Last week I had a new patient at the clinic for a root canal. As I waited for the numbing injection to take effect, we had a few moments to spare.
There are three kinds of people in these spare moments. One, the religious kind - who will pray to God to walk out of the dental clinic alive. Two, the social kind - who will talk to you about family, politics, sports and finally teeth to end the conversation with "Doc, have you ever yourself experienced a root canal?" and I do not know whether to sympathize or tell the truth! But the third are the spiritual kind - who will use those moments to remind you of your dental skills and how many patients have walked out of your clinic with a smile. I never understand spiritual words, and to me their words are always a threat to perform to the best of my skills and their satisfaction! Or do they really mean it that ways?
This patient introduced me to a different plane of thinking. Of the two root canals he had got done earlier, one dentist had taken eleven sittings and another had taken three sittings; and "obviously if I could, I would go back to the first one because his root canal was better". And I have been praying and meditating ever since to make this third dentist his best in five sittings!
The first sitting - Drilling through the crown, Cleaning the roots & Stepping down the tooth from bite
Conventionally speaking, and still practiced by many, a root canal takes three sittings followed by two sittings for its capping, add or take one to the total. Contemporary practice, strongly supported by scientific studies (One visit vs multiple visit approach to root canal treatment), advocates single sitting root canal treatment in many, but not all cases (add two sittings for capping). So if your tooth meets the clinical criteria for single sitting root canal treatment, you might be spending as few as three sittings with your beloved dentist; while in cases of more severe infections or complicated root canals, you might possibly start liking your dreaded dentist after six or seven sittings.
So does it mean you are going to be poked a needle every sitting? No. Usually if your spiritual qualms have had an impact on your dentist to do his best in the first sitting itself, subsequent sittings will not require anesthetic shots - and they will not be painful either. (Is root canal treatment painful)
Is there any way you can have it rushed up? You can request your dentist for a single sitting root canal - but it is up to his clinical judgement to decide for or against it. And if cost factor is not a deterrent for you, you may opt for a dentist with CAD CAM system in his clinic. That will have your cap ready in the same sitting.