I wish this were a more fun subject to be discussing. However, we have received so many questions about root canals and positive options available, we want to address this subject for you. For the sake of clarity, we WAY prefer to write about solutions that are purely positive rather than weighing the risks and downsides of various options like when pondering options if a you already have a root canal.
This is the second article in the series we are writing about root canals. Here’s a link to article one, understanding the issues of root canals.
Before we jump into the subject, I feel the need for a disclosure here. We share this information strictly for informational purposes only. We are not making any recommendations or offering any suggestions how you should or shouldn’t handle your personal situation. We do hope that this information will help you know what options you have so that you can make the most informed decisions given your situation.
Again, we are all about empowering you with the information we have researched so you can make the wisest decision for yourself. Ultimately, each of us has to gather whatever information we do from whatever resources we find helpful in order to navigate the sometimes challenging terrain of dental issues.
Primary risks with root canals…
In order to really do this subject the justice it deserves, let’s first lay down several primary risks that experts sounding the alarm about root canals bring to light. Last year, we interviewed Dr Robert Gammal on the subject of root canals for our free online event, the HealThy Mouth World Summit. According to Dr Robert Gammal, creator of the movie Rooted which documents the risks of root canals (quick side note, the reference page for the movie has over 250 entries!), the main failures of conventional root canal therapy are:
1. It is impossible to clean out all the dead tissue from the canal of the tooth. Any dead tissue left in the body becomes gangrenous. The toxins that come out of gangrenous tissue are very toxic to the body and pose a threat to the immune system. Nowhere else in medicine would a physician suggest to leave dead tissue in the body.
2. It is impossible to sterilize the tooth which leads to the dead tooth having lots and lots of space within it for disease causing bacteria to proliferate. This is the enemy inside the gates of the body.
Dental journals combine these two above issues clearly. “It is now known that complete sterilization of an infected root canal is very difficult to achieve and complete removal of all pulp tissue remnants frequently is not possible.”(1)
3. Common protocol during root canal therapy is to place antibiotics into the canal. This antibiotic material only gets a short distance into the dentin tubules. The dental literature admits that this type of ‘semi’ application of antibiotics creates antibiotic resistant bacteria.
4. Substances used to cleanse and seal the tooth are cytotoxic (kills cells) or even carcinogenic (causes cancer).
Ok, so there’s a quick recap of the risks of root canal therapy. Let’s move onto several options someone with a root canal can take to address these potential issues.
This is always an option. We can choose to care for our immunological health to our best ability, support our health and keep the root canal tooth in place. Keep in mind that despite all the information above, there are many dental professionals who argue that root canal therapy is a safe treatment.
One must reflect that life isn’t over because you have a root canal. Remember that primary to creating greater immunological health is our ability to manage our stress. While diet is fundamental, stress firmly takes its place as the number one factor in creating or destroying immunological health. So, above all else, learn to manage your stress. In fact, if you stress about what to do about your root canal, this is doing a potential double negative. Stop reading, go take a walk in nature with bare feet. Focus on beauty for 5 minutes. Pray. Meditate. Take whatever action (which includes doing nothing by the way) that helps you feel good. This is the number one thing each of us must do to reach optimal immunological health.
Have the root canal retreated using more thorough technologies.
This may be an option for some people looking for solutions. According to Dr Robert Gammal, if we were able to eliminate all the bacteria in the root canal (which using conventional methods is totally impossible), this would be a major step forward. Dr Gammal then states that he thinks we would see a great drop off in the side effects in the disease state from root canal therapy.
The best way we know of to effectively eliminate bacteria during a root canal is to use ozone gas during the treatment. So, if a person already has a root canal, they could choose to have the root canal ‘retreated’ by a dentist who uses ozone gas in their clinic. Different than conventional drills or more recent technology of the use of lasers to cleanse the canal, ozone gas will flow into the dentin tubules and has the ability to eliminate bacteria in the tooth. While we don’t know if ozone gas will completely cleanse the tooth, surely using ozone gas during root canal treatment would be a very wise application of ozone in dentistry to more effectively eliminate disease causing ‘bad bugs’. Here’s a link to an article which has a global database of dentists who use ozone in their practice.
To take it a step further in the right direction, the dentist could reseal the canal using more biocompatible materials in order to avoid the obvious risks from the conventional materials breaking down into dangerous compounds like ammonia, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. If you really want to go this route, we suggest you have a dental materials blood compatibility test completed. It’s around $300 and you only have to do it once in your life to find out exactly what dental materials irritate your immune system less than others. In this way, you could have materials that are in the ‘less irritating’ group from your biocompatibility test used to seal and fill the canal.
Have the root canal tooth removed.
This is the last option we see possible to answer the question, “I have a root canal. What are my options?” If you choose to have the root canal tooth removed, it is very, very important to have it done properly.
If it’s true that the root canal tooth is a source point for disease causing bacteria to enter the body, then having it removed properly is crucial to insure that the area is cleaned out well after the tooth is removed. Our research suggests that the dentist doing the removal should treat the situation as a surgical procedure. Dr Gammal shared with us in the HealThy Mouth World Summit that he prefers to cut molars into parts so he can be very sure to remove all of the tooth. He shared with us that root canal teeth are very weak and a root can easily break off during extraction. In this circumstance, the dentist has the choice to either leave the piece of root in place, which would be a dreadful choice or go dig around for the tip which doesn’t sound very fun at all.
In our recent other articles on root canals, you may recall that Dr Weston Price embedded a root tip of a tooth that had been root canaled under the skin of a rabbit and provoked the same cause of death that occurred to the human who had the root canal. So, having all the pieces of the dead tooth removed are crucial.
So, it’s best if the dentist approaches this extraction very precisely, treating it as a potential surgical situation.
Another important step sometimes overlooked is the necessity to completely clean out the extraction site after removing the tooth. There is a ligament, called the periodontal ligament, which tends to be a hot spot for infection. The procedure experts have shared with us is they use a rounded burr tip on their drill and clean out the extraction site to remove any infected tissue, including the periodontal ligament.
Of course, if someone chooses to have the root canal removed, the follow up question is, ‘So what are the options to fill the gap?’ We will address this question in an upcoming article in this series which will detail the various options to fill the gap after an extraction and the relative risks and benefits of each option.
We’re excited to announce that we’re soon going to be interviewing a woman who survived cancer. Our interview will explore what her research and experience was regarding the relationship between her cancer development, her dental health and how she navigated this issue to be a healthy, cancer free person today! We’ll share this interview as soon as we have it all together for you…
Please share this article with loved ones who may be looking for empowering solutions to their dental issues.
Related articles to root canals:
Understanding the issues with root canals, part one
Options if you have a missing tooth
“My dentist says I need a root canal. What are my options?”
3 questions to ask your dentist about a proposed root canal
1. Phillip Delivanis Oral Surgery 1981 Vol 52 No 4