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What is Root Canal Treatment (RCT)? 

Your tooth is made up of two parts - the part that you can see in the mouth is called the crown, and the part contained in the gums and bone is its root(s). Like every other body part, the tooth also contains blood and nerves. These are carried from the gums and bone to the crown of the tooth though very fine canals in the roots (Root Canals). The treatment of an infection in these root canals is called Root Canal Treatment (RCT). 
 How do these canals get infected? Mainly from decay or tooth cavities. With time, if left unattended to, dental cavities keep growing deeper. Once the bacteria in the cavities reach the level of blood and nerve in the tooth, they cause infection in the roots. Then, the tooth has to be treated to remove the infection by root canal treatment (RCT). 
 There can be other reasons too when Root Canal Treatment (RCT) may be needed for your teeth, such as if the teeth have worn away with time and require caps, if you broke your tooth in a fall or accident , or if infection in the gums has spread to the roots. But in all cases, the procedure of Root Canal Treatment (RCT) remains the same. 
tooth nerve

How is it done?

Root Canal Treatment (RCT) can be done in a single sitting or multiple sittings, depending on the degree of infection in the tooth roots, your availability and convenience, and the clinical preferences of the dentist. The aim of Root Canal Treatment (RCT) is to clean the infection till the end of the roots, for which first we need to access the roots in the gums. How is it done?
1. In the first step, a hole is drilled into the tooth to clean all the cavity containing bacteria and reach till the level of roots. 
2. Specially designed instruments are then used to clean the root canals completely. The dentist (endodontist) will keep cleaning the canal(s) and washing them with medicated solutions. If multiple sittings are being used for the RCT, the dentist may place a medicament in the canals for 2 days or longer to further treat the infection. 
3. Once the root canals are thoroughly cleaned, they are empty spaces right from where the hole was drilled to the end of the canals in the roots. These spaces, if left empty, can again become a site of infection. Therefore, the root canals are permanently sealed with specially designed materials and the hole that was drilled is filled with a filling material. 
steps of root canal treatment

What else should I know about Root Canal Treatment (RCT)? 

In the early days of dentistry, teeth with infection in the roots were removed rather than being treated. The loss of a natural tooth is the beginning of a whole lot of dental problems. Root Canal Treatment (RCT) is a dental treatment done to cure the root infection and save the tooth. 
  When done properly, Root Canal Treatment (RCT) has a very high success rate above 95%. Advances in the techniques and technology in dentistry have made the success of Root Canal Treatment (RCT) better and more predictable. It is best to get your Root Canal Treatment (RCT) done by a specialist - an Endodontist to make it a success. 
 There are many myths and hearsay associated with Root Canal Treatment (RCT) - such as it is a very painful procedure, that it causes other diseases in the body and that the treatment is bound to fail. Many millions of people the world over get this Root Canal Treatment (RCT) done for their teeth every year, and they are happy, satisfied people using those very teeth for normal eating, speaking and smiling. They do not get any other problems from Root Canal Treatment (RCT), but are in fact able to prevent the degradation of their oral health further. 
 For the long term success of Root Canal Treatment, other than getting it done by an Endodontist, you must also make sure you get a cap or crown done on the tooth after the infection has been treated. This is because a tooth is more liable to fracture or break after Root Canal Treatment, and a cap or crown protects the tooth. 
 To know more about Root Canal Treatment (RCT) and associated procedures, keep reading below. 
  Is Root Canal Treatment (RCT) painful?
  If you can choose to save your tooth by Root Canal Treatment (RCT) or have it replaced by a dental implant, what should be your first choice?  
  How many sittings does a Root Canal Treatment (RCT) take?
  Root Canal Treatment (RCT) can save your broken teeth and roots!
 Why should you get a cap or crown done on your tooth after Root Canal Treatment (RCT)?
 What is the best choice for a cap or crown after Root Canal Treatment (RCT)?
A quick "brush-up"
Root Canal Treatment (RCT)
Done for 
Infection in tooth roots, Deep dental cavities
Number of sittings
1- 3 sittings of 30-60 minutes
Pain/ Discomfort
Possible during and after procedure. Usually taken care of by routine pain killers. More painful in acute infection; therefore best to get the treatment done early
Fracture of tooth if not capped/ crowned after treatment
Requires anesthesia (numbing)