The Root of the Problem: Correcting Harmful Misconceptions About Root Canal Treatments

Successful Calcified Root Canal TreatmentAt the beginning of the year, popular video streaming platform Netflix began showing the documentary film Root Cause. Directed by Australian filmmaker Frazer Bailey, the documentary boldly claims that root canals can cause cancer and other serious illnesses.

With input from holistic dentists, the film claims that bacteria fester inside root canals and the hollow spaces left behind after tooth extraction. These bacteria and other toxins, according to the documentary, then travel to vital organs along “meridian lines,” a concept in traditional Chinese medicine that, while widely held, bears insufficient scientific evidence. From these meridian lines, the toxins and germs are said to spread infection that causes cancer and other illnesses.

Today, the documentary is no longer on Netflix. The streaming giant removed it after facing backlash from the American Dental Association (ADA), American Association of Endodontists, and the American Association of Dental Research (AADR). According to these organizations, these claims have no scientific basis whatsoever and only work to harm viewers by spreading misinformation about root canal treatments.

Misinformation, in general, can be extremely damaging. But this is especially true when it comes to medical matters. As your trusted endodontist that specializes in root canal treatments in Littleton, Colorado and the surrounding areas, we want to give the best and most accurate information about the procedure by addressing harmful misconceptions and correcting them.

Myth: Root canal treatments cause cancer and other illnesses

In the 1920s, Dr. Weston Price presented research suggesting that bacteria accumulates in the branching tubes or canals in the dentin after root canal treatments. From there, they purportedly “leak” and cause chronic diseases. Additionally, traditional Chinese medicine, as posited in the Root Cause documentary, believes the same.

Science-backed studies, however, are in direct conflict with these beliefs. Additionally, Dr. Price’s research is almost a hundred years old. It lacks many aspects of modern scientific research. In short, there is no scientific evidence linking root canal treatments to the development of diseases in the body.

Myth: Root canal procedure is painful

Root canal treatments have a reputation of being one of the most painful endodontic procedures. This is probably because the procedure involves drilling a hole in the infected tooth and then scraping away the damaged pulp inside. That alone sounds painful. Granted, without modern medicine, it probably would be.

However, thanks to anesthetics and sedation dentistry, you won’t experience extreme pain while undergoing the procedure. Instead, it will even remove the pain that you feel from having an infected tooth.

Myth: Teeth pulling is better than undergoing a root canal treatment

This myth most probably stemmed from the previously-mentioned research that Dr. Price presented. After claiming that root canal treatments can lead to chronic illnesses, he advocated for tooth extraction. This, however, which can be more traumatic for the gums, more so than endodontic procedures.

In reality, there’s nothing better than preserving your natural teeth. The next best thing is to save and restore them, which is what a root canal treatment does.

Armed with facts about the root canal procedure, you shouldn’t be afraid of undergoing it. In the end, you’ll end up with better oral health and you would finally be able to sit back, relax and enjoy snacking while watching (reputable) shows on Netflix.

Schedule your root canal procedure in Littleton, CO today at Creekside Endodontics.