Millions of root canals are performed successfully each year. However, concern persists in some circles that instead of relieving a health problem – an infected or injured tooth – root canals cause illness. While there is no evidence to support this idea, rumors of the “dangers of root canal therapy” continue.
The American Association of Endodontists and other dental professionals are frequently asked by patients about the safety of root canals. Practitioners are happy to explain the root canal process and why root canals are the treatment of choice for preserving your natural teeth.
Root Canals And Health Problems: The Facts
- The primary research cited linking root canals to health problems is nearly a century old. Weston Price hypothesized in the early 1900s that bacteria trapped in a tooth treated by root canal caused diseases ranging from arthritis to heart disease. Needless to say, research methods and theories of disease causation were less advanced then; even studies conducted as early as the 1930s and 1940s indicated that there was no relationship between having a root canal and contracting a disease.
- Current research findings reinforce that root canals neither cause nor are correlated with other health challenges. In fact, a 2013 study in a publication by the American Medical Association noted that not only did root canals not cause cancer of any type, patients who had undergone multiple endodontic treatments had a 45 percent reduction in their cancer risk.
- Modern root canal treatment is safe and effective. With success rates of more than 90 percent, root canals have become reliable procedures for saving natural teeth. Digital imaging tools, advances in canal cleaning instruments, and the emergence of powerful disinfectants have all contributed to the ability of endodontists to save even seriously compromised natural teeth.
“There is a huge body of evidence demonstrating root canals are not associated with other health problems,” says Dr. Susan L. Wood, who practices with the Phoenix Endodontic Group. “Your peace of mind is a top concern to us, of course, and we are happy to discuss why root canals are the best option for most people to save their natural teeth.”