Root canal treatment is recommended for a tooth with a large cavity, fracture, or infection. It helps save and preserve the natural tooth by removing decay and bacteria and rebuilding its structure and appearance.

Getting a root canal done involves meticulous treatment planning, skillful and precise techniques, and modern dental equipment. These ensure little to no complications and a successful treatment.

If you are scheduled for a root canal, you may be wondering “how long does a root canal take?”.

The length of a root canal treatment is influenced by factors such as the anatomy of the tooth and the presence of infection, among others. Some root canal procedures may require one full dental appointment or may need a series of dental visits spread across a few weeks.

Read further to know about the treatment time for a root canal and how the usual process goes…

The Root Canal Procedure

Some patients may need just one full day to complete a root canal. This is usually indicated for a tooth with no existing infection or if no difficulties arise during treatment. Here’s what you should expect for a one-day root canal procedure:

  1. Anesthesia and isolation – numbing the area is essential because your dentist needs to drill a hole into the tooth. Then, rubber dam isolation is placed to prevent contamination of the open tooth with bacteria from your saliva.
  2. Access hole – using a small, round dental bur, the inside of the tooth is accessed. This will expose the infected pulp tissue.
  3. Pulp removal – then, the infected pulp is removed using a file that is inserted into the canal.
  4. Cleaning and shaping canals – bacteria inside the canal are also removed. Afterwards, the canal is shaped to prepare it to receive the filling material. Irrigation and debridement are also important to remove debris.
  5. Sealing and filling the canals – once ready, the canal is sealed and properly filled using gutta-percha cones. This is a crucial step in preventing bacteria from seeping back into the canal and causing reinfection.
  6. Final restoration – lastly, filling material is placed to restore the original appearance of the tooth.

Factors Affecting the Duration

While a one-day root canal treatment is possible, it is not always the case for everyone. Some factors that may require more than one dental appointment are:

Access to the tooth

In terms of accessibility and ease of the procedure, a front tooth can be easily accessed compared to a back tooth. So, if you are getting a root canal for a molar, you can expect your appointment to be extended for more than a day.

Number of root canals

The more the canals, the longer the duration of the treatment. Generally, front teeth have only one canal while molars can have up to four. The number of canals is usually identified with X-rays. However, some canals may be tricky and only show up during the procedure itself.

Retreatment cases

For patients with existing filling material from previous root canal treatment, removing them may take additional time on top of the retreatment itself. At Chinook Dental Group, we specialize in retreatment endodontic cases.

Presence of infections

The larger the infection, the longer the treatment time will be. This may require a wait time of a week or more. Medications will be placed in the canal and after 7 days, the tooth will be reevaluated. This process will continue until the infection dissolves completely.

Final restoration of choice

If the final restoration is a crown, you may need to allot up to 3 additional dental visits. The process for a crown includes preparing the tooth, fitting the crown, and then cementing it in place to complete your smile.

Timeframe for a Typical Root Canal

Upon your initial consultation with our specialist at Chinook Dental Group, they will discuss your personalized treatment plan and determine a timeframe for your case.

However, because there are several factors involved in a root canal treatment, the timeframe will vary per patient. It is best that you visit our team so they can provide a detailed explanation of the procedure and the possible number of visits you need to make to finish the treatment.

Complications and Extended Procedures

Aside from the usual factors that may affect the root canal procedure, unforeseen complications may also extend the timeframe. 

Root fracture

The root may fracture if there is excessive force applied during the cleaning of the canals. It may also occur if the tooth is already too brittle due to severe decay or infection.

Root perforation

Files and other root canal instruments may extend out of the tooth and cause a large perforation on the root end. Sealing this hole is important to prevent bacteria from going into the teeth and causing future complications.

Anatomic difficulties

Calcified canals, accessory root canals, and multiple canals are some anatomic concerns that may require a longer treatment time.

Material extending out of the root canal

Files, filling materials, and other foreign objects that have extended out of the canal must be removed to prevent infection.

Broken instrument in the canal

Retrieval of a broken file or other instrument inside the canal is crucial to achieving a complete seal of the canal. Otherwise, you can expect early failure of the root canal treatment.

With unparalleled competence in endodontic treatment, our team of specialists is prepared to handle complications during the procedure. So, you can be sure that you are in the best hands.

Patient Experience During a Root Canal

While the whole process sounds intimidating, expertise in root canal treatment with advanced dental equipment and tools as a backup can make the procedure smooth sailing.

Chinook Dental Group is a premier dental clinic specializing in endodontic treatment. We are proud to have designed complex treatment plans for several root canal procedures with great long-term success for our patients. Our endodontic specialists also utilize innovative techniques such as endodontic microsurgeries for improved healing.

During treatment, we prioritize your comfort above all. You can sit back and relax as our team works on saving your tooth and smile. This results in a positive patient experience for many of our clients.

If you are looking for specialty endodontic services in Calgary, Alberta, our team at Chinook Dental Group is here to help. Contact us today to book your appointment!

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