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President's 'As Popular as a Root Canal' Comment Misses Mark

CHICAGO, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- In his first State of the Union address, President Obama outlined many challenges facing our nation, but fear of root canals should not be one of them. Obama unintentionally reinforced a myth and outdated misconception about the "unpopular" nature of root canal procedures. The AAE, which represents root canal specialists, knows that root canal procedures should not be feared, and hopes the President and all Americans become better informed for the sake of their dental and total body health.

The truth is that most root canal treatments can be completed in one visit and are entirely comfortable. A national consumer survey published in 2009 shows that an overwhelming majority of root canal patients use positive words to describe the experience. According to a previous poll, those who had a root canal performed by an endodontist, a dentist who specializes in root canal procedures, are six times more likely to describe it as "painless" than those who have never had the procedure.

"While we certainly understand the President's intent, people need to know that root canals don't cause pain, they relieve it," said Dr. Gerald N. Glickman, AAE president. "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 last a lifetime."

Research shows saving natural teeth has extensive health benefits. The endodontist saves the tooth by removing its infected inner tissue, and cleaning, filling and sealing the root canal space. After placement of a crown or other restoration, the tooth is protected and continues to function like any other tooth. Root canal treatment saves more than 17 million natural teeth each year.

Poor dental care can lead to serious health problems, which is why the AAE aims to bring awareness to the issue as part of its annual Root Canal Awareness Week, March 29April 4. For more information about Root Canal Awareness Week and the truth about root canals, or to find an endodontist in your area, visit

About the American Association of Endodontists

The American Association of Endodontists headquartered in Chicago, Ill., represents more than 7,200 members worldwide, including approximately 95 percent of all eligible endodontists in the United States. The Association, founded in 1943, is dedicated to excellence in the art and science of endodontics and to the highest standard of patient care. The Association inspires its members to pursue professional advancement and personal fulfillment through education, research, advocacy, leadership, communication and service.

Root Canal Awareness Week

Sponsored by the AAE, Root Canal Awareness Week provides an opportunity to dispel long-standing myths about root canal treatment and increase understanding of the procedure as one that is virtually painless. The week also seeks to raise awareness of endodontics as a specialty and highlight the importance of endodontists, the dentists who specialize in root canal treatment. For more information on local Root Canal Awareness Week activities or to find an endodontist in your area, visit




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