Root Canal Therapy in La Mirada

WHAT IS a root canal?

A root canal is a restorative endodontic treatment intended to remove damaged or infected dental pulp from a tooth and restore its health. A person’s dental pulp can become damaged from dental trauma or untreated tooth decay. 

The inflamed or infected dental pulp (the tooth’s soft inside layer that contains nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels) is removed, the canals are cleaned, and then the tooth is filled. This treatment is 95% effective at saving a tooth from extraction. This procedure also relieves pain associated with tooth infections. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation at our La Mirada dental office.

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The cleaning of the canals may be performed in a single appointment or multiple appointments.


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WHAT TO EXPECT from the root canal process

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Dr. Charles Kim will examine your teeth and take x-rays to look for signs of an infection and determine if you are a suitable candidate for a root canal.

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Dr. Kim will administer local anesthesia to numb your mouth before drilling a hole into your tooth so we can access the dental pulp. All of the dental pulp, including the root, will be removed.

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Canal Cleaning

Each tooth contains 1-4 canals. Every canal in the tooth will be thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and reshaped.

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The inside of your tooth will be filled with gutta-percha and the access hole will be sealed with a permanent filling. Some rear molars may need a dental crown to protect the tooth from wear and tear.


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Anterior Root Canals

Root canals performed in the anterior teeth are faster and simpler because they contain fewer root canals and are thinner than the posterior teeth. This results in less pain and a quick recovery time. Since these teeth aren’t used for chewing, it’s usually not necessary to place a dental crown.

posterior root canals

The posterior teeth contain up to 4 canals in a single tooth and are much thicker than the anterior teeth. This makes the root canal procedure longer and more complicated because it can be difficult to identify or access all of the tooth’s canals. Recovery is slightly longer than in anterior teeth and you may need to place a dental crown to protect the tooth from wear and tear.

Did you know…

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About 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth and nearly 40 million Americans have lost all their teeth.

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Did you know…

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You will need to stick to eating soft foods for the first few days after a root canal treatment.


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Have questions about Root Canal Therapy? Find answers here. 

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How Do I Know I Will Need a Root Canal?

A root canal treatment is needed to treat a tooth that has become infected or whose pulp has been inflamed as a result of dental trauma or untreated tooth decay. 

The signs of a tooth infection included severe pain, tooth discoloration, lingering tooth sensitivity (especially after eating hot and cold foods), swelling, an abscess near the affected tooth, a cracked or damaged tooth, and tenderness around the gums of the tooth. 

If you notice any of these signs, you likely have a tooth infection and should contact us for an emergency appointment right away. A tooth infection needs to be treated promptly to prevent the spread of the infection and serious complications like the infection spreading through the bloodstream and reaching the brain or causing sepsis. 

If the pain goes away, this does not mean that the infection has gone away. When pain suddenly stops, it’s because the tooth’s nerve has died. This is all the more reason to seek immediate treatment because the infection will not go away on its own and you might be at the point where you may need to have the tooth extracted.

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Will It Hurt?

No, root canals are not painful in the slightest, contrary to old dental myths that still spread around. In the past, before the advent of modern anesthetics, root canals used to be painful. However, with modern dentistry, we can remove the infected pulp, clean your canals, and refill your tooth painlessly. 

A root canal is no more painful than a routine dental filling. We can even offer you additional dental sedation if you have dental anxiety. Once the anesthetic wears off, you may experience minor tenderness or sensitivity for a couple of days but this should be minor and can be alleviated with anti-inflammatory pain medication.

How Many Trips to the Dentist Will Be Required?

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This depends on the type of root canal you’re getting and the location in the mouth. Anterior root canals which are performed on the front teeth do not take as long because the teeth are thinner and have fewer canals so it takes less time to remove the pulp and clean the canals. 

These teeth also don’t usually require dental crowns which eliminates that entire process. Comparatively, posterior root canals which are performed on the rear molars involve thicker teeth, have up to 4 canals per tooth, and require the placement of dental crowns.

A root canal will require at least two appointments but sometimes can take 3 depending on how long it takes to clean thoroughly clean and disinfect the tooth and whether or not a restoration like a crown needs to be placed over the tooth. 

Is Sedation An Option?

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Yes, dental sedation is always available at our dental office, for any dental appointment. We offer oral conscious sedation at Charles Kim Dentistry and Orthodontics and can determine if you would be a good candidate for sedation if you come in for a consultation. Let us know ahead of time if you would like to be sedated for a procedure so that we can review your medical history to ensure that sedation is safe and appropriate for you.

Did you know…

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Dental implants are the only restorative option that preserves and stimulates your natural bone structure.

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