It’s reasonable to do a healthy amount of research on any medical treatment you are scheduled to undergo, particularly surgery. Looking into root canal therapies sometimes uncovers a number of articles that make the claim that root canals are more dangerous to the patient’s overall health than a tooth extraction. Often, this theory is supported by the claim that root canals frequently become infected by toxic bacteria that can create unhealthy repercussions in other areas of the body.

Despite the lack of scientific research to back these ideas, they are widely proliferated across the Internet. Research supporting root canal treatment in most cases when the health of a tooth has been compromised can also be found online; for example, a 2008 study on the long-term success rates of root canals compared to dental implants at the University of Alabama at Birmingham showed that 99.3% of root canals were successful, whereas dental implants were successful only 98.4% of the time (though that is still a very high success rate!). While it is true that root canals can occasionally fail and may require retreatment, it is a rare occurrence.

The ideas that root canals can cause disease or increase a patient’s risk of getting cancer also lack supporting scientific research, despite what many of the articles that make this claim may say online. The main body of research that opponents of root canals point to was conducted almost a hundred years ago and did not follow modern scientific protocols. It has since been discredited, though this doesn’t stop people from using it to advance their theories regarding the risks of root canals.

The truth is, root canals are almost always successful and are usually less expensive in the long run than extractions and implants. Though a good endodontist will always recommend the best treatment for you, it’s best to trust them over what you may find on the Internet. At the very least, don’t let fear of complications dissuade you from considering root canals. If you would like to talk to an expert on root canals, contact a local endodontist. If you’re in the Richmond, VA area and have a tooth that may require root canal therapy, give East Coast Endodontics a call and we would be happy to discuss your options with you!

About the Author

Dr. Harris has been a practicing dentist since 2005. In 2012, he received his Master’s of Science in Dentistry and a certificate in Endodontics. He founded East Coast Endodontics shortly after receiving his master’s degree. He also currently holds a part-time position as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Endodontics department at Virginia Commonwealth University. View his full bio.