Root Canal Treatment The  Hidden Dangers

Next time your dentist suggests a root canal is necessary don't rush your decision. Some of the latest reports show some alarming information that is exposing hidden dangers...
The controversy centres around the issue of determining whether or not ALL root canals are dangerous or just some.  Most dentists will agree that indeed, some can become toxic and dangerous...but whether this leads to an abscessed tooth or can cause other diseases is another issue.
There is a lot of misinformation on this important subject. On the one hand, the Dental Association's insist that root canal-treated teeth do not cause or contribute to any systemic disease.  On the other hand are those that insist root canal-treated teeth are the cause of a host of systemic diseases and that extracting these teeth can provide prevention and assist in recovery to such diseases like heart disease and cancer.
Both the endodontists or dentists who support root canal therapy, and those who oppose the therapy, agree on at least one thing; that infection is a primary health concern. Whether infection is at the site of the tooth (focused), or elsewhere in the body (focal), the best defense against infection is the treatment or eradication of the infection.
From the papers and studies I've read and investigated, and the patients we have seen over the last 20 years, I strongly believe infected root canals are the cause of many serious, life threatening diseases.

Placing root canals are no longer an option for me.. I placed my last one in 1990! 

Dr. Thomas Levy ( Cardiologist) discusses a topic from his recent book The Toxic Tooth on root canals and hidden infections. Which is fully referenced and logical. Find out why he thinks the common procedure can be very dangerous and can actually lead to serious health problems for some people. I would advise everyone to purchase this book and become informed.

We personnally have found that many "old" root canals with demonstrable infection, even on a radiograph, have evidence of systemic influence.
As demostrated in the periodontal literature there are many indications that  bacteria or other  micro-organisms play an important role in chronic heart failure, arterial disease, rheumatoid arthritis, eye /ear and sinus problems, respiratory problems such as pneumonia, Diabetes, autoimmune disorders, cancer and countless other conditions. So, I guess, what would be true for periodontal disease and the oral systemic connection logically would be true for hidden dental infections, such as an infected root canal or an extraction site that hasn't been debrided correctly and remains infected.








Research from the past...Dr Weston Price

Weston Price was a dentist who practiced in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s in Cleveland, Ohio.  He was well known and well respected in his day, widely published in peer-reviewed journals.  He was the author of a textbook on dentistry used by the US Navy. He served as head of research for the National Dental Association.  He wrote prolifically and did a lot of research on the effects of root canals and systemic health effects, and for the student of literature we have included his research on the subject here. As time has passed the damaging effects of dental infection whether coming from Periodontal Disease or any hidden infection is coming to light and vindicates the monumental work of Dr Weston A Price.





So if you have a failed tooth, the question is "Should I get a Root Canal?"

The decision to have a root canal or not is always a risk/benefit decision and needs to be assessed for the individual.
For some teeth the option simply may not be feasible anyway.
So the choice from our perspective needs to be an informed decision, you will need to understand all proposed procedures and treatment protocols offered by Dentists, as completely as possible in order to make an informed decision with expected benefits and potential negative outcomes and longterm side effects. In other words we would engage you in a dialogue to explain and comprehend the nature, alternatives, and risks of proposed options. And whatever your decision is, it would be respected and not ridiculed or patronized.

You would be advised that the options are:

  1. To do nothing, which would be unwise and highly not recommended
  2. Be referred to Endodontist for either Endodontic treatment, retreatment or simply Advice and a second opinion.
  3. or Extraction such that all protocols are carefully followed and the options to replace the missing tooth is given and reasons advised.

The question then is: What are the restoration options when the tooth pulp becomes infected, and the tooth is extracted rather than given a root canal procedure?
If your choice is to have the infected tooth extracted, the restoration options include;

  1. Do nothing and leave the space, realising adjacent teeth may drift or overerupt and chewing compromised, and for some, some Jaw - Joint issues may appear in time.
  2. Restoring or replacing the missing tooth or empty spaces with a removable partial denture, realising.....
  3. Restoring or replacing the missing tooth or empty spaces with a fixed - permanently cemented "bridge",  realising......
  4. Restoring or replacing the missing tooth or empty spaces with a Dental Implant, realising...

If a patient goes to their Dentist with a painful tooth, and a root canal procedure is recommended, the patient must also be made aware of the increased possibility of developing coronary artery disease months or years after the procedure. Science has now established this connection ( Bacterial-Signatures-in-Th… ) as it has with Periodontal Disease or infection.

How do you know if your tooth is toxic or infected?

When assessing the fate of a root filled tooth or a non vital tooth we need to consider

  • Your total health both Medical and Dental history
  • Your genetic influence both strengths and weaknesses
  • Radiographic evidence, clinical presentation with correlation of clinical symptoms, electrical vitality testing, timing and presentation. Radiographic evidence of any pathology, is not always accurate and correct interpretation is required --- nevertheless if it can be viewed at all, then there is a chronic dental infection present. Many times the patient may report "ever since I had ...", "the tooth feels tender", "if I bite on feels..", "occasionally it aches", "my lymph nodes go up and down"
  • We may consider determining the energetic influence of the interference and determine if there is an association and then cross correlate with any clinical presentation
  • Review a complete Nutrition Diagnostics Multipanel of blood and urine chemistries in conjunction with Nutrition Diagnostics Health-Model thinking and interpretation.
What is true for periodontal disease is also true for hidden dental infections--- the problem is as a dentist "how do we save teeth by removing them" thus there will be great resistance from our profession to realise that the "life of the person is truly more important than the life of the tooth."

As we have repeatedly discussed there are many indications that bacteria or other micro-organisms play an important role in chronic heart failure, arterial disease, rheumatoid arthritis, eye /ear and sinus problems, respiratory problems such as pneumonia, Diabetes, autoimmune disorders, cancer and countless other conditions. For instance, patients with severe chronic heart failure may have high levels of endotoxin and various types of cytokines in their blood. Endotoxin, also named lipopolysaccharide, is the most toxic substance produced by Gram-negative bacteria. There are also a host of other inflammatory mediators--mercaptans, thioethers, TNF.  
A really long standing infection, hidden or otherwise, in a chemistry will reveal a lowered CK, lowered IgM and a lowered LDH with a normal CRP or elevated CRP, lowered lymphocyte count or a combination of one or the other. More acute activity will reveal an elevated CRP, IgM and neutrophil count, with sometimes an elevated IgE.

It is important to note that while Oral infections (whether obvious or hidden), or any infection for that matter, are capable of causing systemic conditions, it doesn't always happen. Similarly,   it is not inevitable that periodontal disease or an infected root filled teeth accompany or follows systemic infection and disease. The crossover requires the breakdown of a complex set of protective host-response barriers. Once broken the health reality dictates that you vigorously address this issue. Nevertheless, these dental conditions drive the chronic inflammatory response, and chronic inflammation is a fundamental defect that underlies all disease and toxicities.