A root canal is a common dental procedure. It is used to treat a tooth that is infected or at risk of infection. When performed at the right time, a root canal can save the tooth and allow it to remain in place for life.
If your dentist has recommended a root canal for one of your teeth, you may have some questions about the procedure. How long does a root canal take? What does the procedure entail? How long is the recovery period? Learn the answers to these questions and more about root canals.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal procedure is named for the part of the tooth it treats, the root canal. Every tooth has an inner chamber called the root canal that contains dental pulp, a soft tissue made up of blood vessels and nerves that sustains the tooth as it develops. Once the tooth is mature, the dental pulp is no longer needed, but it is susceptible to infection. If the enamel of a tooth is damaged in some way, such as a large chip or a deep cavity, bacteria can invade the root canal and infect the dental pulp.
During a root canal procedure the dental pulp is removed from the inside of the tooth. The root canal is then thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to remove any infected tissue and bacteria. It is then filled with a rubbery material that fortifies the tooth and prevents reinfection. In most cases a crown will be placed over the existing tooth to protect the root.
Average Length of a Root Canal Procedure
A simple root canal may be completed in about an hour. The length of the procedure could range anywhere from 30-90 minutes depending on the complexity of the root canal system inside the tooth. If there are many canals within the root, it can take longer for all of them to be fully flushed out to ensure there is no remaining bacteria or dental pulp that could become reinfected. When the root canal is performed thoroughly the first time, there is a lower chance of reinfection resulting in endodontic retreatment.
How Long Does it Take To Recover From a Root Canal?
Recovery from a root canal is relatively short. Most root canals can be performed with local anesthesia, unless the patient requests a deeper level of sedation. With local anesthesia you are free to resume your regular daily activities following your root canal. You may feel numb in the face, lips, or tongue for a few hours until the anesthesia wears off. If you experience any residual discomfort after the anesthesia wears off, over the counter pain medication should be sufficient to provide relief. If you have any severe pain or unusual symptoms following your procedure, contact your dentist.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
Somehow the root canal gained a reputation for being a long and painful procedure, when in actuality it is no more uncomfortable or lengthy than a routine cavity filling. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area so that you feel no pain during the procedure. If you are feeling anxious or nervous about it, sedation options are available to help you feel more relaxed.
Doctors Lake Family Dental Provides Root Canal Procedures
If you need a root canal, don’t wait. Getting it done sooner rather than later can save your tooth. Doctors Lake Family Dental can perform your root canal procedure efficiently so you can get in and out quickly. Our doctors are highly qualified and experienced in root canal treatment.