How Long Can a Root Canal Treatment Take?

How Long Can a Root Canal Treatment Take

Each of us would have faced discomfort or pain in our teeth sometimes. The tooth pain may be associated with various reasons, the cavity being the main one. The problem sometimes does not improve with general medicines and other dental hygiene procedures at home. It is when you need to see a dentist.

If the infection spreads deep in the root, a root canal is the dental treatment you might have to undergo. Before undertaking root canal treatment, you should have an idea about how long the root canal takes.

Let us know more about the treatment and time taken for the procedure.

An endodontist or a dentist can execute a root canal treatment. An endodontist is more specialized and highly trained in the procedure. The cavity (1) inside the root of the teeth is called a root canal that consists of pulp, veins, and nerves. It links the tooth to the bones and gums in your mouth.

When the teeth get infected or decayed, the infection spreads down to the roots, making the pulp infected or dead. A root canal procedure is the dental treatment in which the dead or infected pulp is pulled out.

Root Canal Procedure

Root Canal Procedure

There are many steps associated with root canal treatment for which you need to visit the dentist multiple times. Let’s have a brief look at the steps that are performed that will give you a slight idea on how long the root canal takes.

  • The dentist or an endodontist will first take an x-ray of the infected tooth and try to detect where the infection area is.
  • In the next step, they will numb the area around the infected tooth by injecting local anesthesia.
  • A hole will be drilled in your infected tooth using sterilized dental equipment to access the pulp cavity.
  • The dentist will pull out the infected pulp and any other decay from the inner chamber with utmost care. After removal, the cavity will be cleaned and rinsed several times with disinfectant and water.
  • After thorough cleaning, they will fill the cavity and seal it with some sterile material.
  • If you need to return to complete the root canal, they will fill the cavity with temporary material first.
  • In the last step of the root canal procedure, they will remove the material and clean the cavity again. Once cleaned, they will place a more permanent material that will help to protect the coalition of the natural tooth.
  • Once done with the procedure, they will cover the tooth with the dental crown to protect its shape and function.

How Long Can a Root Canal Treatment Take?

The time taken for a root canal treatment completely depends on the acuteness of the infection, inflammation, and the number of roots of the teeth. It may take several or just two visits with your dentist. If the infection is deep and spreads more, it might need more than two cleaning visits.

Generally, for a not-so-complex condition, it can take only two days. On the first day, the dentist performs the root canal therapy, extracts the infected pulp out of the cavity, and cleans the root.

On the second, they fill the chamber and seal it to prevent further bacterial infection. One sitting of the treatment may vary from 60 minutes to 2 hours, according to the complexity of the case.

Some of the factors that may lengthen the process of a root canal are:

  1. Soft tissue: If the infection spreads to soft tissue (2), the root canal will take longer.
  2. Tooth decay (3): If the cavity in the tooth is deep and large and persists in pain, multiple visits may be required to complete root canal treatment.
  3. Root formation of teeth: Some teeth may have a more complex formation of roots than others. It will take longer for teeth with complex formation (4) to clean.

Here is how long does root canal takes for different teeth-

  • Molars: Molars are placed at the back of the mouth. It may have up to 4 roots, increasing the cleaning time to more than 90 minutes.
  • Premolars: Premolars have one to two roots that can make the cleaning process around 1 hour.
  • Canines: These have only one root, so that makes the cleaning time 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Incisors: These have only one root, which takes up to 45 minutes to be cleaned.

Usually, dentists give another appointment to place the dental crown over the tooth. The treated tooth needs to be healed before the crown is permanently fixed.


People often get worried by the name of a root canal or any dental procedure. Understanding the procedure will help them overcome the fear. With care and maintaining oral hygiene, a root canal can become long-lasting, keeping bacteria at bay. A root canal treatment could be lengthy and expensive, but it is worth your tooth’s new and infection-free life.

Image Source : canva

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