A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. During a root canal procedure, the dentist would remove the nerve and pulp from the tooth. So how long does the root canal procedure take?
Depending on your situation a root canal generally takes half an hour to an hour to be done. However, to be on the safe side you should think that it can go beyond 60 minutes, like 90 minutes depending on several factors.
In the process, the dentist will clean your tooth inside and seals it. This procedure is also known as endodontic therapy. It is important to note that a root canal does not always mean that the tooth will need to be extracted.
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Causes of Teeth Decay
Many different factors can contribute to teeth decay, including:
Bacteria are one of the most common causes of tooth decay. When plaque and tartar build-up on the teeth, it provides a food source for bacteria. These bacteria produce acids that eat away at the tooth’s enamel, causing cavities.
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ii. Poor oral hygiene
If you do not brush and floss your teeth regularly, plaque and tartar can build up on the teeth. This negligence can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. The best way to prevent this is to brush and floss your teeth at least twice daily.
Your diet can also contribute to tooth decay. Foods high in sugar and acid can damage the enamel of your teeth. Eating a balanced diet and limiting sugary and acidic foods are essential.
Smoking is also a significant contributor to tooth decay. The nicotine in cigarettes and cigars can damage the enamel of your teeth and promote the growth of bacteria.
v. Dry mouth
A dry mouth is a condition that occurs when there is not enough saliva in the mouth. Saliva is important because it helps remove food and bacteria from the teeth. If you have a dry mouth, you may be at a higher risk for tooth decay.
Related article: Why Are My Teeth Yellow When I Brush Them Every day?
How Long Does a Root Canal Take?
The length of time it takes to complete a root canal depends on some factors, including:
i. The severity of the infection
It may take longer to clean out the infected tissue if it is severe. The cleaning process is called debridement, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. For a mild infection, debridement may only take 10-15 minutes.
ii. The number of canals
The number of canals in the tooth also affects the time it takes to complete a root canal. If there is only one canal, the procedure will be shorter than if there are multiple canals. The average root canal takes between 60 and 90 minutes.
iii. The skills of the dentist
A more experienced dentist can complete the procedure faster than a less experienced one. However, even the most professional dentist will take longer if the tooth is complicated to access or if there are multiple canals.
iv. The type of anesthesia
Some types of anesthesia (such as general anesthesia) will take longer to wear off than others (such as local anesthesia). It is not necessarily a factor that affects the length of the procedure itself. Still, it is something to keep in mind if you are worried about how long the effects will last.
Related article: How To Remove Tartar From Teeth?
The Procedure of Root Canal
The procedure of a root canal is not a difficult one. To complete the process, you must first meet with your dentist and get their approval. Once the dentist approves you, you will then be able to schedule an appointment for the procedure.
i. Numbing the area
If you do not want to feel pain during the procedure, your dentist will numb the area around the tooth. The dentist completes this procedure by injecting a local anesthetic into the gums.
The local anesthetic is more than enough for most people to ensure they do not feel any pain during the procedure. If you are someone who generally feels nervous about needles, you can ask your dentist to use a numbing gel instead.
ii. Creating an opening
Once the area is numb, your dentist will then use a drill to create an opening in the tooth so that they can access the root canal. This part of the procedure can be uncomfortable for some people, but it should not be painful.
iii. Cleaning out the root canal
Once the dentist has made the opening, he will use a small instrument to clean the root canal. This cleaning process involves removing the infected pulp from the tooth. In some cases, your dentist may also need to remove any debris that is left behind.
iv. Filling the root canal
Once the dentist cleans your root canal, he will fill it with a particular type of material. He does this to prevent any infection from returning. Dentists would use various materials for this, but the most common is gutta-percha. This material is the most preferred because it is strong and durable.
v. Filling the opening
Once the dentist fills your root canal, he will fill the opening made in the tooth. The material used for this will depend on the tooth’s location. In most cases, he would use a composite resin.
This is because it can match the color of your tooth so that it is not noticeable. Suppose the tooth is not located in a visible area. In that case, your dentist may use a different material, such as amalgam.
vi. Placing a crown
Sometimes, your dentist may also place a crown on the tooth after he has done the root canal. The crown will help to protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking. This process is usually only necessary if there is a lot of damage to the tooth.
Related article: Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I Wake Up? (Reasons)
How Painful is a Root Canal?
The level of pain that you experience during a root canal will vary depending on how sensitive you are to pain. In most cases, the procedure is not painful.
This is because the area around the tooth will be numbed before the procedure is done. However, some people may still experience some discomfort during the process.
This is usually due to the dentist applying pressure to the tooth. After the procedure, you might encounter some irritation in the gums. This is normal and should go away within a few days.
You may experience pain if you don’t take care root canal after the procedure. This is because the area around the tooth will be tender and can quickly become irritated.
It is important to avoid chewing hard foods and brush and floss gently. You should also avoid drinking hot beverages for at least 24 hours after the procedure.
How Many Sessions Does a Root Canal Take?
A root canal is usually a single-session procedure. However, there are some cases where it may be necessary to have more than one session. Here are some factors that can affect how many sessions are needed:
i. The severity of the infection
One of the most critical factors that will affect how many sessions are needed is the severity of the infection. If the infection is severe, it may be necessary to have more than one session. This is because the dentist needs to thoroughly clean the root canal to prevent the infection from returning.
ii. The location of the tooth
Another factor that can affect how many sessions are needed is the tooth’s location. If the tooth is located in a difficult-to-reach area, it may be necessary to have more than one session. The doctor may divide the procedure into two or more sessions to make it easier to reach the tooth.
iii. The type of material used for the filling
The material used for the filling can also affect how many sessions are needed. If the dentist uses a composite resin, it may be necessary to have more than one session. This is because the material needs to be placed in layers to build up the strength of the filling.
iv. Number of canals
The number of canals in the tooth can also affect how many sessions are needed. If the tooth has more than one canal, it may be necessary to have more than one session. Each root canal will need to be cleaned and filled separately.
How to Take Care of Your Tooth After a Root Canal
It is essential to take care of your tooth after a root canal. This is because the area around the tooth will be tender and can quickly become irritated. Here are some tips on how to take care of your tooth after a root canal:
i. Avoid chewing on hard foods
You should avoid chewing hard foods for at least 24 hours after the procedure. This is because the area around the tooth will be tender and can quickly become irritated. Chewing on hard foods can also cause the tooth to become loose. The best way to avoid this is to stick to soft foods for a few days after the procedure.
ii. Brush and floss gently
The area around the tooth will be tender and can quickly become irritated. It is essential to brush and floss gently to avoid this. You should also avoid mouthwash for at least 24 hours after the procedure.
iii. Avoid drinking hot beverages
When it comes to hot beverages, it is best to wait at least 24 hours after the procedure. This is because hot drinks can cause the area around the tooth to become irritated. Sticking to cold beverages for a few days after the process would be the best thing for you.
iv. Use an ice pack
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, you can use an ice pack to help relieve the symptoms. You should apply the ice pack for 20 minutes at a time.
v. Take pain medication
If you are in pain, you can take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You may need to take prescription pain medication if the pain is severe.
vi. See your dentist for a follow-up appointment
It is essential to see your dentist for a follow-up appointment. This is because the dentist will need to check on the root canal’s progress and ensure that the infection has completely healed. The follow-up appointment will also allow you to ask any questions that you may have about the procedure.
What if the Root Canal is Not Successful?
If the root canal is not successful, it may be necessary to have the procedure repeated. In some cases, it may also be essential to have the tooth extracted. If the root canal is not successful, it is necessary to see your dentist for a follow-up appointment.
This is because the dentist will need to check on the root canal’s progress and ensure that the infection has completely healed. The follow-up appointment will also allow you to ask any questions that you may have about the procedure.
Root canals are a standard procedure, but they can be complex and take multiple sessions. The exact number of sessions needed depends on a few factors. These include the tooth type, the severity of the infection, and the type of material used for the filling.
Dealing with your tooth after a root canal and seeing your dentist for a follow-up appointment is essential. If the root canal is not successful, it may be necessary to have the procedure repeated. In some cases, it may also be necessary to have the tooth extracted.
Finally, the root canal can take anything up to 1 hour and a half. When one experiences tooth decay the pain is unexplainable. While this can be experienced by kids and teenagers, adults are not spared.
Thus, everyone can have tooth decay regardless of age. Nevertheless, there is always a solution to the problem. We hope that you can always take care of your teeth to prevent any unwanted circumstances.
Moreover, we would love to hear from you if you’ve ever experienced tooth decay and how did you deal with it.