Root Canal 101: How long does a root canal take?

Are you wondering, “How long does a root canal take?”

Quick Answer:

Simple root canals typically require one appointment that lasts between 30 minutes and 60 minutes. However, severe cases may require 90 minutes or more. Such cases may also require a second appointment if the dentist recommends a crown or permanent filling for the tooth.

A root canal is a dental procedure designed to eliminate damaged tooth’s roots while preserving the natural tooth. The procedure becomes necessary when your soft tissue gets infected. While performing a root canal procedure at Mission Bend Family Dentistry, our dentist carefully removes the damaged tissue, and then seals it to prevent re-infection. This treatment is extremely common. Dentists and endodontists perform this procedure more than 15 million times each year.

How long does it take to do a root canal?

The dentist can complete a simple root canal procedure in 30-60 minutes for one canal tooth. But you should expect to spend about 90 minutes or so in the dentist’s chair for the treatment. This procedure requires significant time since your nerve needs to be removed, cleaned, and disinfected.

Some teeth contain multiple pulp canals, while others have only one. Set-up, preparation, and anesthesia can also take several minutes. How long your root canal treatment takes also depends on the location of your infected tooth.


Molars are the teeth present at the back of your mouth. If an infection occurs in your molars, the dentist may take 90 minutes or more to perform a root canal procedure. This is because molars can have up to four canals, making them the most laborious teeth for this treatment.


Premolars are the teeth between your molars and canine, usually having one or two canals. So you should expect an hour or a few minutes more for the dentist to perform a root canal, depending on your tooth anatomy.

Canine and incisors

Canines and incisors are your front teeth. They only have one root, making them the fastest to be filled and treated during a root canal. But it may still require 45-60 minutes, excluding the time needed to place a crown if needed.

Either your dentist will call you again for a second appointment to place a crown, or it may take at least an additional 60 minutes for crown placement. In most cases, the dentist recommends waiting a short time after the root canal to ensure the proper healing of your tooth before placing a crown.

Why do root canals sometimes require two visits?

  • A root canal procedure may require a second appointment depending on the infected tooth. The first appointment will focus on disinfecting the tooth. This part of the procedure requires concentration and care, making it time-consuming. The dentist will then treat your tooth with temporary antibacterial medication, so you no longer feel tooth pain.
  • The second phase of the root canal treatment involves more cleaning and application of sealants to the inside of your tooth. The dentist will then place a permanent or temporary filling or a crown to restore your tooth’s functions.

Oral care after a root canal treatment

You may wait 1-2 weeks to have crown placement after your first root canal appointment. You should only consume softer foods and perform mouth rinses with lukewarm salt water during this time. This will prevent harm to your unprotected tooth and keep food debris away from it. For more information, please visit the dentist in Richmond, Texas. You can also call us today at 832-895-5110 to schedule an appointment.

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