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Biden gets a root canal and postpones some events

This was President Biden during a Pride Month celebration on June 10. The next day, his medical team looked at a tooth that was aching, and determined he needed a root canal.
Brendan Smialowski
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AFP via Getty Images
This was President Biden during a Pride Month celebration on June 10. The next day, his medical team looked at a tooth that was aching, and determined he needed a root canal.

Updated June 12, 2023 at 3:52 PM ET

President Biden was "doing just fine" after a root canal on Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, describing him as being back at work in the residence after the surgery.

White House physician Kevin O'Connor said in a memo that Biden had a toothache on Sunday on the lower right-hand side of his mouth — tooth 29, to be exact.

There's a dental office in the basement of the White House, and that's where a team from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center took X-rays and determined that a root canal was in order. Initial steps were done that day, and Biden "tolerated the procedure well," O'Connor said.

"He is experiencing further discomfort this morning, which was anticipated," O'Connor said in the memo.

Vice President Harris filled in for President Biden at an event with college athletes, including Logan Eggleston (left) of the University of Texas at Austin's volleyball team.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Vice President Harris filled in for President Biden at an event with college athletes, including Logan Eggleston (left) of the University of Texas at Austin's volleyball team.

Biden was not sedated for this root canal

The White House said Biden was not put under anesthesia for this root canal. Instead, dentists used local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth in question.

Since he was not sedated, he didn't need to briefly transfer his powers to Vice President Harris, under the 25th Amendment of the Constitution. That's something he did in 2021 when he had a benign polyp removed from his colon during a routine colonoscopy.

Harris did, however, fill in for Biden at an event with college athletes.

Biden rescheduled a planned meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and an evening reception for the chiefs of mission, opting to wait until Tuesday instead.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: June 16, 2023 at 12:00 AM EDT
In a previous version of this story, the headline stated that President Biden had a root canal without an anesthetic. President Biden, in fact, had a local anesthetic administered prior to the procedure.
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