You May Not Have Needed That Root Canal

Warner Bros.

What if those terrible procedures you endured at the dentist were unnecessary? Ferris Jabr at The Atlantic exposes dentistry’s “academic and professional isolation,” a status that leaves it untethered to the evidence-based inquiry of the medical field. While there are some very good dentists out there, dentistry as a whole leaves wide open gaps (no gap-tooth pun intended) that allow some practitioners to order procedures that are both financially predatory and entirely needless.

When you’re in the dentist’s chair, the power imbalance between practitioner and patient becomes palpable. A masked figure looms over your recumbent body, wielding power tools and sharp metal instruments, doing things to your mouth you cannot see, asking you questions you cannot properly answer, and judging you all the while. 

Among other problems, dentistry’s struggle to embrace scientific inquiry has left dentists with considerable latitude to advise unnecessary procedures—whether intentionally or not.

It just adds to the whole idea that you go to a physician feeling bad and you walk out feeling better, but you go to a dentist feeling good and you walk out feeling bad.

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