President Joe Biden was sidelined for two days after requiring a root canal, the Western Journal reported. The White House was forced to send Vice President Kamala Harris in his place for College Athlete Day at the White House Monday.
The president was apparently experiencing dental pain and underwent the first part of the procedure Sunday. With more work to be done Monday and additional recovery time, Dr. Kevin O’Connor released a memo explaining Biden's break from his public schedule.
"[On] 11 June, 2023, the President identified that he was experiencing some dental pain in his lower right premolar," the retired colonel and White House physician wrote. "Our Presidential Dental Team from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was able to perform an examination, to include x-rays, in the White House Dental Operatory," O'Connor continued.
"They determined that endodontic treatment (root canal) was most appropriate. Initial root canal procedure was performed at the time, with a plan for specialized endodontal follow up in the near future," he added.
“There were no complications," O'Connor went on. "He is experiencing further discomfort this morning, which was anticipated. The endodontic specialty team from Walter Reed will complete the President’s root canal today, at the White House."
Because of Biden's procedure, Harris was tapped to stand in for Biden during the event and addressed the 1,000 top collegiate athletes, both male and female. Honorees came from 47 college teams and 19 different sports.
Harris was joined by her husband Doug Emhoff, and the event went off without a hitch despite Harris's history of gaffes. In later remarks, O'Connor explained that the 25th Amendment was not invoked as Biden only received a local anesthetic.
So far, Harris has only had the opportunity to officially stand in as commander-in-chief once since taking office. In December 2021, Biden went under general anesthesia for a colonoscopy.
There have been many concerns about the 80-year-old president's fitness for office despite his clean bill of health given after his physical in February, Fox News reported. Notably absent from that assessment was anything about his mental fitness.
White House doctors deemed Biden "healthy" and "vigorous." However, as Fox News contributor Dr. Janette Nesheiwat pointed out, results from the "mini mental status exam" that was part of his physical were noticeably absent in the public report.
"How did he do on that? What was his score? I would like to know," Nesheiwat said. "Physical mental emotional health are all as equally important," she added.
"The job of the presidency is a very demanding stressful job," Nesheiwat went on. "We must ensure our leader is physically mentally and emotionally capable, especially when it comes to decisions regarding life and death and the overall health, safety, and well-being of our nation."
Despite concerns, the White House has been mum on any mention of Biden's cognitive health and often downplays serious situations that might point to problems. Earlier this month, Biden took a major spill at the Air Force Academy commencement but the public was assured he was just fine, the New York Times reported.
It's not unusual for a man of Biden's age to require major dental work. However, it's always difficult to know what's not being said about his actual condition.