Root Canal Facts and Alternatives

Root Canal Facts and Alternatives

Just saying the phrase “root canal” can send a dental phobe into a manic state. Images of horror movies and people writhing in excruciating pain seem to be associated with the term. Thankfully, dentistry has changed tremendously over the past several decades, greatly increasing the ability to make people feel comfortable. Over 25 million people receive root canals yearly. It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, so speaking out against such a money-maker isn’t looked upon kindly. With that being said, my ultimate goal is to educate the consumer so the best decision can be made with all of the facts. If you have the opportunity to rent the documentary Root Cause, I highly recommend it. Dr. Mercola also has some good videos on his website regarding the dangers of root canals.

Facts Concerning Root Canals

Fact: A root canal removes the blood supply from your tooth, making it a dead tooth. Leaving anything dead in your body has consequences. Remember, your teeth are living organs because they have a nerve and blood supply. Once removed, the tooth is no longer living, which is why it will need a crown to prevent it from breaking over time. Root-canaled teeth are very brittle.

Fact: If a root canal lasts 8 years, it’s considered successful. I cannot tell you how many root canals I have seen fail over my career. They fail because it’s impossible to completely sterilize the tooth. They “sterilize” the tooth using bleach—yes, bleach is irrigated into the root-canaled tooth. This can only remove 44% of the bacteria, and when tested, 100% of all previously treated root canal teeth test positive for endotoxins. Endodontists can only access the main canals of the teeth, but there are at least 75 microtubule canals that are impossible to access, so toxic bacteria get trapped inside the bone. That means every time you chew, you are releasing this toxic bacterium into your bloodstream. 

Fact: Your teeth are linked to organs in your body since everything is connected; there are no magic fences in your body. Dr. Weston Price did amazing groundbreaking research back in the early 1930's on the relationship between root-canaled teeth and disease. He removed root-canaled teeth from people diagnosed with various diseases and implanted the tooth under the skin of a rabbit. That rabbit would inevitably develop the same disease as the host. He also discovered the link between nutrition and dental disease.

Fact: Here is a non-inclusive list of health consequences from root-canaled teeth:

  • Heart disease
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Digestive disorders
  • Mental disorders
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis

Alternatives to Root Canals

Pulp cap (direct or indirect): Sometimes a root canal can be avoided altogether if certain materials are applied to the decayed tooth directly. The material itself depends on the preference of the dentist and how exposed the tooth is. It may prevent a root canal, so it's a fantastic first step if there is deep decay.

Biomimetic dentistry: Instead of the typical "drill and fill" approach, biomimetic dentists use materials that are similar to tooth structure and may just fill in cracks instead of drilling the whole tooth for a dental crown. They try to preserve as much tooth structure as possible and apply different materials to stop decay in its tracks.

GentleWave technology: This procedure, although considered "minimally invasive," still results in a dead tooth in the end, which is why I don't recommend it.

Extraction: If all else fails, an extraction may be necessary. I would recommend having a biological dentist properly remove the tooth, as there is a ligament surrounding the tooth that does not come out unless excised. Think of the ligament as the "placenta" in childbirth. Unless the ligament is removed, the infection can still remain in the bone.

If you have health issues and root-canaled teeth, I strongly recommend visiting a biological dentist to have them safely removed. However, if you decide to proceed with a root canal, seek out an endodontist who performs the GentleWave procedure. While general dentists can perform root canals, it's best to consult a specialist. General dentists often lack the specialized training and equipment necessary for these procedures, which can significantly increase the risk of failure.  If you'd like to learn more about replacing missing teeth or how to be your own advocate, check out my book, Dentistry for Dummies or schedule a 30 minute personal consultation with me, I'm happy to help.


Heather the Hygienist


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