What is RCT or Root Canal Treatment?


Whenever we think of a dentist, one of the first things that comes to mind is ‘toothache’ and ‘root canal’. In fact, a large majority of the people fear RCT as they believe it is a painful procedure. But, how many of us really know and understand what a root canal is how and why a RCT is performed?
• RCT is a multi-step procedure that involves: Removal of the infected and inflamed pulp Cleaning the root canals and disinfecting them Filling the canals with an inert material and sealing them A post root canal crown or cap
• When Do You Need a RCT? Now that we know why a root canal procedure is done, the next question that comes to mind is when do you need one? Are there any signs and symptoms that indicate one may require a RCT?

What to expect

A root canal is a dental procedure used to treat infection or damage to the pulp of a tooth. Here's what you can generally expect from a root canal procedure:
Consultation :
Your dentist will examine your tooth and may take X-rays to determine the extent of the damage and whether a root canal is necessary.
Before the procedure begins, your dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the area around the affected tooth. This ensures you don't feel pain during the procedure.
Cleaning and Shaping::
Using special instruments, your dentist will remove the infected or damaged pulp tissue from the pulp chamber and root canals. They will then clean and shape the inside of the tooth to prepare it for filling.
Once the tooth is cleaned and shaped, it will be filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha to seal the space and prevent further infection.

Symptoms that most people are likely to experience that may indicate the need for a RCT:

Tooth ache:
This is one of the first reasons why you would visit a dentist and the pain can range from mild to severe. The tooth ache can increase on changing position, especially while lying down or biting onto something using that particular tooth.
In normal cases, the enamel layer covers the inner two layers and we therefore, do not experience any sensitivity. However, when the dentin and pulp layers are exposed, you might experience increased sensitivity to air, hot foods, sour foods and sweet foods.
In many cases, the tooth pain might be mild and most patients tend to ignore it. However, even though the pain subsides, the infection can still spread to tissues around the decayed tooth, resulting in a swelling. A large number of patients who report to the dentist with a swelling are treated by root canal procedure.

Procedure of a RCT

When you hear the word ‘root canal treatment’, apart from pain, another question that comes to mind is “How many visits does a root canal take?” Well as mentioned earlier on, RCT is a multi-step procedure and it usually takes 1-2 sittings, but can take longer based on the condition of the tooth and the level of infection.

Here is what a RCT procedure entails:

X-ray is indispensable for a root canal procedure and is the first step as well. In order to determine the cause of your pain and the extent of decay, one of the first things your dentist does is take an x-ray of the affected tooth. After an x-ray is taken, in most cases, the next step is to inject a local anaesthetic to ensure you have a painless procedure. In some cases, however, since the patient is asymptomatic or the tooth is completely dead and painless, local anaesthesia may be omitted.
Removal or decay and preparing the cavity: The next step in RCT is the removal of all the decay that can be seen and preparing a cavity in the tooth to access the inner pulp easily.
Removal of infected pulp, drainage of any pus from underneath the tooth: Once straight-line access has been obtained, the infected and inflamed pulp is removed completely. In some cases, the pulp may have disintegrated and only specks of it remain, which can be washed out by using a saline solution in the canals. In cases where there is pus accumulation beneath the root, accessing and removing the pulp facilitates drainage of pus and provides immediate relief to the patient.
Cleaning, disinfecting and preparing the canals: Once the pulp has been removed and the canals are disinfected with saline solution, the canals are cleaned and shaped to be able to accommodate the filling material.
Sealing the canals with inert material and a sealant: In ideal cases, the canals can be sealed with the inert rubber-based material in the same sitting itself. Such a RCT treatment is called as single-sitting root canal. However, in practise, most cases require a gap of 3-5 days before the canals can be permanently sealed. In the interim, the dentist places a calcium-based medication to allow the inflamed tissues to heal. Once the canals are ready to be sealed, rubber-based cones are placed into the canals and sealed. These cones are inert in nature and do not dissolve in saliva or blood and thereby, prevent re-infection of the tooth.
Post-root canal filling and crown: Once the canals have been sealed, it is time to restore the decayed crown portion of your tooth with tooth filling material. After this, the tooth crown is shaped for the placement of a cap that will strengthen the tooth.

Is throbbing pain after root canal normal?

Pain and Discomfort after the root canal treatment is normal for a few days. As our body heals, the area around the tooth can feel a bit sore and tender, which is why it is normal to experience mild to moderate pain for a few days after RCT. Once the RCT is done there are a few things to follow and they are:
• Avoid eating hard food for a few days.
• Try eating soft food like ice-cream, soups and fruit juices
• Start brushing your teeth twice a day
• Start reducing the amount of sugary food in your daily diet.
However, if the RCT pain is intense or if the pain persists or if there is swelling, then consult your dentist immediately.

How Root Canal Treatment (RCT) is executed

Tooth RCT is executed in three steps, and many of the dental surgeons perform this process in three different sessions. But due to the specialised root canal dentists, staff and also superior services available at Rutudent- Bhawsar Dental Care & Research Centre, this RCT treatment procedure can be completed in just a single session. The dentist first administers local anaesthesia to your treatment area to lower RCT pain as well as make the spot numb. Then a tiny hole is created on the surface of the tooth to remove the affected nerves and dead pulp. Next, the root canal dentists clean and reshape the particular decontaminated hollow area. This hollow empty canal will be lastly filled up with a dental filling to seal off the tooth root canal completely, thus completing the RCT. Immediately after this, the tooth is absolutely dead and has no sensation. Finally, in order to safeguard this lifeless brittle tooth, a crown might be placed on the dead tooth in order to ensure that the patient can make use of the tooth just like before. The RCT price widely varies individually for each person depending on the seriousness of the condition.

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