How Long Does a Root Canal Take?

Root canals have a bad reputation, but they don’t have to be scary. When you know what to expect and you have a dentist you can trust, they can be one of the most beneficial treatments available. However, if it’s necessary to get one, it’s better to get it done sooner rather than later.

While a routine dental exam can last anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour, treatments such as root canals may take longer, depending on the complexity of your procedure. A simple root canal may only take 60–90 minutes, while a more complex procedure could require multiple appointments. It’s important to speak with your dentist about what to expect from your root canal appointment.

What to Expect During a Root Canal Treatment

Despite widely held beliefs, a root canal is typically no more painful or uncomfortable than having a tooth filled. The main objective of a root canal procedure is to alleviate discomfort caused by infection.

After being thoroughly cleaned, the canal is sterilized, constructed, filled, and closed with a materia called gutta percha, a substance that resembles natural rubber. The tooth's opening is capped next to close it off and stop further infection.

The duration of the procedure is determined by whether your teeth are being re-treated. You can anticipate 2 appointments if they are. If this is your first root canal operation, you may just need 1 appointment. Each appointment may last about 60–90 minutes, however, this can vary depending on the person and the dentist.

What Is a Root Canal?

The term "root canal" actually refers to a tunnel in your tooth where the root lives, however, most people think of the root canal procedure when they hear the term. Endodontic therapy and endodontic treatment both refer to the same thing: a root canal treatment.

A root canal is performed on a tooth to extract and replace any infected or injured pulp (tissue) or nerves in a tooth. If the infection or abscess inside the root is left untreated, it can weaken the surrounding teeth and bone, leading to more issues.

What Causes a Root Canal?

When teeth are neglected, the tooth's enamel, which is its outermost layer, deteriorates and eventually becomes a cavity. As time passes, the decay eats deeper into the tooth, eventually reaching the dentin, blood vessels, and pulp.

A root canal is necessary once the infection has reached the pulp. As with most infections, tooth-related or otherwise, the quicker you have treatment, the lower your chance of complications.

Warning Signs of a Root Canal

The following are warning signs that you might need a root canal treatment:

  • Severe discomfort when eating
  • Continual sensitivity to temperature (hot or cold food, drinks, or even the weather)
  • Gum enlargement or sensitivity
  • Darkening of the teeth
  • General discomfort not alleviated by over-the-counter medications

Preventative Care

Maintaining good oral health requires routine preventive dental care. Start by giving your teeth and gums a good cleaning. With regular dental cleanings and exams, your dentist can spot problems before they develop into more significant issues.

To protect your oral health, your dentist might suggest additional procedures like fluoride treatments, sealants, or mouthguards.

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride is both safe and effective at combating tooth decay, and it is used in both preventive treatments and everyday care products.


Sealants provide great cavity protection. In addition to brushing, flossing, and fluoride, they can help preserve teeth from additional repairs. Dental amalgam, stainless steel, gold, porcelain, and resin are just a few options possible.


A nightguard sometime described more generically as a mouthguard, does more than just protect your teeth. It also helps shield the soft tissues surrounding the mouth and can help prevent grinding or clenching during sleep.


Keeping Your Smile Happy

Whether you need a routine cleaning or a root canal, Green Grove Dental is dedicated to helping you keep a radiant, healthy smile. For more information about our dental services and how they can help you maintain your smile for years to come, contact us.