Exploring Root Canal Safety

Tooth infections can put you at risk of serious health problems when they aren’t treated. Root canals provide a way to clear up this inflammation and preserve your natural tooth. This procedure involves removing infected pulp and giving the canal a thorough cleaning.

What about claims that root canal therapy leads to illness? You might have seen these while looking up information on this treatment. But there’s no truth to them. This endodontic procedure is safe and can actually protect you from health issues. Learn more about this type of treatment to help put your mind at ease.

How Safe Are Root Canals?

First, let’s take a look at basic facts about root canal safety. This procedure is highly common in the field of endodontics. In fact, the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) states that more than 25 million are done each year. People have this kind of treatment done for infections in the tooth’s pulp or tissue as an alternative to tooth extractions.

As with other procedures, there are certain risks. But endodontists take several precautions to guard against these, such as:

  • Using advanced digital imaging for greater accuracy
  • Applying effective disinfectants to prevent infection in the tooth
  • Using single-use or sterilized instruments to prevent contamination and infection between patients
  • Offering laser technology as a minimally invasive approach


Root Canals and Illness

What’s behind the claim that root canals are linked to increased health risks? That goes back to research done over a century ago that has been debunked since then. Tooth extractions were pushed as a primary form of treatment based on faulty beliefs that root canals may put patients at risk of developing illnesses.

There’s no credible evidence to back up these claims. Instead, evidence from research studies shows the opposite — root canals may help protect against illnesses.


Untreated Infections and Illness Risks

When bacteria invade a tooth, this causes an infection. Bacteria can end up getting into the pulp inside teeth, causing pain and other symptoms. In some cases, these tooth infections can spread to the bloodstream. This puts other areas of the body at risk of serious illness and widespread inflammation.

Root canals involve removing the infected matter and disinfecting the inner part of the tooth to stop more infections from happening. What if these infections are left untreated? They can raise the risk of systemic diseases.

Research studies have highlighted the dangers of not treating tooth root infections. They’ve also found that root canal treatment can help reduce these potentially serious health risks.

A few of these findings include the following:

  • A 2013 study found a 45% lower risk of cancer for those who have multiple endodontic treatments
  • A 2022 analysis found that root canals reduce inflammation in or near the tooth root, which is linked to higher risks of cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and other systemic diseases
  • A 2023 study found that long-term inflammation in the root canal is linked to increased risks of developing autoimmune disorders and might speed up the progression of chronic kidney disease and other illnesses

These findings show the importance of having endodontic treatment done to treat infections inside teeth. In addition to easing pain, these procedures also help keep you safe from serious diseases and disorders.


Tooth Extraction vs. Root Canal

The misconception about root canals causing sickness comes from a doctor in the early 1900s who mainly performed tooth extractions. He wrongly believed that tubules in teeth harbor bacteria that spread to other parts of the body due to root canal treatment.

But tooth extractions are more of a risk in terms of widespread infection than root canals. Having a tooth removed results in a higher chance of having bacteria reach the bloodstream.

Today’s root canals involve the use of advanced techniques that minimize the risk of these infections. For example, laser technology makes it easier to remove bacteria and disinfect tubules inside teeth.

Keep in mind that endodontic procedures also help you preserve your teeth. This is preferable to having them removed and replaced with artificial teeth.


Concerns About Root Canals

Still have worries about root canals? Our endodontist can discuss this procedure with you in more detail. We can also provide you with additional information on this type of treatment, such as how it’s done and what to expect. Remember that root canals are done frequently and have high success rates.

Have more questions about root canal safety? We’re here to answer your questions. Contact Largo Endodontics to learn more and schedule an appointment with our endodontist, Dr. Ernest Rillman.