Have you watched the “Root Cause” documentary on Netflix?
It follows the story of a man called Ben. Ben is searching for the underlying cause of a chronic illness he suffers from and “Root Cause” documents his experience with root canal treatment and the subsequent illness that he blames on that treatment.
This is my analysis of the documentary to help my patients make decisions that are right for them.
If you are one of the many people that have concerns about your existing root canals or possible root canal treatment, read on…
Root Cause Analysis
Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a systematic process used in business, especially large corporations. It is based on the idea that solving a problem isn’t only about “putting out fires”, but also finding a way to prevent them.
Simply put, RCA identifies the root cause of a problem and helps to develop an approach to respond to it. Ironically, it’s a great process to decipher “Root Cause” the documentary, discuss both sides of the issue, and help my patients decide what is best for them.
Here it goes:
Define the problem: What is causing my chronic illness?
The documentary does a really good job of defining the problem. Ben has an illness that is not responding to any therapy and his symptoms are getting worse. This part resonated with me. I listened to the various therapies that Ben tried and recalled my own journey, similar to Ben’s, though not as extreme.
I think there are many people that struggle with an illness that is not being treated properly. They are suffering, not getting any better, or don’t have the answers they are looking for from their doctors. It’s a tough place to be.
Wanting to know why they have it and how they can get better is normal.
Collect Data: Studies to support claims
The documentary then goes on to collect data. I have more to weigh in here but for now, I’ll stick to what is presented, and why I have concerns.
In “Root Cause” they refer to studies or research that supports certain claims they make. This happens repeatedly throughout the film – a statement, claim, or analogy that goes beyond a scientifically based study is made and incorrect conclusions are drawn.
“97% of patients with breast cancer had a root canal of the same side as the cancer”, they state in the documentary. *
There is no research to support this statement. In my opinion, it makes an assumption that is irrational. It would be the same as saying that 97% of patients with breast cancer drink water, implying that this one correlation equals disease. Correlation is not causation.
Identify possible causal factors – or not.
They go on to identify the “root cause” as root canals and move quickly to recommendations that include tooth extraction and dentures. This is hasty in my opinion.
The health of your mouth is related to the health of your body
My professional experience and all of the scientific studies I found on this subject suggest that the health of your mouth is related to the health of your body. Bacteria in your mouth travel through your bloodstream into the rest of your body.
Narrowing the cause down to root canals only is not taking into account many other factors, like gum disease and decay, which play a huge role in overall health and well-being.
This is why gathering patient-specific information, including x-rays, scans, and medical history, is critical to determining how to proceed with treatment. Understanding each particular illness and getting the history of how and when it started is also a big part of that solution.
My research: Discussing both sides of the issue
For me, the movie felt very biased. The references to doctors cited for their studies and research seems to be there simply to create fear and make people panic and jump to extracting their root canal treated teeth.
I decided to find those studies referenced in “Root Cause”, and others that supported and disagreed with these claims and found some interesting things in the process. I’ll write about this in, “Root Cause” Analysis Part 2: Root Canal
If you have any questions about the “Root Cause” documentary or are interested to find out more about your particular situation, call 905-338-6684 or fill out the form below.
Root Cause. Directed by Frazer Bailey, performance by Ben Purser. Netflix, 2019. Netflix, https://www.netflix.com/ca/title/81000862