If you have ever had a toothache or an infected tooth, you may have heard your dentist recommend a root canal. Root canal treatment is a procedure used to remove the infected or damaged pulp from the tooth to prevent further decay or infection. Although the thought of getting a root canal can be scary, it is a relatively common and straightforward procedure that can save your natural tooth and restore your oral health. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about how long a root canal takes, the steps involved in the procedure, and what to expect during and after treatment.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure that involves removing the infected or damaged pulp from the tooth to save the tooth and prevent further decay or infection. The pulp is the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected due to a deep cavity, crack in the tooth, or trauma to the tooth, a root canal may be necessary to remove the infected tissue and save the tooth.
Signs and Symptoms That You Need a Root Canal
If you are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms, you may need a root canal:
*Severe tooth pain when chewing or biting down
*Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
*Swollen or tender gums
*A darkened tooth
*Painful or recurring pimples on the gums
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible to determine if a root canal is necessary.
How Long Does a Root Canal Take?
The length of a root canal procedure can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the number of canals in the affected tooth. In general, a root canal can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes per tooth. However, in more complex cases, multiple appointments may be necessary to complete the procedure. Your dentist will be able to give you a better estimate of how long your root canal will take after evaluating your individual case.
Steps Involved in a Root Canal
The following are the steps involved in a root canal procedure:
Anesthesia – Before the procedure begins, your dentist will numb the affected tooth and surrounding area with a local anesthetic to minimize any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
Access Opening – Once the tooth is numb, your dentist will create an opening in the crown of the tooth to access the infected pulp.
Removal of Infected Pulp – Using small, specialized instruments, your dentist will remove the infected or damaged pulp from the tooth’s root canals and pulp chamber.
Cleaning and Shaping – After the pulp has been removed, your dentist will clean and shape the canals to prepare them for filling.
Filling the Canals – Once the canals have been cleaned and shaped, your dentist will fill them with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha.
Temporary Filling – After the canals have been filled, your dentist will place a temporary filling to protect the tooth until a permanent restoration can be placed.
Permanent Restoration – In most cases, a dental crown is placed on the tooth to restore its natural shape and function.