In January, while listening to President Obama’s State of the Union address, I was startled when I heard him say “root canal.” He was speaking about the bank bailout and he said: “I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal.”
Now, as a dentist I am very sensitive about comments that place dentistry in an unfavorable light or that reinforce fears that people may have about dental treatment. So I was dismayed at the President’s choice of words. I was relieved to note that the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) was also dismayed and issued the following statement: “While we certainly understand the president’s intent, people need to know that root canals don’t cause pain; they relieve it. Root canals may sound daunting, but endodontists can do this procedure quickly, efficiently, and with virtually no pain involved. The result is a restored natural tooth that can at a lifetime.”
I couldn’t have offered a better defense of the root canal! Root canal treatments save more than 17 million teeth every year. I wonder if the President offered an apology to the AAE!