All You Need To Know About Root Canal Treatment (RCT)

By Richa Arora +2 more

Have you been advised to undergo a root canal treatment by your dentist? No need to worry. It’s not a big deal. Really!

All You Need To Know About Root Canal Treatment (RCT)

Why RCT?

Let’s start with understanding ‘why’ a root canal treatment is needed. Each of our teeth has 3 important layers
Ӣ Enamel (outermost layer)
Ӣ Dentin (next inner layer)
Ӣ Pulp (innermost part)

A small decay in enamel or dentin may or may not cause sensitivity or pain. However, the pulp is the most sensitive part of the tooth as it is connected to nerves and blood vessels (veins and arteries). As and when the pulp is exposed to the outer atmosphere either due to decay or an injury, you are likely to experience tremendous pain. This is exactly when a Root Canal Treatment comes to the rescue of your tooth. Through RCT, the pain can be completely eliminated without extracting the tooth.

Symptoms for RCT:

  • Persistent tooth pain that radiates to your jaw, other teeth or face
  •  Sensitivity to cold and hot food and drinks 
  • Boil or pimple formation on the gums through which pus emanates 
  • Tooth discolouration wherein the tooth appears darker due to poor blood supply
  • Cracked or chipped teeth can make you susceptible to bacterial infection
  • Swollen jaw due to pus accumulation that has not been drained out
  • An infected tooth that is generating pus can damage the bone supporting the tooth and make it feel looser and make it seem as if it were going to fall out

Note: Tooth extraction is another option that might cost you lesser in terms of money as well as time. But you should not be tempted to take that route. Tooth extraction is not recommended as it can damage the alignment of the whole arch (jaw) with varying magnitude, depending upon the position of the tooth being extracted, and in the long run, it can potentially affect your ability to eat.

Process of RCT

The process of root canal treatment is explained below:

  • Cleaning

In the ‘Cleaning’ phase, the infected pulp is removed using manual or mechanized files. The inner walls of dentin are cleaned and filled with antiseptics to prevent relapse of infections. This process may be completed by your dentist in a single marathon appointment or over multiple appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth, your pain tolerance and your availability, etc.

However, cleaning the infected pulp and removing caries, etc. may require some time. So it’s important for the patient to have patience and not panic.


At times patients are relieved from the pain at this stage and are inclined to discontinue the treatment, possibly to save some money and time or due to ignorance. But an incomplete treatment would not lead to sustainable health for the tooth, making it susceptible to relapse of infection or even breakage due to lack of strength.


  • Shaping

In this activity, the root canal is prepared for root canal filling by using files.

  • Filling

In this stage, the root canal is filled with artificial materials such as gutta-percha, etc. Then, the hollowness of the tooth which reduces its compressive strength and makes it mechanically weak is restored by filling.

Note: At this stage, the pain subsides completely and the patient is able to chew properly. But the tooth may not withstand stronger chewing forces and can possibly break. Numerous patients are not aware of this and discontinue the treatment, to save time or money required for the crown.

  • Restoration of the tooth

Tooth restoration is achieved using an artificial crown, which is designed using casts. The crowns are typically manufactured by specialized labs and can be made in various materials such as ceramics, etc. based on your preference and budget. Once the crown is ready, it is pasted on the tooth using permanent adhesives. Crown is important not only from the aesthetics point of view but also necessary for the protection of the tooth from chewing forces.

  • Post Treatment Care

RCT is generally categorized as a minor surgical procedure. You may also be prescribed painkillers, antibiotics apart from the use of local anaesthesia (during the procedure in the clinic), depending on the condition of your tooth, your pain threshold and your immunity. In such cases where anaesthesia is used, the jaw is likely to be numb for 3-4 hours, after which the effect of anaesthesia is expected to subside gradually. Your dentist should guide you accordingly.

Overall, RCT can be a very smooth and peaceful process if you cooperate completely with your dentist, follow the guidelines and prescribed medications and manage your appointments with discipline.


Key Points to remember:

  • Maintain a positive attitude towards preserving your damaged tooth.
  • Sincerely follow the instructions of your dentist.
  • Strictly follow the appointment schedule.
  • Be ready to pay for the RCT, as the opportunity cost of losing your teeth would be way higher in the long run.
  • Your teeth would be your best friends in your old age. Lack of teeth will make old age difficult, extremely difficult!

What to Eat and Not to Eat After RCT

One of the most important aspects of getting any dental procedure done, especially a root canal surgery is what to eat and not to avoid the following days immediately after the procedure. Food is an essential prerequisite in order to live and function. Without proper daily nutrition, one will not have the energy to perform tasks and can even fall sick. However, the food that you consume needs to be chewed in the mouth with your teeth before it can pass into your digestive system. So, when your teeth are in pain, how do you eat normally and what should you eat to avoid furtherance of pain and infection?

To Eat:

When you are having your meals, ensure to have foods that are soft, not very hot as that can cause teeth sensitivity and try to chew from the opposite side of the mouth that has not gone undergone treatment. Some food/dishes you can consider during this period are-

  • Fruit smoothies
  • Protein shakes 
  • Mangoes
  • Bananas
  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Sushi
  • Tuna salad
  • Tofu/paneer
  • Pancakes 
  • Hummus
  • Pudding
  • Cheese and mac
  • Lentil soup
  • Applesauce

To Avoid:

To avoid damaging your teeth and increasing the possibility of an infection, you must steer clear of the following category of foods listed below-

  • Avoid spicy and hot drinks like tea and coffee which can give rise to tooth sensitivity
  • Do not drink alcohol during this time as it can induce bleeding 
  • Hard and difficult to chew foods such as nuts and meat should be avoided
  • Gum, taffy, bread, nougat or candy can damage the temporary filling 
  • Crunchy food like apples, corn, carrots can cause pain. The skin of apples and corn pellets can even get stuck in your teeth and cause an infection

To SummarizeRCT is required to enhance the life of a damaged tooth. On average, a root canal treatment in India will cost you somewhere between INR 3000 to INR 7000 depending upon the city, the clinic/hospital and the area of the dentist. For a successful RCT the patient needs to demonstrate a positive attitude, patience with the process, be disciplined and show trust in the dentist.

Happy Chewing!

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.



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dental clinic in kanpur

Informative article, just what I was looking for.