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How Long Does a Root Canal Take?

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A senior man suffering from toothache while visiting his dentist.

We all try our best to keep our smiles bright and clean, but sometimes life has a different idea. The team at Pristine Dental knows the significance of having a beautiful and healthy smile, and we’re committed to safeguarding it.

A root canal is a safe and effective treatment that can help save your natural tooth, relieve pain you may be experiencing, and improve your oral health. 

Depending on the affected tooth, a root canal usually takes 60–90 minutes. This procedure is time well-spent to avoid the effects of leaving an infected tooth untreated.

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a treatment to restore a tooth with infected or inflamed pulp. The pulp is the soft, jelly-like tissue inside the tooth, protected by the hard outer shells called the enamel and dentin. The pulp is filled with nerves and blood vessels, so when it’s exposed, it can cause severe pain.

Your pulp can be infected in a few different ways. When bacteria goes unchecked, it can build up on your tooth enamel and cause decay that can turn into a cavity. If the cavity is deep enough, it may reach the pulp, where bacteria can grow. This same thing can happen if your tooth gets cracked and you don’t visit a dentist for a fix.

A young suffering from a toothache after taking a sip of hot coffee.

Do I Need a Root Canal?

There are signs to keep an eye out for that may determine you need a root canal. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your dentist to set up an appointment:

  • Swollen or tender gums around the affected tooth
  • Severe tooth pain when biting or chewing
  • Pimples on gums
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, especially if it lingers
  • A visible chip or crack
  • A darkening in the affected tooth or gums

Practicing proper dental hygiene may prevent the need for a root canal. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. Also, visit your dentist for a check-up and cleaning at least 2 times a year. This lets your dentist notice early signs of tooth decay before it reaches your pulp.

The Root Canal Procedure

A root canal treatment focuses on removing the damaged pulp from your tooth and sealing it again to keep bacteria out.

A root canal can be broken down into these 6 steps:

  1. Your dentist uses a local anesthetic to “freeze” the area.
  2. Your dentist places a rubber dental dam around the tooth, protecting it from the bacteria in your saliva.
  3. A small opening is made in the tooth so your dentist can reach the pulp.
  4. Your dentist uses tiny instruments to remove the pulp and clean the root canal system.
  5. Once the canal has been enlarged and shaped, your dentist fills the space with a flexible rubber-like material.
  6. The tooth is sealed. This may be a temporary filling that can be replaced with a permanent crown later to prevent bacteria from entering.

Once the anesthetic wears off, your tooth may feel tender. This is normal, and your dentist may recommend pain medication. However, bad pain and swelling are not common. If you notice these symptoms, contact your dentist immediately. 

Restorative Care and a Warm Smile

Our friendly team at Pristine Dental wants to help you avoid a root canal. But if it happens, you shouldn’t avoid it.

If you have questions about the root canals or feel anxious about the process, we’re more than happy to provide answers and ease any nerves you may be feeling. We’re here to ensure you feel comfortable in our care.If you’re noticing problems with your teeth and oral health, book an appointment and let us help make your teeth feel like new.

Written by Dr. Arpanbir Judge

Dr. Arpanbir Judge is your dedicated, professional, and friendly dentist here at Pristine Dental. After completing his B.D.S. degree at the Damesh Institute of Research and Dental Sciences in 2003, he went on to complete his M.D.S. degree at Darshan Dental College in 2009.

Dr. Judge is particularly interested in the areas of endodontics, cosmetic dentistry, and CEREC crowns for his patients. His favourite part of his work is seeing patients genuinely smile after relieving tooth pain or transforming their smile.

Outside the practice, Dr. Judge is an avid Formula 1 fan. He also enjoys watching action movies, long drives with calm music, and he’s currently trying to learn piano! Dr. Judge is excited to get to know you and your unique interests so he can better serve your needs.

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