How Long Does a Root Canal Take?

Cheetah Dentistry

Cheetah Dentistry

Though you might be less aggressive than a cheetah and have more patience, you still don’t want to be at the dentist all day and many times that is the exact reason you keep putting it off.

Here is the secret to measuring the length of a root canal procedure:

Calculate approximately 15 minutes for the post buildup

another 15 minutes for crown prep and temporary crown fabrication

and now we can add that 30 minutes to whatever you come up with below.

A root canal involves filing and filling the roots of a tooth.  Each tooth has a specific number of roots.  If your root canal is on a front tooth, it has 1 root. That’s valid for the four front teeth and the  canines on either side of those teeth.

Tooth Names

Tooth Names

The bicuspids or “premolars” and the molars are a different story.  Bicuspids typically have one canal as well, but don’t be surprised if it has two.  Molars typically have anywhere from two to four canals.

Now, this is a very preliminary way of judging because some people are superhuman and have bicuspids with three roots and even incisors with multiple roots or molars with five roots! You can take a good guess going by the general idea or have your dentist tell you how many yours has specifically from an X-Ray.

Going by the general idea, let’s assume your root canal is on a molar that has three canals.  The time you should assume it’s going to take if all goes smoothly and your roots aren’t wrapped around your sinuses and coming out your nose would be about 20 minutes per canal.  Figured into our half hour prepping stage that would put you at an hour and a half or 90 minutes.

90 minutes is good and bad depending on when you schedule it.  When scheduling a root canal, always allow for overtime in the case that the tooth is putting up a fairly decent fight.  Rest assured that the dentist always wins.  What you don’t want to do is schedule the root canal to finish fifteen minutes before it’s time to pick up the kids or meet your boss, etc. In case this does happen, you and your lovely tooth are not altogether lost; the dentist can usually find a stopping place and cover things up for a day or until you can get back.  Just don’t forget to come back in ASAP because as common sense would have it, walking around with an empty tooth can go sour pretty quickly.

Some, in response to “how long does a root canal take?”, act like mythbusters and say that it doesn’t take long at all, others will tell you it takes days.  Root canals are typically 1 appointment and not very long at that.  They get the bad rap because they are indeed about the longest procedure you can have done at the dentist where things like fillings end up taking 30 minutes or so.  But in a world where everyone is different and no two things are identical, it is almost impossible to say whether your root canal will be a short or a long procedure outside of the basis given above.

One thing is definite though, if you need a root canal, then you NEED a root canal.

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