Getting to the Root of the Root Canal

A new documentary on Netflix makes some startling claims about root canals — including the claim that root canals can lead to chronic conditions, such as heart attacks or cancer. The documentary is pseudoscience: its conclusions rely on a scientific experiment that dates back to 1900, in which a woman was cured of arthritis after having a root canal. Get the real fact about root canals from your trusted Tampa dentists.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a process that can save your natural tooth when the tooth is decaying, damaged, or abscessed. Our dentists will fully anesthetize you, so you feel no pain while we open the tooth and remove the nerve from inside the tooth. We then clean the tooth and treat any germs causing infection. The root canals are then filled with a material that is similar to rubber, which guards against future oral infections. We then install a temporary filling until we can fit you with a crown or other permanent filling.

Root canals are fully completed in one to two visits. After the procedure, you may feel sore or sensitive but this should go away in a few days. We may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection, depending on your case.

Without a root canal, you would be at the risk of losing your tooth entirely, when infection gets to the bone that connects your teeth and jaws.

If you have a cracked, fractured, or injured tooth, you may need a root canal. Likewise, if you have had repeated dental procedures that damaged the soft tissue, you may need a root canal.

The Truth About Root Canals

An estimated 25 million patients get root canals and other endodontic treatments each year. These treatments are safe and effective. What’s more, they are often the best treatment for the underlying condition because they allow the patient to keep their natural tooth, maintain their natural smile, and eat normally.

The “Root Cause” documentary is troubling, because it relies on outdated science from over 100 years ago, as well as online claims made by alternative health practitioner Joseph Mercola, DO. Mercola actually claims that over 90 percent of individuals who have terminal cancer have had root canals.

Leaving Mercola’s ideas aside, consider that over 100 year ago, when the study mentioned in “Root Cause” was conducted, soldiers were fighting World War I and amputation was a common treatment for infection. In that day and age, an infected tooth would have been pulled rather than treated. Modern medicine has come a long way since that 1900 study, and health practitioners know a lot more about treating infections and protecting your oral health.

If you experience tooth pain, get it checked out before things get worse. Root canals may be necessary and since they are absolutely safe, there is nothing to worry about. To get your teeth checked out, reserve an appointment online or call our Tampa dental office today.