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Root Canals

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Root canal procedures are performed when the nerve of the tooth becomes infected or the pulp becomes damaged. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.

Root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful. Actually, most people report that the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed.

The discomfort experienced in the period leading up to a seeking of dental care is truly the painful period of time, not the root canal procedure itself.


Why Does the Pulp Need to Be Removed?

When nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth. An abscess occurs when the infection spreads all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth. In addition to an abscess, an infection in the root canal of a tooth can cause:

  • Swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head
  • Bone loss around the tip of the root
  • Drainage problems extending outward from the root. A hole can occur through the side of the tooth with drainage into the gums or through the cheek with drainage into the skin.

What Damages a Tooth's Nerve and Pulp in the First Place?

A tooth's nerve and pulp can become irritated, inflamed, and infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth and/or large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the face.


Signs & Symptoms

  • Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
  • Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed)
  • Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
  • Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
  • A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
  • Sometimes no symptoms are present





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What People Are Saying

Came in for a free consultation and also received a free x-ray. I was immediately accommodated and had 3 wisdom teeth extracted in the same visit. Very good service. I had minimal pain and no swelling. Very pleased with the results. Received good instruction on post-surgery care and a caring attitude by the staff.

George T.

Our family has been with Johnson Family Dental for several years now. We are extremely pleased with their services, especially given that our young boys have been introduced to visits to the dentist in a way that they look forward to. That helps alot! And their care for all of us has been superb. Need I say more? Thanks Johnson Family Dental! Oh, did I also mention that we use their Solvang and Santa Barbara locations? Equally fine!

John W.

I've been a patient at Johnson Family Dental for over a year, and this was my third visit, a routine cleaning. I arrived about 15 minutes early, and they were able to see me prior to my appointed time. The assistant took x-rays, Dr. Johnson--always friendly--did a quick exam, and the hygienist did a thorough yet gentle cleaning. The office was clean and bright, the staff was friendly and helpful, and I was on my way with clean teeth!

Greg D.

I am a new customer and was given an immediate appointment for tooth pain and had a root canal. From the very first interaction, every member of the staff were courteous, pleasant and caring. The care was excellent and I would highly recommend them to anyone!

Constance W.

From the reception desk and beyond Johnson family dental makes me feel welcome and comfortable. They seem to understand how nerve wracking it is to go to the dentist even though it is normal to them. I appreciate being made to feel comfortable.

Kerri K.

A very nice place to have all your dental work done. After 17 years of going there that speaks for all my thoghts about Johnson Family Dental.

Heidi H.

This is the best dentist office I've ever been to, excellent location, friendly, clean, modern, quick and competent. In other words, the best.

Brian B.

Very professional and pleasant. Personnel that did the work were very competent and cheerful. Good experience.

Dennis L.

I went as a patient who had a terrible childhood experience and I discovered an amazing family at the Johnson Family Dental who truly treated me.

Dianne G.

I am a long-time customer of Johnson Family Dental - ever since my graduate school days - now living in Reno, Nevada. I still travel back to Santa Barbara, 1000+ miles, for the exceptional dental care I always receive at this fine practice.

Jordan H.