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RCT - what was yours like, what helps?



Sep 21, 2016
I'm thinking I'm going to have to go through a RCT.

It's either that or pull it, but the teeth that need to be extracted are slowly creeping into view (when I smile). I've lost 10 teeth already.. Normally when RCT is on the cards I judge from my struggling previously and RCT are never given a real thought, it's a no, point blank.

I'm absolutely terrified of the whole thing. I haven't booked it but I know it's inevitable.

My worries
1) I struggle to get numb. Numerous dentists have failed, I felt a filling with my current dentist (but not an extraction). The dentist will be touching the nerve - this is terrifying to me.

2) I need anesthesia with no adrenaline (due to medication). Presumably this may affect the numbing success?

3) I barely keep myself together for fillings. The extended time for RCT isnt something I think I can manage.. I've read 1 hr which seemed just about do-able, but then I've read it taking 2hrs (2x) - I doubt id get through it and i know the non adrenaline anesthesia will quickly wear off.

4) how can I possibly have a break and sit up etc? (with a rubber dam stuck in my mouth)

5) how do I even cope with that thing, does it make it harder to breathe? Does it make nausea worse?? my mind will go into overdrive with that one as I suffer with nausea and felt faint last time.

Any input is appreciated, I'm scared out of my mind.
Even if you've something small to add I'd appreciate it 👍

My main fear is the non adrenaline anesthesia and being fully numb - f you've had non adrenaline and successfully done a RCT id love to know 😊

( I've tried to look for that answer on other forums but instead I've read a lot of horrible stuff that's only made my anxiety worse.) 😞
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Dear Nicci,

It sounds to me you are rushing into scenarios which are might not be relevant. I really suggest first hearing what your dentist has to say as soon as possible, it will help your worrying thoughts. Here is a video I made about this subject:
Dental worrying

A question: can you share with us why adrenaline is not suitable for you? there are hardly any real counter indicators for Adrenaline.

Here is another video I made about making sure the drilling will not be painful, whether it is just for a filling or for a root canal treatment:
How to prevent painful drilling

Hope it helps.
Hey Nicci,

I can say something to the breaks and the rubber dam. Rubber dam had been my nightmare and - just so that you can imagine where I was at - just thought of it would make me burst into tears. Two things helped me through that: a kind caring dentist who showed it to me and got me used to it (without any treatment) and another dentist willing to work with me through it as I needed it for the treatment. I recognized that the sight of the thing scared me the most so I asked my dentist to keep it out of sight and let me know before he places it so that I can close my eyes. He then would let me know once it was in place so that I can open my eyes again.

We had two stop signals: one for him to stop and another one (pointing at the dam) to let him know I want to have it removed. He reassured me that removing the dam only takes two seconds. Oddly enough, just having this reassurance made me able to get the treatment and I did not use the sign.

Regarding breaks: you can perfectly get breaks during the rct. You can either talk to your dentist and ask him to actually give you regular breaks (this will give them a bit of control and will help you not to have to decide whether you feel "bad enough" to actually ask for a break). Or you simply use the stop signal when you need a break.

My big advice is to see this as a team work with your dentist, not to be afraid to chat and make a proper plan on how to go about things. It may be even a good idea to schedule a consultation just to plan for things before you schedule the rct.

All the best wishes
@Nicci I don't really have anything to say that will help, but I wanted to tell you that I'm right there with you - especially with numbers 1, 2, and 3. I need several fillings. Two of them are for two teeth that are already temperature sensitive and I'm scared they need root canal and that fillings won't work. Fillings terrify me anyway, worse than extractions. I've lost 8 teeth so far in addition to wisdom teeth. If I lose these two, it's 10, but I know I can't do a root canal. I'm panicking now about moving forward with these two in 15 days and I will certainly be posting here for moral support. I think I need to have them cold tested first, but I'm scared of that moment when I find out it's too late for these to be fixed with fillings. Have you already been told that it's root canal or extraction? I'll be thinking of you.
I've had a number of RCTs over the years, never had any issues. Yes, sitting there for longer is boring and I did get fed up with keeping my mouth open, but no other complaints. Well, I say no complaints, but my teeth were/are rather weak and every tooth I had RCT on eventually broke and had to be extracted. These days I have pretty much full dentures so I could care less !
I had two RCTs done on the same day. I was more than terrified. I was a quivering mess for two weeks before the procedure and a basket case the day off. Guess what? I did it! And you can, too. Don’t listen to the horror stories. The dam is no big deal. You can take breaks. I needed a couple of shots to get good and numb, but after that there was no pain. It takes about an hour. You can do this!
@Dr. Daniel

I just wanted to thank you very much for these videos.
They absolutely touched on all of the concerns that I have and live with on a daily basis around my teeth.

I think that not really being heard carefully, and not having any control over what's going on with our despite excellent oral care...these things are what are most difficult for me.
also being judged and the stigma around having anxiety and the code also with the dental staff that we are 'One of those patients' makes it even harder, and more isolating.

when it comes to dental issues it is a deep topic as it encompasses one's ego and one's mortality at a subliminal level I believe and that is why I have such a hard time with my teeth.
I just want to be accepted understood validated and properly taken care of and I will do the rest.
thank you again.

hi laura, super happy that your experience was good and you got it done.
yes you did it.
I am facing a dubious future here and trying to muster up positive attitude.
so many stories and each one is different but we are all human and share empathy and that is what gets us through.
good going 🌸