How Long Does A Root Canal Take? What You Should Know

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on September 23rd, 2023

If you’re contemplating the idea of a root canal, chances are you’re grappling with tooth pain and a deluge of questions. One pressing concern you likely have is: how long does a root canal take? Relax; root canals are far from the dental horror story many make them out to be. This article aims to demystify the root canal procedure, offering you valuable insights into its duration, appointments required, costs, pain factors, potential risks, and post-procedure expectations.

How Long Does a Root Canal Take?

A root canal is more than just a “fix” for a damaged or infected tooth; it’s a crucial dental procedure that saves your tooth and alleviates pain. Performed by either a general dentist or a specialized endodontist, root canal treatment involves removing the infected or damaged tissue within the tooth, sterilizing the hollow space, and then sealing it with a special filling.

Young woman at the dentist

So how long does this process take? Well, the duration varies depending on several factors, like the severity of the infection or damage and the specific tooth involved. Generally speaking, a straightforward root canal could be completed in a single appointment lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to just over an hour. More complicated cases, however, could take up to 90 minutes. On average, you’re looking at a 30- to 60-minute time commitment for most root canals.

How Many Appointments Does a Root Canal Take?

The number of appointments you’ll need can also be variable. Most often, you can get by with just one or two appointments. During the first appointment, your dentist will focus on removing the infected tissue and cleaning the tooth. Depending on the severity of your case, you might need a follow-up appointment to ensure that the treatment was successful and to complete any additional work, like installing a crown for added protection.

What’s the Cost of a Root Canal?

When it comes to the financial aspect, root canals typically range from $600 to $1,600, including ancillary costs like X-rays and anesthesia. The type of tooth being treated can significantly impact the cost. For instance, a front tooth, which usually has between two to four canals, could set you back about $620. Treatment for these teeth may last up to an hour and 45 minutes, given their complexity.

Is a Root Canal Painful?

Root canals have a bad reputation for being painful, but most patients report only mild discomfort. After the procedure, you may experience soreness or a bit of pain for 24 to 48 hours, but this is usually manageable with over-the-counter pain medication. Everyone’s pain threshold is different, so what might be a slight discomfort for one person could be more intense for another. If the pain or swelling from a root canal persists or worsens after a few days, it’s essential to consult your dentist.

What Risks Come with Skipping a Root Canal?

Neglecting a needed root canal can have serious repercussions, including severe pain, acute infection, and abscess formation. In some cases, you could even risk losing the affected tooth. Additionally, untreated root canals can lead to bone loss and complications with adjacent teeth. The bottom line is clear: if you’re advised to get a root canal, don’t delay.

Root Canal Success Rate: How Effective is the Procedure?

A root canal boasts a remarkable success rate of over 95%. Yet, like any medical procedure, it’s not foolproof. Failures do happen, although they are the exception rather than the rule. Usually, adhering to your dentist’s post-procedure care guidelines can significantly enhance the chances of a successful outcome.

What to Expect After a Root Canal

Once the root canal procedure is completed—usually within 30 to 90 minutes—you’ll be briefed on post-operative care. Your dentist will provide specific instructions tailored to your situation. Adhering to these guidelines can expedite your recovery, which typically takes a few days. It’s common to experience some discomfort or sensitivity, but over-the-counter medications are generally sufficient for managing these symptoms.

By now, you should have a comprehensive understanding of what a root canal involves. From its duration and appointments to costs and post-procedure expectations, we’ve aimed to cover all the bases. Remember, a root canal is an essential dental procedure that not only alleviates pain but also saves your tooth. So if you’re in need, don’t hesitate to schedule that appointment.


Editorial Staff

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