Root Canal Safety

Swann Memorial Fountain in PhiladelphiaThe relationship of our teeth and mouth to overall good health is indisputable. Endodontics plays a critical role in maintaining good oral health by eliminating infection and pain, and preserving our natural dentition.

A key responsibility of any dentist is to reassure patients who are concerned about the safety of endodontic treatment that their overall well-being is a top priority. The American Association of Endodontists website (www.aae.org) is the best place for anxious patients to obtain comprehensive information on the safety and efficacy of endodontics and root canal treatment.

While plenty of good information is available online from the AAE and other reliable resources, patients sometimes arrive in the dental office with misinformation. This has occurred with the long-dispelled “focal infection theory” in endodontics, introduced in the early 1900s. In the 1920s, Dr. Weston A. Price presented research suggesting that bacteria trapped in dentinal tubules during root canal treatment could “leak” and cause almost any type of generative systemic disease (e.g., arthritis; diseases of the kidney, heart, nervous, gastroinestinal, endocrine and other systems). This was before medicine understood the causes of such disease.

Dr. Price advocated tooth extraction—the most traumatic dental procedure—over endodontic treatment. This theory resulted in a frightening era of tooth extraction both for treatment of systemic disease and as a prophylactic measure against future illness. Dr. Price’s research techniques were criticized at the time they were published, and by the early 1930s, a number of well-designed studies using more modern research techniques discredited his findings.

For more information about Root Canal Safety or to schedule a consultation with Drs. Wolgin or Berson, call our office in Philadelphia, PA at Philadelphia Office Phone Number 215-735-1131.

Decades of research have contradicted Dr. Price’s findings since then. In 1951, the Journal of the American Dental Association published a special edition reviewing the scientific literature and shifted the standard of practice back to endodontic treatment for teeth with non-vital pulp in instances where the tooth could be saved. The JADA reviewed Dr. Price’s research techniques from the 1920s and noted that they lacked many aspects of modern scientific research, including absence of proper control groups and induction of excessive doses of bacteria.

More recent research continues to support the safety of dental treatment as it relates to overall systemic health. In 2007, the American Heart Association updated its guidelines on the prevention of infective endocarditis, drastically curbing the indications for premedication for dental procedures and excluding endodontic treatment from dental procedures requiring premedication. In April 2012, the AHA found no scientific evidence linking periodontal disease and heart disease, concluding that heart disease and periodontal disease often coincidentally occur in the same person due to common risk factors of smoking, age and diabetes mellitus.

Decades of research contradict the beliefs of “focal infection” proponents; there is no valid, scientific evidence linking endodontically treated teeth and systemic disease. Yet some patients still hear about this long-dispelled theory.

Doctor addressing the patient

Dentists are asked to use the following guidelines to address patients who inquire about a connection between root canal treatment and illness:

  • Acknowledge the patient’s concerns; stress that optimum health is the goal for every dental patient.
  • Provide the patient with written information about endodontic treatment, and discuss it. The AAE has a variety of patient education brochures available for purchase (www.aae.org/onlinestore).
  • Provide the patient with information from the AAE website about common root canal myths:
    www.aae.org/patients/treatments-and-procedures/root-canals/myths-about-root-canals-and-root-canal-pain.aspx#2.
  • Indicate that the patient is in control of his/her own decision to move forward with any dental procedure, and reiterate a commitment to the highest quality dental care.

References

Wolgin Endodontics

5 out of 5 stars based on 6 Root Canal reviews.

Our Recent Patient Review

Dr wolgin is and his staff are the best the young ladies at the front desk where very friendly and kind I didn't wait long at all the nurse who came to get me was a sweetheart also when dr wolgin did my root canal he explained everything before and after he was very gentle and did hurt me at all I just want to say thank you very much you guys are wonderful and you will have my service again

- Sharmaine rush

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Recent Patient Review

You will not find anyone better. I had to get 4 root canals over 3 weeks. He was truly amazing. I was a little nervous. He was so laid back and made it so much easier on me. I had no pain at all. I can't say enough great things about Dr Wolgin and his staff. If you need a root canal. Do not hesitate and call them. There is nobody better. I can't say enough good things about Dr. Wolgin a true professional. A true 5 star operation.

- David B

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Recent Patient Review

I have read that this practice doesn't treat teeth, they treat people. Well I must say they were so right for I received 5 Star Service. Added bonus was the beautiful view of the city while I waited and the wait was not long:-)

- Tenita W

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Recent Patient Review

I am a huge fan of Dr. Wolgin- he has great bedside manner and keeps up with latest treatment options. I have had 4 root canals performed by Dr. Wolgin- a retreatment of a failed root canal performed by another endodontist, as well and 3 new root canals. Each root canal has been painless during the procedure and the pain during recovery has been minimal. He is very thorough in his work and I couldn't be happier with the work I have had performed in his office. I would highly recommend Dr. Wolgin to anyone who needs a root canal.

- Margot C

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Recent Patient Review

I had to get a Root Canal, and was really nervous going in. The Dental assistant i had made sure that it was going to be as simple as a filling. Dr Wolgin came in and introduced himself and reassured that everything was going to be really easy and smooth. Sure enough he was right. I didn't feel a thing the entire procedure and would highly recommend anyone who needs to get any kind of dental treatment to Dr Wolgins office.

- Jose M

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Recent Patient Review

I was in and out in 1 hour to get a root canal done. I did not feel anything during the procedure. It is now 4 hours later; nova-cane is pretty much worn off and I still do not feeling anything. I would recommend to anyone!

- Kacy Z

5 out of 5 stars on