can remove the source of tooth pain and discomfort caused by infection or inflammation. It can provide relief and improve your overall oral health.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does a root canal hurt?

No, a root canal should not cause significant pain. During the root canal procedure, the dentist will use local anesthesia to make sure you’re comfortable. After the procedure, you might feel some soreness or sensitivity, but you can manage it with pain medications.

Can a root canal be completed in a single visit?

In some cases, a root canal can be completed in a single visit. However, complex cases or infections that have spread may require multiple visits to ensure thorough treatment and proper healing.

How long does the numbness last after a root canal?

The numbness caused by the local anesthesia typically wears off within a few hours after the procedure. However, it’s not uncommon to experience some residual numbness for a little longer.

What should I eat after a root canal?

After a root canal, it’s best to stick to soft foods that require minimal chewing. Opt for items like yogurt, soup, mashed potatoes, or smoothies. Avoid hard or crunchy foods that could irritate the treated tooth.

Can I go back to work or school after a root canal?

Most people can resume their regular activities, including work or school, immediately after treatment. However, it’s advisable to take it easy for the rest of the day and avoid any strenuous activities.

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