Have you had a root canal procedure? You’re not alone. Root canals are one of the most common dental procedures. Nearly 15 million root canals are performed every year in the United States alone. That’s not a good thing!
In today’s post we’re going to talk about a subject I’m passionate about: root canal toxicity. You’ll learn why and how a root canal is performed, the potentially dangerous drawbacks of the procedure, better alternatives to root canals, and much more.
Let’s get started.
Your teeth are alive
Most people don’t realize this, but each of your teeth is a unique living system. All the parts that make up your tooth, from the root and the pulp to the enamel and lymph, are all living tissues that work together. Just like any other part of your body, when a tooth becomes severely infected or dies, it MUST be removed.
Think about your appendix. If it becomes inflamed and bursts, your doctor doesn’t just leave it in your body. You’ll be rushed into surgery STAT to have it removed. Otherwise, the infection will spread and you’ll face major health consequences.
When your tooth dies, however, many dentists recommend a root canal. When a root canal is performed, the dead tooth remains in your mouth.
What sense does this make?
What is a root canal?
When the outer layers of your tooth become damaged by decay, the common course of treatment is a filling. The decay is removed and the cavity is filled.
But what happens when the damage extends beyond the outer layers of the tooth? When extensive decay reaches the soft tissue inside the root canal (the pulp) it can become inflamed or infected. Also, consider that if a tooth experiences trauma causing permanent injury to its nerve it may never heal. In both cases, the tooth can die.
That leads us to the root canal procedure. It involves removing the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals. Then the remaining space is shaped to make room for a restoration. The most common restoration for finishing the root canal procedure is a crown.
Do you see what’s missing?
The dead tooth itself is not removed!
It is still in your mouth and it can affect your whole body health.
What is root canal toxicity?
When a root canal is performed, the goal is to remove all infected tissue and bacteria. This is next to impossible to accomplish!
Any remaining bacteria, residual soft tissues, and unresolved infection can become trapped beneath the restoration. Normally, bacteria and infection in your body are destroyed by your body’s immune system. However, the dead tooth structure left behind by the root canal procedure has no blood supply and no immune function. This allows bacteria and infection to thrive unchecked.
Think of a tooth’s root system as a sponge – it’s very porous. Without living tissue inside your tooth to protect it from infection, it may become filled with bacteria over time.
The result is root canal toxicity, a strain on your immune system, and chronic infection.
Beyond root canal toxicity, some bacteria may attack and weaken the jawbone from within. Over time, a weakened jawbone can lead to tooth loss, the inability to chew, a misaligned bite, and irreversible damage to the underlying structure of your jaw.
How is your whole body health affected?
Your mouth is directly connected to every system in your body.
When not stopped by your immune system, bacteria that enter through your mouth are free to travel around your body. The latest research suggests a direct link between oral bacterial infections and heart disease, hypertension, and other very serious health problems.
Did you know: Over 90% of people with cardiovascular disease also have periodontitis. Scientists believe the link between these two issues is bacteria.
Good news! There a great alternatives to root canals.
At Blodgett Dental Care, when patients ask me about alternatives to root canals, there’s an excellent option: zirconia dental implants. Implants are a high-tech restoration that actually safeguards your whole body health.
Implants are a multistep process. First, the damaged tooth is fully removed and the implant itself is securely attached into the jaw, much like the root of a healthy tooth. Then a crown is attached to the implant to complete the restoration. I use advanced CEREC 3D and Trios 3D CAD/CAM systems, which create amazing restorations in just one visit.
Zirconia is a ceramic material and naturally compatible with the body. There is no risk of corrosion. With proper care, your dental implant is a permanent solution to missing or damaged teeth. Implants are placed firmly into the jawbone itself creating a rock solid foundation for a crown. Implants even encourage the growth of healthy bone and gum tissue just like a real tooth does!
Have you already had a root canal?
The dead tooth left behind forces your body to mount an immune response. This immune response is what keeps the bone around the dead tooth from dying as well. If you have already had a root canal (or more than one), you MUST understand that:
- A dead tooth may be a constant “tax” on your immune system
- Your long-term health may be improved by removing the tooth and replacing it with a dental implant
“Reversing” a root canal is simple:
- Remove the crown
- Extract the dead tooth
- Install the implant
- Finish the restoration with a crown
Look beyond symptoms and focus on systems
Tooth decay is serious.
When decay in your mouth advances to the point where a dentist recommends a root canal, you must look deeper at the true cause of the decay. Simply eliminating the decay isn’t enough. You need to understand why the health of your teeth was compromised in the first place.
At Blodgett Dental Care, I help my patients improve their dental wellness and whole body health by taking a proactive and systemic approach to care. For example, I help my patients understand how they can change their lifestyles to minimize the risk of future decay. We may discuss topics like:
- Reducing the frequency of eating and snacking
- The importance of drinking plain water throughout the day
- Developing good brushing and flossing techniques and habits
- Eating a healthy diet low in acid and high in antioxidants
- Reducing stress to prevent tooth grinding
Schedule your appointment today
Whether you’re interested in learning more about how to reverse a root canal or simply want to learn more about optimizing your whole body health, I can help.
Contact Blodgett Dental Care online or call (503) 285-3620 to schedule your appointment.
Dr. Blodgett completed his pre-doctoral sciences at Portland State University and graduated from the Oregon Health Science University School of Dentistry in 1999. As a modern pioneer in progressive dental care, Dr. Blodgett has become a leader in minimally-invasive dentistry, dental lasers, computerized dental technology, and holistic care. He is widely recognized for the innovative care he provides and is dedicated to helping his patients optimize their whole body health.