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Are root canals safe?

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Quick Answer

Root canals are safe and effective. The procedure removes bacteria from an infected root canal to save a natural tooth and prevent future infections, according to the American Association of Endodontists.

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Full Answer

In the 1920s, Dr. Weston A. Price suggested that root canal therapy caused illness and that tooth extraction was a better option. However, his claims were made during a time when much had not yet been discovered about the origins of diseases, and his assertions have since been discredited, explains the American Association of Endodontists. Rather, there is a much higher chance of bacteria entering the bloodstream as a result of tooth extraction than a root canal, according to the AAE.

Along with the elimination of bacteria and infection, another benefit of root canal therapy is that it allows patients to keep their natural teeth, notes the AAE. Although there are ways to fill in the gap left from an extraction, such as with a bridge or a dental implant, an artificial tooth sometimes makes it harder for a patient to eat certain foods. As a result, the patient may not eat as balanced of a diet as he ate before the extraction, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies and other diet-related health problems.

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