Don’t we often hear absurd things like; a root canal is painful or that pulling a tooth is better than getting a root canal? One answer to all these questions - NO!
A root canal is a simple procedure twisted into different things that aren’t even real. Neither it’s painful, nor does it cause illness. As far as the longevity of the procedure is concerned, it takes 30 to 60 minutes on average, which could be flexible depending on the case.
Below are all the details regarding ‘how long does a root canal take’, ‘what the procedure entails’, and ‘how long is the recovery period’.
What Exactly is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a soft pulp-containing chamber that accommodates nerves and blood vessels inside a tooth. This soft chamber connects your bones and gums to your tooth.
Every tooth has its own canal, and each contains one or sometimes more than one.
What is a Root Canal Treatment?
A root canal is a dental procedure that is done to treat infected or inflamed canals in a tooth. The process entails removing the soft chamber (dental pulp) inside the tooth, followed by cleaning, disinfecting, and filling it with an adhesive called gutta-percha to seal the void.
When is a Root Canal Needed?
As said earlier, when a root canal becomes infected, leading to tooth abscesses, a root canal procedure becomes imperative to relieve the pain. The infection usually roots from an untreated cavity, or damaged or cracked tooth due to trauma.
When do you Know you Need a Root Canal Treatment?
Very few people could know in their early stages that they need a root canal treatment. However, some widespread symptoms to know for a root canal include:
Persistent Deep Pain in the ToothWhile tooth pain is common in dental conditions, those who need a root canal may feel deep pain inside the tooth that doesn’t go away. The discomfort may also extend to their jaw and surrounding teeth.
Tooth SensitivityIf you feel sensitivity to hot and cold foods, it could mean that you may need a root canal treatment. Root canal pain usually lingers longer than a few seconds.
Swollen Jaw and GumsWhen a tooth is infected, it develops puss in the area, which leads to puffiness and swelling. When the puss starts to accumulate in the jaw as well, it becomes visibly swollen, indicating that you need a root canal treatment.
Boil on the GumsPimple or boil on the gums is another common symptom of tooth infection. The pus that accumulates drains from the boil, causing a weird taste in the mouth.
Tooth DiscolorationA tooth, when infected, appears darker due to poor or no blood supply. Hence, giving off another sign of a bacterial infection.
Pain while chewingWhen the nerves inside the pulp of the tooth get damaged, they hurt when pressure is applied to them while chewing.
If you have a chipped or cracked tooth due to a trauma or sports injury, you may require a root canal as bacteria can reach all the way inside the tooth to infect the pulp.
What Happens During a Root Canal Treatment?
To make it easier for you to understand, we have broken down the entire process in 3 stages. Let’s check what each stage looks like:
Stage 1 - Evaluation and initial cleaning
The first stage of the procedure involves a deep evaluation of the tooth to determine the severity of the case, followed by cleaning to stop the infection from spreading.
Next, the dentist will numb the infected area and draw a small incision near the gums on the top of the tooth to clean and disinfect the canal using medications.
Finally, the dentist will fill the hollow with a temporary filling before hopping on to the next stage of the treatment.
Stage 2 - Deep cleaning and medications
The next stage can come on the same day or 1 to 2 weeks after the first stage, depending on your decision or what the dentist suggests.
This time, the dentist will perform a more thorough cleaning to clear the remaining bacteria, followed by taking an x-ray to determine the length of the canal and learn if it is cleaned completely.
The dentist will also apply medication to the treated area at this stage.
Stage 3 - Filling the canal
Once the root canal is all-cleaned up, and the symptoms have vanished, it’s time to fill it up with a dental filling. A filling is typically applied after 4 to 6 weeks of the second stage.
Root canal filling involves particular rubber points placed into the canal before it is sealed and protected. Also, depending on your case, the dentist will apply temporary or permanent filling to complete the procedure.
How Long Does it Take to have a Root Canal?
The length of the procedure depends on two things: the number of canals a tooth has and the severity of the infection.
Normally a root canal procedure takes 30 to 90 minutes to complete. Here is a quick rundown of the time duration for each tooth:
Canines Incisors (Front Teeth)
Since these teeth contain only one root, their treatment can be completed in 45 to 60 minutes.
These teeth locate between the front teeth and molars and usually contain 1 to 2 canals, so their treatment takes about 60 minutes.
Molars (Back Teeth)
These locate at the very back end of the mouth and contain 4 canals. They are treated in approximately 90 minutes.
How Long Does a Root Canal Take to Heal?
Every dental treatment has a specified recovery time, and so has the root canal procedure. While the healing period depends from person to person, it generally takes around 7 to 10 days for a root canal to heal. Slight discomfort is normal during the healing period and can be managed using over-the-counter medications.
How Long Do you Have to Wait to Eat After a Root canal?
While 30 to 45 minutes are good enough to harden your temporary filling, most dentists recommend avoiding eating until the anesthetic has worn off.
What not to Do After a Root Canal?
- Avoid having extremely hot and cold beverages and food that can irritate the nerves.
- Avoid consuming sticky and chewy foods, including caramel and sugary candies.
- Avoid hard foods like nuts, pretzels, tortilla chips, etc.
How Can I Speed up my Root Canal Recovery?
- Avoid carbonated beverages
- Elevate your head with an extra pillow as you sleep
- Quit smoking
- Have plenty of non-sugary fluids
- Avoid hot and cold foods
- Take pain relievers
Generally, a root canal is a relatively simple and painless procedure and can take a maximum of two sitting to get completed. However, the length and sessions of the procedure may vary depending on how many teeth need therapy and the severity of the infection.If you feel deep pain inside your tooth or any of our stated symptoms, book an appointment with your dentist and get an oral checkup at the earliest.
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