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How Long Does a Root Canal Procedure Take?

March 4, 2021
a modern dental microscope

When a patient is referred to North Shore & Brookline Endodontics for a root canal treatment, they usually come to their consultation with a number of questions about the procedure. Many of these questions have to do with the logistics of root canal treatment. How long does a root canal procedure take? How many appointments are needed? What is recovery like? Below, we answer some common questions we hear from our patients.

How many appointments are needed for a root canal?

For most patients, endodontic treatment requires one to two visits to our office. Although endodontists are often able to complete a root canal treatment in a single visit, there are times when anatomy, infections, or calcifications may complicate the procedure, making two appointments necessary.

Your dentist will need to place a permanent restoration, this will also require one to two visits to their office, depending on the type of restoration.

How long does a root canal take?

Each visit to our office for endodontic treatment typically lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. The exact amount of time depends on the difficulty of the treatment, extent of infection, and your unique needs.

What is recovery from root canal treatment like?

Most patients find that the recovery from their root canal treatment is faster and more comfortable than expected. In fact, most patients are able to return to work following endodontic treatment. Post-operative symptoms are mild and usually relieved with over-the-counter pain medications. You can expect to have some tenderness and swelling at the treatment site, but this rarely lasts more than a few days after your root canal procedure.

Can I eat after a root canal?

Immediately after your root canal procedure, the treated area will be numb from local anesthetic injections. This numbness can last for a few hours following the treatment. It’s generally advised that you not eat during this time, as it can cause soft tissue injury.

Once any numbness has subsided, you may eat, but avoid biting or chewing directly on the treated tooth to promote healing and avoid harming the tooth. You should also avoid sticky foods that have the potential to loosen or remove your temporary filling.

Can I drive myself home after a root canal?

Yes, if you had no sedation for your root canal treatment or only nitrous oxide, you will be able to drive yourself home in most cases. Patients who have conscious oral sedation will need to have someone drive them to and from their appointment.

When do I go to my dentist for my permanent restoration?

We recommend that you contact your dentist to set up an appointment one to two weeks after your endodontic treatment is complete. This is important, as your tooth may become reinfected or otherwise compromised without a timely restoration. We will send a full report on your root canal procedure to your general dentist.

Learn More About Root Canal Treatment

If you have questions about root canal treatment, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of the specialists at North Shore & Brookline Endodontics.

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