Table of Contents

Things to Know Before You Get an RCT!

Are you experiencing sharp tooth pain or sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks? Does your tooth hurt every time you try to take a bite? Does eating ice creams feel like a nightmare? If so, you may be in need of a root canal treatment.

But what do you need to know before deciding to get one? This article will provide an overview of RCT, including the signs, procedure, and post-treatment care.

Read on to find out the essential things to know before you get an RCT.

Key Takeaways

  •  RCT eliminates pain without extracting the tooth
  •  RCT saves the tooth and prevents further damage
  •  Symptoms for RCT include persistent tooth pain, sensitivity to hot and cold, boil or pimple formation on gums, tooth discolouration, pain on biting/ chewing and swollen jaw.
  •  After RCT, it is important to eat soft foods, avoid hard and crunchy foods, and maintain good oral hygiene to prevent further decay and unnecessary strain on the treated tooth.

What Is Root Canal Treatment (RCT)

Root Canal Treatment (RCT) is a dental procedure used to treat an infected tooth. Bacteria infiltrate the pulp chamber of the tooth, leading to symptoms such as pain, heightened sensitivity to hot and cold foods, as well as tooth discolouration.

RCT removes the infected pulp and seals the root canals to stop the spread of bacteria. It's important to undergo the procedure as soon as possible to prevent further damage and to save the tooth from extraction.

Talk to your dentist about the procedure and any follow-up care that may be needed.

Signs You Might Need an RCT

Do you know what signs might indicate that you need an RCT? Common signs that you might need RCT include:

  •  Tooth pain (constant or radiating)
  •  Sensitivity to hot and cold
  •  Swelling or an abscess
  •  Darkening/Greying of the tooth.
  •  Pain when chewing or applying pressure
  •  Pain that spreads to the jaw, ear, or neck area.
  •  Tenderness or swelling in the nearby gums

RCT Procedure Overview

  •   Diagnosis: The initial step involves the dentist inspecting the tooth and conducting X-ray scans to evaluate the scope of any infection or damage.
  •   Anaesthesia: Local anaesthesia is administered to numb the tooth and the surrounding area, ensuring the patient's comfort during the procedure.
  •   Isolation: A rubber dam is positioned around the tooth to maintain a dry and saliva-free environment during the procedure.
  •   Access: The dentist creates a minor opening in the tooth's crown to reach the pulp chamber and root canals.
  •   Cleaning and shaping: The diseased or injured pulp tissue is removed, and then the root canals are meticulously cleaned, shaped, and disinfected.
  •   Filling: Following the cleaning and shaping process, the dentist seals the emptied root canals with a biocompatible material known as gutta-percha.
  •  Restoration: A temporary or permanent filling is placed in the access opening to seal the tooth. In many cases, a dental crown is advised to protect and restore the function and aesthetics of the tooth.

Pain Management and Recovery

Managing the pain and recovering from a root canal treatment requires careful planning. Talk to your specialist about the available options for pain management and recovery, including:

  •   Oral Sedative – calming medication taken before the procedure
  •   Conscious Sedation – intravenous medication given during the procedure
  •   Nitrous Oxide – inhaled gas that produces a relaxed state
  •   Local Anesthesia – numbing injection to reduce pain during the procedure

Your specialist will recommend the best combination of these options for your situation.

After the procedure, you may need to take over-the-counter or prescription pain medication to reduce discomfort. Furthermore, it is crucial to adhere to a soft food diet during the initial few days and abstain from consuming hard or crunchy foods that could potentially harm the tooth.

Once the root canal procedure is finished, your tooth can be restored using a crown or another type of restoration. With diligent care and regular dental check-ups you can anticipate your tooth to remain healthy and functional for a lifetime.

Potential Complications

No medical procedure is without risks, and RCT is no exception. While it's generally a safe and effective treatment, we'll discuss potential complications that can arise. Being informed about these risks will help you make an educated decision and recognize any issues should they occur.

Potential complications during root canal treatment can include:

  •   Instrument separation: This occurs in very curved canals or canals, which have a very sharp, tortuous path to clean and navigate with instruments.
  •   Extreme pain: Bacteria entering the blood vessels can cause severe discomfort.Root canal failure: Incomplete cleaning or sealing of the root canal can result in this complication.

Aftercare and Maintenance

After a root canal procedure, it's important to understand the necessary aftercare and maintenance to ensure the best possible outcomes. Here are 5 key points to consider:

  •  Have regular check-ups and cleanings with your dentist to detect and treat any infections or issues early.
  •  Maintain good oral hygiene and take prescribed medication.
  •  Consider getting a crown or cap to secure the tooth and give it strength to resume normal function post-RCT as per recommendation from your dentist.

In addition, it's advisable to avoid hard and crunchy foods that can cause further damage. If any pain or sensitivity persists, it's crucial to contact your dentist for further diagnosis and treatment.

Foods To Avoid:

  •   Hard Nuts and Seeds
  •   Hard roti or naan
  •   Crunchy snacks like samosas
  •   Sticky sweets like gulab jamun/caramel-based sweets and toffees
  •   Citrus fruits and juices
  •   Chewy candies
  •   Corn on the cob
  •   Trying to open bottle caps with teeth.
  •   Foods To Eat:
  •   Khichdi
  •   Dal (Lentil Soup)
  •   Paneer Bhurji
  •   Mashed Potatoes
  •   Raita (Yogurt)
  •   Kheer (Rice Pudding)
  •   Poha
  •   Fruit Custard

Common Myths About RCT

Root Canal Treatment (RCT) is a common dental procedure, but there are still many misconceptions surrounding it. Here are the four most common myths about RCT:

  •   Dental Implants are better than RCT: False. Implants are only suitable for certain cases; RCT is usually a better option as it preserves the original tooth.
  •   RCT is a long and painful process: False. With modern techniques, RCTcan be done in a single sitting and with advanced anaesthesia, it is completely painless.
  •   RCT can be done only with hand and pins: False. With modern technology, RCT can be done with greater efficiency using specialized rotary instruments and Laser for disinfection.
  •   High risk of RCT: False. If done properly, the risk is minimal; there are many benefits, such as relieving pain and preventing further damage.
Myth Fact
RCT is painful. NO! Once the anaesthetic solution is injected, you will not feel any pain or discomfort while the doctor treats your tooth.
RCT needs many sittings. NOT ALWAYS! With advanced technology like rotary instruments and laser-assisted disinfection, RCT can be completed in a single visit lasting 30-60 minutes.
RCT makes teeth weak, and they break/ fracture. NO. Teeth become weak due to decay, which is cleaned during the RCT procedure. When significant decay and loss of natural tooth structure occur, our recommendation to patients is to opt for a crown or cap. This serves as a protective measure, safeguarding the tooth against external forces and the risk of fractures.
Removing the tooth is better than RCT. NO WAY! As doctors, we always strive to preserve and save as much normal and natural structure as we can. Removal of the tooth is the last resort only if the decay or infection is beyond the scope of treatment.


Once you've determined that you require a root canal, it is important to follow your doctor's advice prior to the procedure. Refrain from alcohol and tobacco for a full 24 hours before the treatment, and avoid coming for the procedure with an empty stomach. Light meals 1-2 hours before a dental procedure make the procedure comfortable for the patient.
It's important to avoid chewing on hard foods or using the treated tooth for heavy biting until your endodontist or dentist has cleared you. For the first hour after the treatment, you should steer clear of chewing, drinking hot or cold liquids, or smoking. It is advisable to refrain from smoking as it can impede the healing process.
No! It is a completely painless procedure. Root canal treatments are done under local anaesthesia, and patients do not feel any pain during or after the procedure.
The second appointment is when we remove the temporary filling and apply a final filling or build up the core with other adjuncts in case of a badly broken down tooth. If needed, the dentist may put posts in the tooth to ensure its structural integrity. Once the tooth filling is complete, you may be advised to go for capping or prosthetic crowns on the tooth to protect it from heavy biting forces in case the tooth is badly damaged.
Following a root canal procedure, you can generally eat about 45 to 90 minutes later, allowing adequate time for the temporary filling to harden. However, it's usually advisable to wait until the local anaesthetic has worn off to prevent unintentional biting of your cheek or tongue while eating.
If you experience an issue with one of your teeth or any discomfort, consulting your dentist for a diagnosis is essential. When dental problems are addressed promptly, particularly in the early stages of decay, it may be possible to avoid the need for a root canal procedure. Early treatment can often help preserve the tooth and prevent more extensive intervention.
Yes, you can generally speak after a root canal. While it's normal to experience some degree of discomfort following the procedure, it typically doesn't significantly impact your ability to speak. The discomfort is often temporary and tends to subside relatively quickly.
Is a Root Canal Worth It? The resounding answer is yes. Root canal therapy is a cost-effective, minimally invasive dental procedure that minimizes discomfort and reduces chair time. While tooth extraction may seem like an appealing option at first glance, it becomes evident that root canal treatment is the preferable and more beneficial treatment choice as it saves the patient’s own tooth.
The short answer is yes! It's highly uncommon for a dentist to advise against brushing your teeth after a dental procedure. After the numbing medication has completely worn off, you should resume brushing your teeth as part of your regular oral hygiene routine.
Maintaining cleanliness in the treated area following a root canal is crucial. It's important to avoid aggressive brushing, as it can exert excessive pressure on the temporary filling or crown, potentially dislodging it. Instead, use a toothbrush with soft bristles to gently clean the tooth and follow with flossing. When flossing, take care not to force it between the teeth to prevent any damage to the restoration.
Swelling after a Root Canal is a very rare complication. As it is a minimally invasive procedure, Root canal treatments do not tend to cause any swelling. In case of swelling due to a pre-existing infection, a time period of 1-3 days is usually needed for recovery.
Following a dental procedure, it's recommended to keep your head elevated and avoid eating right away. To alleviate any discomfort, take pain medication as prescribed. If you have any oral irritation, rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can be helpful in soothing it. Applying a cold compress and indulging in some ice cream may bring relief. Be mindful to steer clear of foods or activities that could cause inflammation in the treated area.


Deciding to get a root canal treatment can be a difficult decision. It's important to be informed and knowledgeable about the symptoms, procedure, and care that comes after in order to make an educated decision.

RCT is no longer a multiple sitting and painful process. At Hope Dental and esthetic clinic Noida, we perform single sitting RCTS in 30-60 minutes regularly, and with the right care and maintenance, the healing process is as smooth as silk!

Dr. Mimansa Bhoj

BDS, MDS (Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon)

University Gold medalist

About the Author

Dr. Mimansa is a highly accomplished oral and maxillofacial surgeon with a wealth of experience in her field. With a strong academic background and numerous gold medals, she has treated over 5000 patients for various oral and maxillofacial problems. Dr. Mimansa has practiced in different parts of India and has learned from the best in the field, making her an expert in OMFS and Dentistry. Known for her friendly and empathetic approach, she believes in providing treatments with care and compassion to heal her patients. With academic achievements, multiple scientific publications, and her current role as an Associate Professor, Dr. Mimansa is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care. She has also established a safe space, Hope Dental and Esthetic Clinic, during the pandemic, ensuring the utmost safety for patients while providing dental and medical treatments.