Root Canals are Safe and Netflix Agrees

tooth with root canal therapy

After being universally condemned by the global dental community and formal letters of complaint from the American Dental Association (ADA), American Association of Endodontists (AAE) and American Association of Dental Research (AADR), Netflix has removed the Documentary “Root Cause” which claimed that “root canals cause cancer, heart disease, and other serious chronic illness.”

The documentary, made by Australian film-maker Frazer Bailey, made the startling claim that the root canal procedure was the main cause of a variety of different chronic illnesses and that the best way to deal with an injured or infected tooth was simply to remove it, rather than put patients at risk through the root canal procedure.

What Is a Root Canal?

Root canal treatment is a dental procedure used to treat infection at the center of a tooth with the aim of saving a tooth that otherwise might have to be removed entirely.

Generally, a root canal is used in response to an infection at the center of a tooth caused by bacteria which naturally live in the mouth gaining access to the dental pulp inside the tooth.
The pulp will begin to die if it’s infected by bacteria, allowing the bacteria to then multiply and spread.

This bacterial invasion is most often caused by tooth decay, leaky fillings or damage to teeth as a result of trauma.

An infected root canal, the section of the tooth which contains the dental pulp and extends from the crown of the tooth to the end of the root can lead to the following symptoms:

  • pain when biting or chewing returning
  • swelling of the gum near the affected tooth
  • pus oozing from the affected tooth
  • facial swelling
  • the tooth becoming a darker color

Root canal treatment involves removing the bacteria from the root canal, filling the root canal, and then sealing the tooth with a filling or a crown.

Root canal treatment is usually successful. In about 9 out of 10 cases a tooth can survive for up to 10 years after root canal treatment.

Is There Any Evidence Root Canals Cause Cancer?

Nope. None at all!

As Jeffrey M Cole, the president of the ADA, pointed out, “The film contains significant misinformation that is not supported by scientific evidence, which can cause unwarranted fear among viewers.”

The film itself quotes not relevant sources or studies and its lack of scientific validity may be one of the reasons that Netflix chose to take it down.

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Written by:
Cynthia Lofquist, R.D.A.
Dental Assisting Program Chair
Concorde Career Institute