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From Start to Finish: The Average Duration of a Root Canal

September 8, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — dsprings @ 1:08 pm
An X-ray of the pulp chamber of a tooth that needs a root canal

Root canals often carry an air of mystery and dread due to their (unfounded) reputation. This can leave many patients curious about what to expect during the treatment. One question that frequently arises is, “How long does a root canal take?”

If you’re concerned with the time the treatment will take out of your day, continue reading to learn more about root canal treatments and the time investment involved with the process.

What Is a Root Canal Treatment?

To understand this procedure, you must first know what’s inside teeth. Your tooth is comprised of three layers—the enamel, the dentin, and the pulp.

  • Enamel is the hard outer shell that you see when you look in the mirror.
  • Dentin is a layer of crystalized calcium tubules that makes up the strong bulk of the tooth.
  • Pulp is the innermost chamber of each tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are.

Once an infection or decay reaches the pulp of your tooth, it can cause extreme pain. Infected pulp also likes to spread into the surrounding gums and bone in your jaw. For these reasons, a root canal is necessary.

Your dentist will use their instruments to open a small hole into the pulp chamber to clean the infected roots. To do this, they use small files that scrape away the infected pulp and rinse the area with a cleaning solution.

After this, your dentist will seal off the roots of your tooth with a special rubber and then fill the tooth in. Depending on the severity of the root canal, your tooth may also need a crown to be placed on it.

How Long Does a Root Canal Treatment Take?

A typical root canal takes around 60 minutes. However, the time depends on several factors such as the placement of the tooth, the number of teeth and roots, the type of tooth being worked on, and if you need a crown. All of these variables can affect the time the treatment takes.

A tooth near the back of your mouth will be harder to access, so your dentist will have to be more careful and move slower. If you have more than one tooth that needs a root canal, or if you need a crown, the treatment can take more than one visit.

Different kinds of teeth also have different root structures. While canines and incisors only have one root, premolars have two, and molars have four roots. The greater the number of roots, the more time the procedure takes. Below are some estimates based on the tooth type:

Canines and Incisors – 45 – 60 minutes

Premolars – 60 minutes

Molars – 90 minutes or more

Root canals are a common dental procedure aimed at relieving pain and preserving your natural teeth. Regardless of the time it may take, it’s essential to prioritize your oral health and seek prompt treatment when needed.

About the Author

Dr. Shandy Condie loves being able to make a difference in the lives of her patients by improving their smiles and keeping them free from pain. She received her dental doctorate from the Creighton School of Dentistry and trained at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies where she learned advanced techniques for cosmetic, restorative, and neuromuscular dentistry. If you need a root canal treatment or other emergency care, call Desert Springs Dental Group at (480) 279- 3100 or visit the website to book an appointment.

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