Root Canals Specialist

Northwest Smile Center

Donald Johnson, DDS

Dentist located in Coeur d'Alene, ID

Root canals have an unfortunate reputation, but there’s no reason to fear this tooth-saving procedure. At Northwest Smile Center in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, experienced dentist Donald Johnson, DDS, performs modern root canals, which restore decayed, damaged, and infected teeth with minimal discomfort. To schedule a root canal or an examination of a damaged tooth, call or use the online booking tool.

Root Canals Q & A

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a procedure to repair decayed, infected, or injured teeth. In a root canal, Dr. Johnson removes infected dental pulp, made of nerves and tissues, then fills and seals the tooth.

The result of a root canal is a strong, healthy tooth that you can keep for the rest of your life with proper care. Your teeth work just fine without nerves, which detect sensations like hot and cold but aren’t necessary to perform tasks such as chewing food. 

How do I know if I need a root canal?

You may not know you have a dental pulp infection, especially in the early stages. Regular dental appointments catch decay and infections before they become serious problems.

Signs you need a root canal include:

  • A severe toothache that gets worse when you chew or apply pressure to the tooth
  • Pain when your tooth is exposed to hot or cold, which lingers even after the source of the hot or cold is gone
  • Very swollen, tender gums
  • Dark, discolored teeth
  • A pimple on your gums that doesn’t go away

If you have any of these signs, schedule an appointment at Northwest Smile Center right away. The sooner you get treatment, the better chance you have of saving your tooth.

Are root canals painful?

Many people avoid or dread root canals because they associate them with severe pain. However, in their modern form, most patients find root canals no worse than getting a filling placed. 

Dr. Johnson provides local anesthesia during the procedure, and you can manage your discomfort in the days following your root canal with pain medication.

An infected tooth that requires a root canal causes far more pain than the actual procedure. After your root canal, you can expect to feel much better. When you avoid the procedure, the infection and pain get worse, and you may lose the chance to save your tooth.

Why should I get a root canal instead of an extraction or artificial tooth?

A root canal saves your natural tooth, and it’s in your best interest to do that whenever possible. Though Northwest Smile Center offers a range of effective restorations, like crowns and bridges, none of these fully substitute for a healthy, natural tooth.

Furthermore, an extraction is far more painful than a modern root canal, and even one missing tooth affects your speech, your ability to chew food, and the position of your other teeth. 

As long as you brush, floss, and get regular dental cleanings, you should be able to keep your natural tooth after a root canal and not need any further work.


A root canal can save your infected tooth and relieve your pain. To learn more, schedule an appointment at Northwest Smile Center online or over the phone today.