In response to a few inquiries for those who have seen this film, we would like to introduce our patients to a documentary on Netflix called “Root Cause.” The documentary follows an individual’s experience with root canal treatment and the alleged systemic issues he claims is directly associated with root canal treatment. We would like to take this opportunity to give out as much information as possible in response to this film in order to help alleviate patient concerns and address any future questions that may arise.
In a direct quote taken from a mass letter sent out by the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), “The premise the film is based on dates back to research conducted in the 1920s which was later disproved because the original conditions for the experiments were poorly controlled and performed in non-sterile environments. Perhaps most importantly, other researchers have not been able to duplicate the results from the original experiment. Why portray information demonstrated to be incorrect as fact?” This question leads us to our main concern with this documentary, misinformation.
Narrowing the cause down to root canals only is not taking into account many other factors, like gum disease and decay, which play a huge role in overall health and well-being. In our professional experience along with countless other studies and a lot of research, our biggest take away from this film is the connection between oral health and overall health. The current research suggests that the health of your mouth is related to the health of your body. Bacteria in your mouth can travel through your bloodstream into the rest of your body. There is also strong evidence supporting the association between periodontal disease and heart disease as well as a relationship between the health of your mouth and heart attacks. This is why gathering patient-specific information, including x-rays, scans, and medical history, is critical to determining how to proceed with any dental treatment. Understanding each particular illness and getting the history of how and when it started is also a big part of that solution. This is what we would hope our patients can extract out of the abundance of misinformation in this film.
In response to Root Canal Treatment not being ‘sterile,’ nothing in the body is considered sterile. The connection they make with teeth and other organs is false. With regards to root canals specifically there was study conducted in the 1970’s, that was later followed up with other studies in the 1990’s, that clearly showed that if the proper aseptic technique was used, including rubber dam, instrumentation that remained within the root canal space (a method used currently), bacteremia was not produced. Follow up studies have shown a link between mouth bacteria and specific things like heart disease, inflammation, and autoimmune disease.
All of these studies suggest that the health of your mouth is related to the health of your body. Narrowing it down to root canals only does not take into account many other factors, like gum disease and decay, which play a huge role in overall health and well-being. While of course there is always more research to be done, we do know that reducing bacteria in the mouth is vital to reducing bacteria present in your body.
Here’s how to reduce oral bacteria:
-Proper home care
-Regular dental cleanings with your hygienist
-Restoring all broken down, decayed teeth or treating infections
A combination of these basic tasks will help to reduce oral bacteria and promote a healthy mouth that in turn will promote increase overall health.
In further response to this documentary we have compiled to other responses that tackle the specific dentists and theories that were cited during this film, along with other studies and information as well as the response from BaleDoneen Method that was completely misrepresented. Here are the links:
If you have any further questions regarding this documentary or the root canal procedure please don’t hesitate to contact us.