How Long Does A Root Canal Take?

Learn From Doctor Team
Learn From Doctor Team is made up of well-qualified doctors of different fields with brilliant academic results and professional careers. The article is written and reviewed by doctors of this specialty.

How Long Does A Root Canal Take?

A root canal can take 60 to 90 minutes to be completed. It depends on which teeth the root canal performing, the condition of the teeth, etc.

If the root canal is performing on multiple teeth, it may take longer.

The root canal is the most common dental procedure in the world. Around 15 million root canals are being done in the USA each year.

The root canal is done by a dentist in his chamber. The dentist will examine your teeth and according to the infection, its location, the severity of the condition he’ll perform the procedure. 

The root canal is a painless procedure. Some peoples think a root canal is painful, but it’s a myth.

Sometimes root canal can take even 3 hours to complete if your condition is severe and multiple teeth are affected.

During the procedure, you’ll lie in the dental chair, which is so comfortable. You won’t feel almost any discomfort during the procedure.


Root Canal Duration

The time needed for a root canal depends on some factors. Mostly it depends on which teeth it’s being performed on and how severe the condition is.

A root canal can take several hours if the underlying nerve needs to be craved, rinsed, and disinfected.

Root Canals on Molars

Molars are the teeth in the back of your mouth. They are difficult to reach and are the most time-consuming teeth for root canals. These teeth may have four roots and need four canals for full disinfection.

Sometimes a single root canal with filling takes about 90 minutes. So molars can take more than two hours if the situation demands.

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Root Canals on Premolars

Premolars are the teeth behind your anterior teeth. Typically they have two roots.

Usually, root canals on premolars take 90 minutes to complete. The time varies according to your teeth’ condition.

Root Canals on Incisors and Canaine

Incisors and canines are the teeth in front of your mouth. They help you to eat and tear out meat.  

These teeth have only one root. So, root canal and filling in those teeth take a short period than the others.

Usually, root canal on incisors and canines takes 45 minutes to one hour. Sometimes, it may take longer if the condition is severe.

Usually, the dentist does not place a crown on the same day of the root canal. So, if you need a crown you will need an additional visit.

Incisor and canine problems do not occur frequently. The most common teeth that get infected are the molars.

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Ideal Candidates For Root Canal

Anatomically a teeth has 3 parts;

  • Crown
  • Neck
  • Root

Teeth are hard and solid. Pulp is a part of the root that connects the teeth to the gum. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues.

The pulp and root can be affected by the following reasons;

  • Teeth are cracked or broken
  • Repeated dental work
  • Infection
Dental x ray - teeth x ray
Dental x ray – teeth x ray

The root canal is a procedure performed to treat your affected teeth. In this procedure, the dentist removes the infected connective tissues and damaged cells and tissues.

Root canals are often associated with filling. After removing the damaged tissues the dental surgeon fills the area with certain substances. That process is called filling.

In a root canal procedure, the dental surgeon does not drill your teeth. It’s a myth. The surgeon removes the dead and infected cells from the root canal. So root canal is an anatomical feature.

You should consult with a dental surgeon at least once in six months for dental checkups. If the dentist finds anything medically important, he’d let you know and recommend you the procedure needed.

If you do not undergo regular checkups. You may feel pain in your teeth when the situation is severe and may half of your teeth got infected.

Dental infection can spread from the root canal to your gum and the blood circulation. That can bring some serious conditions.

Risk Factors of Dental Infections

Root Canal Procedure

The root canal procedure is quite simple. Almost in every dentist’s office, you may experience the following steps

  • The dental surgeon will use local anesthesia to numb your infected teeth and it’s surrounding area.
  • The doctor will use modern equipment to create a tiny hole into your teeth to get access to the root canal. Then he’ll remove the damaged and infected cells and tissues from the canal.
  • The dentist will rinse your teeth area with salinated water and he may also use special antibiotic medications to kill the remaining bacteria.
  • You may need to do an x-ray to make sure the root canal is done properly.
  • If you do not need a crown then the doctor will fill the canal permanently. If you need to put a crown in the teeth, the doctor will temporarily fill the canal to prevent infection. You have to come another day to put the crown.

Usually, the molar and premolar teeth need a crown to get the damaged teeth fully functioning.  

The total root canal procedure duration varies according to your dental condition.

Root Canal Procedure
Root Canal Procedure

Why can a root canal occasionally take two visits?

The root canal procedure can be time-consuming if your teeth infection is quite severe. The doctor may remove the infection one day and fill it temporarily.

In the second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary filling and again disinfect the teeth and make sure there are not anymore infected cells or tissues.

Then the doctor permanently fills the canal with a rubber-like material and seals the canal. Sometimes you may need a crown.

So, if your condition is not severe then most probably you do not need a second visit.

Root canal X ray with filling
Root canal X ray with filling

Is Root Canal Painful?

If your teeth become infected then typically you’ll feel some pain and go to the dentist.

is root canal painful-the answer is no
is root canal painful-the answer is no

During the root canal procedure, the dental surgeon will use local anesthesia in the teeth area so you won’t feel anything during the procedure.

After the root canal, you may feel a little discomfort but the pain associated with infection is gone.

For the little discomfort and temporary mild pain, the surgeon may prescribe you pain medications for 3-7 days.

The root canal itself isn’t a painful procedure, your infected tooth is the cause of pain here.

How Long Does The Root Canal Pain Last?

The pain following the root canal lasts 3-7 days. The pain is mild to moderate according to your condition. The dentist will prescribe you some pain medications to relieve the pain.

Oral Hygiene is Necessary After Root Canal

After the root canal is done the doctor may tell you to for a second visit for filling the canal. During that interval, you have to maintain a good oral care routine. That may include;

  • Rinsing the mouth with warm water
  • Brushing twice a day
  • Flossing if necessary
  • Do not drink the water if it’s not clean
  • Do not eat hard foods
  • Do not eat very hot food
  • Avoid oily food

The doctor may recommend you specific mouth rinser for better care.

Even after the filling or crowning is done, you should maintain proper oral care to prevent further infection.


A root canal is an anatomical canal inside the root of the teeth. It contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues.

If the canal becomes infected and causes pain, the dentist removes those infectious agents along with the damaged cells and tissues, the procedure is called root canal procedure.

Some teeth have one root and also some teeth have four roots such as molars. The time required for a root canal depends. Usually, a root canal procedure takes 45 to 90 minutes to complete.

A root canal is done under anesthesia. So, it’s a painless procedure. Do not hesitate to visit a dentist if you feel any abnormality in your mouth area.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does a root canal take to heal?

A root canal does not take much time to heal. It usually takes 3-7 days to heal completely.

How long does it take to recover from a root canal?

It takes about a week to get recover from a root canal. Although, the recovery period depends on the severity of your condition.

Last Updated on February 23, 2022 by Learn From Doctor Team

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