A root canal is a common dental procedure. It can treat an infected tooth or prevent a tooth from becoming infected. Somehow a myth developed about root canals being a long and arduous experience. People may jokingly use the term root canal as a comparison for something they are not looking forward to. However, the stigma associated with root canals is undeserved.
About how long does a root canal take? What does the procedure entail? Learn the answer to these questions and more.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is the inside chamber of a tooth that contains the dental pulp. It extends from the crown of the tooth down into the root. Dental pulp is soft tissue made up of blood vessels and nerves that sustain the tooth when it is growing and developing. If bacteria finds a way into the root canal, the dental pulp is susceptible to infection. This can occur through a deep cavity or a crack in a tooth.
What is Root Canal Treatment?
If the dental pulp becomes infected or if the tooth is at risk for infection due to severe decay or damage, root canal treatment can potentially save the tooth. During the procedure the dental pulp is removed, the root canal is thoroughly flushed out, and the tooth is filled with a rubbery replacement material. In most cases a crown will be placed over the remaining tooth enamel to protect the tooth from reinfection.
Average Length of a Root Canal Procedure
A typical root canal takes between 30 and 60 minutes to complete. A larger tooth or a more complex root canal procedure could take between 60 and 90 minutes, but it rarely exceeds that. In most cases root canal treatment takes no longer than a routine cavity filling. The exact length of your root canal procedure depends on a variety of factors.
Factors That Affect the Length of a Root Canal Procedure
The following factors can mean the length of your root canal procedure could be on the longer side of the average range:
- Complex root system. Some teeth have a more complex root system than others with multiple canals, which makes it more difficult to clean out the tooth and make sure to get into every nook and cranny.
- Repeat procedure. If this is the second root canal for a tooth because the first was unsuccessful, the procedure could take longer to ensure that the tooth is thoroughly cleaned out and that all of the bacteria is removed.
- High risk tooth. In the case of a tooth that is on the verge of being too damaged to be saved, the procedure could take longer because the tooth is more delicate and needs more repair.
- Size and type of tooth. The larger the tooth, such as a molar, the longer a root canal may take on that tooth. Molars often have multiple root canals that need to be cleaned out and filled.
What Anesthesia is Used for Root Canal Treatment?
Most root canals can be done with local anesthesia. If you are feeling nervous or anxious about the procedure, ask about sedation options to help you feel more relaxed. With anesthesia you should not feel any discomfort during the procedure.
Wilson Park Dental Provides Root Canal Treatment
If you have a toothache or an overly sensitive tooth, you may need a root canal. Wilson Park Dental provides root canal treatment for teeth that are infected or at risk of infection. If your tooth has extra complications, a referral to one of our root canal specialists may be necessary. Treating a tooth before it becomes infected is ideal because you can prevent tooth pain and have a better chance of keeping your natural tooth.