How long do I really have to wait for the second half of my root canal?

Jun 16, 2024
Last Monday, I had a surprise root canal done after a long time of not seeing dentists. The tooth was so infected and inflamed that they could only do half of the root canal that day, and put in a temporary filling. They said that they'd like it to "ride like that for a month" before they finished the procedure, and scheduled me for a month out. But I am in so much pain. It's been 7 days and the pain has barely subsided at all, I'm miserable. I'm going to call tomorrow and see if we can move my appointment up sooner, but I'm curious as to how likely they are to say yes? As in, do I really HAVE to wait a month for any specific reason?

Dr M

Verified Dentist
May 31, 2019
If you are in such severe pain, then it will be better to see the dentist sooner. The other canals needs to be opened in order to clear up the infection. It might be that the canal causing the issue, is the one that has not been opened yet. A lot of times, if the infection is very severe, we do rinse out the canals more than once until the pain is gone, but all the canals need to be opened first, so that they can be rinsed out effectively.

Dec 26, 2023
I recently had a root canal in one frontal incisor done, which has a SINGLE root canal [molars have up to four]. In the first sitting, the endodontist cleaned out this canal and added a calcium hydroxide plug ("apexification"), then closed the hole with a temporary filling.

The idea is that the calcium hydroxide is working away killing the remaining bacteria inside the root over a time frame of 2-4 weeks. This is standard procedure.

Once the bacteria inside the root canal have been killed, they cannot supply the infection outside the tooth anymore and the body's own immune system takes care of that.

In the second sitting, the endodontist removed the calciumhydroxide and filled the root canal with a rubber-like substance ("gutta percha"). Only then was the hole sealed permanently.

I read that healing can require a lot of patience by both doctor and patient....and can take several months in some cases.


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