A root canal is hardly an enjoyable experience, but it is a commonly performed procedure in most adults. But the question remains, is it a wise one? What many may not know is that there are issues with root canal therapy that people should be aware of before deciding to have one.
Dr. Robert Kulacz is a dentist that has spent a significant portion of his professional career trying to answer this question. He began practicing dentistry in Brewster, New York. After six years as an associate, he opened his own practice in Somers, New York in 1992, where he performed all the conventional procedures of dentistry, from restorations to extractions and root canals. Dr. Kulacz stopped performing root canals in 1995, but to be clear, he does not promote a ban on root canals, but stresses the importance of informed consent by patients.
What he discovered years ago profoundly changed his life, and led him to write a book about his findings called, The Toxic Tooth: How a Root Canal Could Be Making You Sick.
I did a lot of root canals for many years. Everything was going smoothly until one day, a patient of mine said to me, ‘You know, I heard from my physician that root canals may be bad; that root canals may cause or contribute to other diseases in the body.’
And I said, ‘You’re crazy. Who is telling you this? That’s impossible. You got to look at this information.’ He gave me websites of organizations like the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology to look at.
I went on to explore this topic so I could come back to him and say, ‘Here is where you’re wrong, here’s where your physician is wrong, and here is where the American Dental Association is right.’
Lo and behold, I found out they’re right; I was wrong.
I looked at Weston Price’s work, the work of Rosenow, and others. I decided to go to an IAOMT meeting… Dr. Boyd Haley’s lecture on root canals and how toxic they are changed my life. I realized I was wrong… From that day on, I changed my practice.
What’s The Deal With Root Canals?
The American Dental Association states that root canals are a safe procedure that cannot cause any systemic diseases, and according to Dr. Kulacz and others who have spent time investigating the matter, that’s simply not true.
There has been recent research that presents valid proof of systemic illnesses that are a direct result from hidden infections lingering in filled roots. These conclusions are based on research performed by Dr. Weston Price over a 25 year period in the beginning of the twentieth century. The research done by Dr. Weston Price discusses how root canals can cause bacteria to become trapped inside the tooth structure, and can be the cause of many diseases in the body.
Understanding The Focal Infection Theory
A high percentage of chronic degenerative diseases may actually originate from root canals, with the most common diseases listed as circulatory and heart disease, and the next common diseases are those involving joints and arthritis. The allegation is that there was a series of events that led to important information being hidden about seventy years ago by a group of doctors who didn’t fully understand the “focal infection theory.”
The focal infection theory says that germs from a central focal infection such as decaying teeth, roots, inflamed gum tissues, and tonsils, can metastasize to the heart, eyes, kidneys, lungs, or other organs and tissues. This then spreads the same infection to these new areas. This theory has been proven extensively and is regarded as fact. Focal infection states that the bacteria can move into surrounding tissues and travel to other locations in the body through the bloodstream.
Many dentists believe they can sterilize a root canal tooth and that the act of instrumenting and irrigating the canalwill eliminate all the bacteria, but that’s not the case.
Patients and doctors have been led to believe that infections are not of concern because of antibiotics, but this is simply not true. In the situation of root-filled teeth, the tooth is no longer alive, and does not have blood being supplied to its interior. This means that antibiotics will not reach this area and will not fight any bacteria that exist there.
The main part of teeth is called “dentin,” and while this appears solid, it is actually made up of tiny “tubules.” In healthy teeth, these tubules transport a fluid that nourishes the inside of the tooth. However, a root-filled tooth does not have any fluid circulating through it anymore, yet the tubules remain. Any bacteria that are present in this area of the root-filled tooth are out of reach of antibiotics. The tiny organisms hiding in the tubules move further in to the interior of the tooth to stay and then multiply.
Dr. Price performed many experiments while conducting his research. One such experiment involved removing an infected tooth from a woman who had severe arthritis. Dr. Price took the infected tooth and implanted it under the skin of a healthy rabbit. Incredibly, within 48 hours the rabbit had severe arthritis as well. Today’s scientists are able to confirm the research conducted by Dr. Price, with recent research finding strains of “streptococcus,” “staphylococcus,” and “spirochetes” existing in root canals.
One more factor that plays an important role in this situation is the fact that large numbers of bacteria are common in the mouth, and they will morph and adapt to changing conditions. They can shrink to fit small areas and they can also survive on small amounts of food. The organisms that must have oxygen are even able to mutate and survive without oxygen, so because of this adaptation, these organisms can become pathogenic and are able to produce serious disease.
What Patients Need To Know Before Consenting To Root Canals
Root canals will not make everyone sick, however, it is a current belief that every root canal will leak, and this leakage will allow bacteria to invade the structure. The variable between those who become sick with a degenerative disease and those who do not seems to be the strength of a person’s immune system. This means that people who are in good health will be able to control the organisms that escape from their teeth and infiltrate other areas of the body.
That said, Dr. Mercola explains that bacteria trapped within root canal teeth are actually “hidden” from the immune system due to a lack of blood supply, and that the root canal tooth becomes more infected over time due to the influx of bacteria from the surrounding gum tissue.
Other research has shown pathogenic bacteria from infected root canals destroy or kill the white blood cells designed to eliminate them, which is why the surrounding jaw bone can harbor such chronic infection. The bacteria can also evade your immune system by:
- Bacterial mimicry, which is mimicking your body’s own bacteria, so the white blood cells will not attack them.
- Disabling your antibodies and white blood cells
- Forming sticky biofilms
Methods of Prevention
When it comes to tooth and gum health, diet and oral hygiene is almost always the primary cause of infection. And with most medical interventions, preventative measures can always be taken to avoid the intervention in the first place. This means a healthy diet, rich in whole foods and low in processed carbs is always your best protective measure against dental disease and infection.
When we feed oral bacteria simple carbs, like sugar, these microorganisms produce acidic by-products which in turn eat away at the teeth. Over time these acidic environments lead to more severe infections and the need for interventions like root canals. Not only does a healthy diet help your teeth, but it optimizes your immune system.
Options In Making A Decision
If you must have a rot canal, Dr. Mercola recommends ozone therapy prior to this procedure or even before having an extraction. This is a substance which destroys toxic material and increases your immune response. The ozone is injected around the site of infection with a syringe, and it usually takes a few visits to heal fully. However, if the pulp tissue has died due to infection, nothing will bring it back to life.
If you decide against having a root canal, and opt to have the tooth extracted, there are several options on how to restore that missing tooth. The first and least expensive option is replacing the missing tooth with a removable appliance or partial denture. You need to take it out at night, put it back in in the morning, and keep it clean.
The second and considerably more expensive alternative is to do a bridge. The teeth on either side of the missing tooth are prepared for caps or crowns, and the missing tooth is attached to those two teeth. The bridge is permanently put in as one unit. The problem is you have to cut down a lot of the enamel on the adjacent teeth, which causes trauma to those teeth, potentially risking the need for another root canal over time.
You could also choose a dental implant, which is the most expensive, and can cause issues within the mouth such a galvanizing with other metallic materials. Dr. Kulacz prefers zirconium implants, as they do not have metallic ions found in titanium implants.
This article originally appeared on: thescienceofeating