A root canal has to be the dental procedure that people have the most anxiety over. Even though modern technology has helped make it more comfortable than ever, it is still not easy to face and many people are left asking, “How long does a root canal take?” The question is not an easy one to answer as there are many variables. Something like a cleaning or a filling has a much straighter answer. However, we will try to answer the question as best as possible, so you feel more comfortable when approaching your root canal appointment.
If you are having a root canal on a tooth with only one root, such as incisors and canines, the appointment will be the shortest, between 30 to 60 minutes. These root canals are usually done in just one appointment but can be done in two for comfort.
Because there is more than one root to process during the root canal, these understandably take longer. With each root, the length of time needed increases. A root canal of a tooth such as a molar, for example, can take upwards of 90 minutes if done in one sitting.
Case by Case Basis
Oftentimes, the choice to have your root canal completed in one visit or two is made by your dental provider. Your dentist will look at a few things to determine whether it should be completed in one visit or two, such as:
- How many roots the tooth has
- Underlying dental conditions
- Length of time available for both you and the dentist for the first appointment so you can begin the process
- What your insurance recommends
- Any other factors that may arise
Multiple appointments for your root canal: do you have a choice?
If you feel that you need the root canal done in more than one appointment and they need to be shorter, you do have a choice. If you want your insurance to cover the additional appointments, you may need to have a valid reason. However, shortening the appointment times because of jaw discomfort due to TMJ or due to trouble sitting due to restless legs and anxiety may not be an issue.
As you can see, pinpointing the length of time an appointment for a root canal will take can be a little tricky. The best option would be to ask the dental hygienist or your dentist how long they think your root canal will take if they think you will need one. Once they have a ballpark in mind, you can start deciding how you’d like to get that root canal appointment or appointments done.