A root canal may not be anyone's favorite procedure, but they can save severely damaged teeth for a healthier smile. Learn more & schedule a consultation!




Comprehensive Dental Treatment in Lakewood

At Lakewood Dental Arts, we believe everyone deserves a smile they're proud of, and our mission is to help our patients achieve one through comprehensive dental care. We're proud to offer general, restorative, and cosmetic dental treatments from our Lakewood office, and our doctors work closely with patients to personalize treatment to fit any lifestyle. We strive to prevent dental problems before they happen whenever possible, but if a tooth is at risk due to advanced dental decay, a root canal can help. 

What Is a Root Canal? 

A root canal is a dental procedure that's used to save a tooth that would otherwise be lost due to severe decay. Root canals become necessary once the bacteria in a cavity reach the soft, fleshy dental "pulp" inside of the tooth. At this stage, the infection can spread down through the tooth root and into the gums, threatening the health of not only the tooth, but also adjacent teeth and the jawbone itself. A root canal works by carefully removing the decayed dental tissue and pulp from the tooth, then filling the space left behind by the pulp with a strong, biocompatible filler material. Root canals are part of endodontics, which is the field of dentistry that focuses on the study of the dental pulp. 

Why Would I Need a Root Canal? 

The most common reason for a root canal is a cavity that's been left untreated long enough to reach the center of the tooth, but this isn't the only time when a root canal may be appropriate. In addition to advanced dental decay, root canals can also be used to treat other problems:

  • Infected dental pulp
  • Severe tooth sensitivity
  • Severe tooth decay or cavities
  • Chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
  • Swelling or tenderness around an infected tooth
  • Weakening of teeth caused by repeated dental procedures

While root canals aren't the first line of defense in dental treatment, they often allow us to save a tooth that would otherwise be lost. 

Do Root Canals Hurt? 

Unfortunately, root canals are one of the most infamous procedures in dentistry due in large part to the colloquial phrase "I'd rather have a root canal." But the truth is, this reputation is undeserved. Root canals are a relatively minor, routine procedure performed under local anesthesia, so they cause minimal discomfort – if any at all. Most patients feel no pain during the procedure, and root canals actually prevent the very severe pain that would come from leaving the infection untreated. So the short answer is no, root canals don't hurt, and they save patients from extreme discomfort in the long run!

What Happens During a Root Canal? 

Root canals are relatively minor procedures. While every patient is different, the process goes something like this:

  • First, we'll apply a local anesthetic to numb the area and keep you comfortable. We can also use a mild sedative or general anesthesia depending on patient preference. 
  • Next, your Endodontist will clean away all dead and diseased tooth material and dental pulp, then carefully sterilize the area to prepare it for filling. 
  • Once the tooth is clean, your dentist will fill in the canal left behind by the pulp using a strong, biocompatible filler material.
  • Lastly your Endodontist will close the tooth off with a temporary filling. There will be a brief healing period, after which we’ll bring you back to finish the tooth with a permanent filling or crown. 

Schedule a Consultation with Your Lakewood, CA Family Dentist

While we prioritize prevention whenever possible, root canals are an important procedure that can help us maintain the integrity of your smile after a serious dental problem. Think you might be in need of a root canal? Contact us today to learn more about this important procedure and schedule your consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!