Dental Health

Root Canal Therapy; How long does a root canal take?

Root canal therapy (RCT) also known as endodontic therapy or root canal treatment is the treatment of an infected premolar or molar. Do you have any idea how long does a root canal take? you will learn detail about in the principal article.

A root canal is an internal part of the teeth that contains pulp, blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. Any infection in this area is treated through the procedure of root canal therapy. We will give special focus on the procedure, precautions and how long does a root canal take.

A few years ago it used to be a very painful procedure. But now with the advancements in medical sciences, it has become almost a painless experience. Having said that, you still have to bear the pricking pain of the needle used for injecting local anesthesia.

Mark that you need to know a few things to guess how long does a root canal take. Not every toothache is an indication of you having root canal therapy. A qualified and experienced doctor will look at a few things before going for the procedure.

This article will be a complete guide to the symptoms, causes, and the complete process of root canal therapy.

When to visit a dentist?

An infected tooth will show several indications that something’s not right. A deep-rooted infection in any of the molars can be a very painful experience. The first symptom is swelling in the gums.

Inflammation is the body’s first reaction to any bacterial infection. The gums swell up, showing an internal infection.

The site of the infection can be located by the striking toothache one may feel during chewing. Along with pain, the teeth become sensitive to hot and cold. The sensitivity lingers on even when the source is not there anymore.

In extreme cases the infection may spread to other areas of the gums, causing the gums to darken. Darkening of gums is another symptom of tooth infection. Another evident indication would be the appearance of pimples on the gums. If anyone experiences such symptoms it becomes clear that it’s time to set an appointment with the dentist. Now let’s move towards the causes and the answer to how long does a root canal take.

Possible Causes of Infection  

Tooth infection is mainly caused by poor oral hygiene. If teeth are not brushed thoroughly it will promote rapid bacterial growth.

On top of it, if any of the teeth have any crack or chip the bacteria get a chance to enter the teeth, which will consequently develop into a tooth infection. Consuming excess carbonated drinks can be another cause of tooth decay. Not the cause but the extent of infection may determine how long does a root canal take.

How is root canal therapy performed?

  • Before any dental treatment, the dentist examines the site externally. Firstly he/she would look at the gums and teeth for any symptom of a disease or infection. After external examination, the dentist would go for internal examination through x-rays. X-rays help locate the extent of infection properly.
  • Then the dentist would inject local anesthesia to completely numb the area. This would help the process go smooth and pain-free. 
  • After that, the dentist would place a dental dam. This sheet would help keep the area dry throughout the process.
  • Following the preparatory steps, then comes the actual process of root canal therapy.
  • To reach the root of the tooth, an opening is drilled in the outer region of the teeth i.e. crown. The drilling continues till the root of the teeth. After an opening is made, the infected pulp is removed from the root canal using different instruments. The dentist needs to be very precise so that no debris or bacteria remains in the canal. For that, the root canals are scrubbed well to eliminate the infection. Water or sodium hypochlorite spray can also be very effective in excavating the root canals.
  • After the complete removal of debris, the cavity must be sealed. Some dentists prefer to seal the tooth the next day. Till then a temporary seal is placed along with any medication if needed. A permanent seal is placed at the next appointment. The permanent seal used is a rubber compound known as the gutta-percha, along with some adhesive cement for complete closure.
  • A tooth that has undergone root canal therapy needs extra protection. The reason being that such teeth have become very weak due to bacterial infection and need extra support and protection. For that, the dentist may put a crown around the teeth covering them completely. The crown will protect the teeth from any damage and will help restore their full function.
  • After the completion of the therapy, the dentist would ask to avoid eating hard foods. If the patient has a recurring pain sensation dentist may prescribe pain medications for 2-3 days.

Potential Complications of root canal therapy

Like any other medical procedure, root canal therapy can also have some complications. Even after getting an answer to how long does a root canal take, you should be aware of the possible complications.

  • If the cleaning process was not done properly and some bacteria persisted in the canal, it can cause infection to return. For that, it is very important that you always consult a trusted and experienced doctor for therapy.
  • Sometimes the dentist is unable to locate all of the roots of the teeth due to which it may leave untreated. This untreated root would allow the bacteria to flourish and cause infection again.
  • If the dentist mishandles the tooth and breaks the tooth or any part of the root, it can cause further complications.
  • If there is no proper seal in the root canal or the seal breaks down at any point it can allow bacteria to regrow in the root.

To avoid such complications, the doctor must be vigilant enough for carrying out the therapy. The patient also must follow the doctor’s instructions like avoiding hard or hot foods etc.

If the doctor prescribes any antibiotics, the patient must have the medicine on time. If any pain or unwanted sensation occurs the patient should not ignore it and should consult a doctor immediately.


Prevention is always better than cure. We must take proper care of our oral health to protect our teeth.

For protecting your teeth from any severe condition like infection, you must abide by taking appropriate preventions: Brushing your teeth is the most important step towards good oral health. Brushing before going to bed and after breakfast is a must.

Flossing your teeth at least twice or thrice a week is something we highly recommend. You should have regular dental check-ups to avoid any prolonged infection.


World of Medical Saviours (WOMS) is a website formed by a group of medicos who are embarking to provide facts, tips and knowledge related to health and lifestyle. This website proves to be a great platform for the medical enthusiast and also for those medicos searching to outgrowth their knowledge about the medical field.

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