If there’s one dental procedure that’s universally dreaded, it’s root canals. Almost everyone sees a root canal as being a painful and challenging experience, but there’s one crucial fact the Santa Monica family dentist wants you to know –root canals don’t cause pain, they relieve it.

Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

Root canal therapy is needed to remove an infection or extensive decay from the pulp deep inside your tooth. Dental pulp carries the blood vessels and nerves that keep the tooth alive.

When an infection reaches this part of your tooth, you experience pain that continues to develop until you’re unable to function, and you finally give in and call their dentist. Unfortunately, it’s this intense discomfort that gives root canals their negative reputation. The pain isn’t a result of root canal treatment; it’s the result of the infection.

What Happens During a Root Canal?

The first step is a local anesthetic to numb the tooth we’re treating, and at that moment all your pain will wash away.

Our Santa Monica family dentist has many ways to keep you comfortable during treatment, and we may recommend nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or an oral sedative. These options combined with the local anesthetic should be enough to keep you pain-free throughout the procedure.

Treatment involves opening a tiny hole in your tooth so our dentist can reach its interior. Using special instruments, the infected pulp is cleared away and a material is used to fill the canals. Finally, a temporary filling is placed until the tooth heals and we know the infection is gone. At some point after, a crown will need to be placed to protect the weakened tooth.

Don’t Put Off a Root Canal

An infected root canal is a serious problem and needs to be addressed as quickly as possible to save the tooth. If you are in pain and suspect it might be time for a root canal, please call our office so we can arrange to see you as soon as possible and provide the relief you need.


For Dr. Carol E. Follette DDS and her team, a big area of focus is helping patients get the smile of their dreams. As a leading cosmetic dentist serving Southern California, Dr. Follette’s expertise in this area is well-known. What might not be as widely known are the following five ways that you can personally contribute to a better smile.

Patience Pays Off

After a meal, or subsequent to drinking an acidic beverage like orange juice or coffee, many people brush their teeth in order to avoid staining. This is a smart move, but what most people don’t know is that waiting 30 - 60 minutes before brushing is better than picking up your toothbrush right away. It may sound strange, but the fact is that brushing immediately actually facilitates enamel erosion and can lead to dentin exposure, which make the teeth look more yellow.

Use a Straw

Straws are fun to drink with, especially if you’re a kid – and they’re also handy for keeping that scintillating smile of yours. When you drink through a straw and position it near the back of your mouth, you reduce the amount of time that the liquid is in contact with your teeth. The less time a beverage is in your mouth, the better your chances of avoiding stained teeth, cavities, and tooth decay. If you have environmental concerns, we recommend opting for a reusable straw rather than a plastic one.

Rinse With Water

Water offers our bodies countless benefits, and that includes our teeth. Water offers superb protection against enamel erosion and tooth decay, which is why it’s a great idea to rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking – especially if the food/beverage is sugary or acidic. Moreover, rinsing/drinking water is a great way to keep your teeth from staining after you consume a colored beverage.

Brush The Right Way

Regular flossing and brushing is key for keeping teeth looking good – but if you’re not brushing the right way, a lot of your hard work will be undone. Proper brushing means keeping your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle when you’re brushing near your gum line. Maintaining this angle allows you to massage/clean your teeth and your gum line simultaneously. Also, don’t forget about the backside of your teeth. This is an area that’s oft overlooked but one that if ignored can see a buildup of plaque, tartar, and other decay-friendly substances. And of course, as weird as it may feel, be sure to brush your tongue. Doing so gets rid of the bacteria that causes bad breath and contributes to enamel erosion.

Choose “Teeth-Friendly” Foods

If you like to drink coffee and enjoy the occasional sugary treat, that’s ok – as long as you’re also getting a healthy dose of “teeth-friendly” foods. These include raw vegetables like celery and carrots, and fruits such as apples and pears. Not only are these foods healthy, they are also possess a firm, crisp texture that naturally cleans your teeth. Another food that falls into the category is popcorn, though it’s a good idea to rinse afterwards so that smaller particles don’t linger between your teeth.

Schedule an Appointment

Wherever you live in Southern California – Malibu, Marina Del Rey, or Pacific Palisades – trust Dr. Follette to take exceptional care of your mouth. A great smile depends on expert techniques, and our services include teeth whitening, laser periodontics, veneers, and more. Contact us today and make an appointment.



Has your smile lost the shine it once had? Have you tried those over the counter tooth whitening products and seen disappointing results, if any at all? If you are tired of stained or yellow teeth, our Santa Monica cosmetic dentist office is where this can all change.

There are many over the counter tooth whitening systems on the market today, but none are as effective or provide the same level of whitening as the professional products. Tooth whitening is the simplest and least expensive way to enhance your smile and restore a youthful appearance.

Teeth can naturally be less than white or may be stained and discolored due to:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Illness
  • Certain medications (such as antibiotics).

Most common reasons for discoloration are due to:

  • Tobacco use
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Soft drinks
  • Wine

Zoom! Power Whitening System

Tooth whitening is one of the safest dental procedures available. The Zoom! s ystem is a state of the art, in office procedure. It is a safe, easy, and effective bleaching process that lightens the discoloration of your enamel and dentin. Our cosmetic dentist
offers this system as well as other professional home whitening products. This procedure is done while you sit back in our comfortable chairs, and relax while you listen to your favorite music.

Contact your Santa Monica cosmetic dentist for a complimentary consultation to evaluate your whitening goals and needs. We take the time to ensure that you will leave with the beautiful vibrant smile you are looking for.