How many dentist visits does it take to get a root canal?

Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile!

It depends on your case. It can be anywhere from 1 to 3 appointments. Sometimes with larger infection, your dentist may choose to leave some medication in the tooth for a week or two before completing the root canal.
Most times a root canal can be performed in a single visit. Occaisionally there may be a situation where more than one visit is required.

A tooth can have one or multiple canals depending on which tooth it is. Generally, front teeth have one canal and the back teeth have multiple canals. Root canal treatment usually takes one to three visits depending on the difficulty of the canal system; more canals and curved roots may take more visits or a complicated infection may take longer to complete. 

Alex Krempa

A root canal can be performed in one visit. However, sometimes due to infection or advanced anatomy, it may take multiple visits to complete a root canal. Importantly, it is not the number of visits, but the quality and disinfection occurring that is important.

Usually in 1 appointment if it's not a complicated or infected tooth. The higher the degree of complexity the easier it is on both the dentist and the patient to complete the treatment over 2 or even 3 appointments.
Romesh Nalliah
There are two methods that dentists use to clean the root canal system. The first is the "mechanical" cleaning process where the dentist physically cleans the root canal system. The second uses chemicals (such as sodium hypochlorite and calcium hydroxide) to flush out and kill bacteria.

Although single visit root canal treatments are common, it can sometimes take an additional visit to thoroughly clean (mechanically and chemically) a root canal system and fill it. Teeth with multiple root canals or complex root canal architecture can take longer to clean.
It depends on the type of tooth. It can typically be completed in 1 appointment. More complicated cases (i.e. molars with multiple roots and canals) and those with more severe infections usually need to be treated over a few appointments (2-3) over a span of 1-2 months to ensure that all residual decay and infectious tissue has been cleaned out.
Depends on the complexity of the tooth, i.e. ease of access, number of root/canal, a root canal can be done in 1-3 visits. An endodontist or root canal specialist can often finish the procedure more efficiently than a general dentist due to their additional training and more advanced instrumentations. 

Most root canals can be done in a single visit. More complicated cases such as teeth with multiple roots, curved roots, or infections could require more than one visit. A tooth that has had a root treatment may require a new crown.

Most root canals can and should be completed in one visit. If you come to the dentist as an emergency, there may not be enough time for your dentist to complete the root canal in a single visit. In some cases, due to the complexity of the tooth's anatomy or the severity of the infection, two or three visits may be required. See also:
Root canals may be treated in one or multiple visits. Most root canals can be treated in one visit. The exceptions are extremely infected teeth, complications from the procedure, and complex cases. Teeth with multiple roots and canals and teeth with very small canals may take several visits. Teeth that are extremely infected may take several visits as the infection will need to be controlled for the root canal to be a success. Your dentist should have an idea about the number of visits it will take to complete your root canal. Dicuss this with your dentist before your root canal. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.