How Long Does a Root Canal Take? All You Need to Know

Before we discuss how long does a root canal take, let’s understand it better.

A root canal procedure is to heal the damaged interior of a tooth. Endodontic therapy is another name for it.

The procedure involves drilling a hole in the tooth and extracting the soft center (dental pulp). The dental pulp extends into the roots of the tooth consisting of nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels. The gap is filled once the tooth’s pulp is gone.

If required, the surface of your tooth might be replaced as well.

You may need a root canal procedure if you have a broken tooth due to some injury, a deep cavity, or sensitivities to hot and cold foods. 

But how long does the procedure take, will it take time to heal, and is there any way you can save this time and prevent the treatment in the future? There are many questions you may have, and fortunately, we have the answers too. So, keep reading!

How Long Does A Root Canal Take?

Depending on the tooth health, the root canal surgery might get completed in one sitting or two or three sessions. Each session might run anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. 

However, it depends on the number of sessions you might need, which will be the decision of your dentist, who will first analyze the tooth.

The dentist will take an X-ray of the root and maybe perform a pulp viability test to ensure if a tooth requires root canal therapy. Most pulp tests include applying a cold stimulus to the tooth to see if it responds normally. 

If the test indicates that it is necessary to perform root canal therapy, it will usually take one or two sessions of the treatment. 

The decision will also depend on the size and length of the abscess, and a few other considerations. If a tooth requires re-treatment, it will most likely take two sessions.

Prepare For The Treatment 

When you prepare yourself well for any treatment, no matter how long it is, you will be able to go through it comfortably.

In case of a root canal treatment, make sure your dentist prepares your gums by injecting anesthesia, so you don’t feel pain.

Now, your mouth may feel numb for hours afterward. This can make it problematic to eat. So, try eating a couple of hours before the surgery, as it will make recovery easier unless the dentist advises otherwise.

You can also take Ibuprofen before the treatment starts to ease the swelling that may occur later.

How Long Does A Root Canal Take To Heal?

how long does a root canal take


When the anesthetic wears off after the surgery, there may be some discomfort throughout the recovery period. Especially, if there was previously any edema or irritation. Usually, the soreness is minor and goes away in a few days. 

Keep Time for Side Effects and Pain

Like almost every other procedure there will be some side effects and pain you will have to suffer after a root canal treatment. 

Make sure you keep your day off or have at least some hours off. Why work in discomfort and entail the risk of poor productivity and poor results in that work?

Here are the side effects you should be ready for:

1. Spread of Infection Across the Body

It is tough to ensure that all the dead tissue or contaminated pulp is off your mouth after the procedure. This is because the presence of microtubules in the tooth structure lets pathogens pass through. 

As a result, even with the dentist’s equipment, it’s impossible to reach all of the tooth structure’s small cracks and tissue.

Now, because the germs can’t be removed entirely during the operation, a portion of the bacteria will remain inside the tooth. This bacteria gets oxygen from dead tissue to survive, which slowly leads to its spread throughout the body.

2. Pain and Discomfort

The cleaning of the root canal and removing all the pulp from the canal chambers are both parts of root canal therapy. The pulp has nerve endings and is present in the canals in the middle of the tooth. Its removal can cause pain for a few days, especially when eating.

3. Change in the Tooth Color

A tooth that has had a root canal might grow darker over time. The color shift is not an issue because the tooth has an artificial cap, but it can be a problem in certain circumstances.

How Long Does A Root Canal Aftercare Take?

Immediately after getting the procedure, make sure you don’t eat anything hot. You may risk biting too hard on the tooth. Ensure that for the next few days, you take care while brushing your teeth as it might worsen the pain.

When healing from root canal therapy, it’s critical to take care of your teeth. Until your treatment is over, you should avoid chewing on hard items.

Your repaired tooth should no longer be painful after your last treatment, however you may be uncomfortable eating for about a week.

If the tooth does pain (in rare cases), you can take any over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol or ibuprofen. If you still experience discomfort or swelling after using pain relievers, see your dentist.

How Can You Prevent The Root Canal Procedure?

how long does a root canal take


You now know how long a root canal takes, but do you want to save all this time in the future? Here’s how you can prevent having a root canal procedure.

  1. Make sure you brush twice a day and floss at least once a day.
  2. Every six months, go to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning. 
  3. If your dentist advises you that tooth filling is a must because it has decay, please schedule an appointment to get it. By waiting too long to treat tooth decay, the germs are more likely to spread and infect the nerve, resulting in the need for root canal therapy.

It’s critical to realize that the expense of a root canal is what you’ll value in terms of preserving and maintaining your natural tooth in your mouth.

Also Read: What Does A Cavity Look Like? Prevention, Treatment & More


It’s frightening to have toothaches or a swollen jaw. A root canal procedure can help by removing illness at its source, allowing you to feel well soon. 

Root canal therapy may need one or two sessions, depending on the severity of the infection and the number of sessions. One session takes about 30 to 60 minutes to perform. It can take up to an hour and a half to treat a big tooth with many roots.

Call your healthcare practitioner immediately if you feel you have an infected or abscessed tooth.

We hope you’re now very well versed with how long does a root canal take and what are the side effects associated with it. 

Remember, treatment as soon as possible can stop the infection from spreading and ease your discomfort, allowing you to return to your daily routine.

Have any more questions? Feel free to ask them in the comment section below.

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