Why I Don’t Do Root Canals?
Root Canal. Somewhat common and simple procedure, you might hear about people getting root canal treatment on a regular basis. But what many of them don’t know is that it comes with a specific set of risks, ones that I’ve learned a long time ago and I’m not willing to take.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal treatment repairs a damaged or infected tooth instead of extracting it. It involves removing the pulp inside the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the canals found in your tooth’s root, and placing a filling to seal the space.
The reason why root canal treatments are done is because of the possibility of infection spreading past the root canal to other tissue and areas, causing a variety of potential health issues.
The usual signs your dentist looks for before recommending a root canal procedure include severe pain, extreme sensitivity to cold and hot, swollen and tender gums, darkening of the gums, bumps on the gums (also known as a fistula), an abscess, and a chipped or cracked tooth.
Historically, root canal treatments date back to the 3rd century BC and they’ve since acquired an infamous rap as being pretty painful procedures. Until local anesthesia was discovered and used, the infection of the pulp together with the fact that the procedure requires opening the tooth and exposing it to the environment caused patients to experience high levels of pain.
Since then, the treatment became painless, as local anesthesia and the potential use of additional sedatives make the whole procedure pass without the patient even noticing.
Why I Personally Don’t Do Root Canals and Encourage You to Think Twice Before Getting Them Yourself
Even though most people only think of pain when approached with a root canal procedure, they aren’t really aware of its potential dangers. Dr. George Meinig, a dentist and leader in advising against root canal treatment even wrote a famous book on the subject, called Root Canal Cover Up.
He talks about the dangers of root canals and the way they can actually do more harm than good. Root canals usually symbolize dead and decaying teeth which can easily become one of the worst sources of chronic bacterial toxicity in your body. Any other organ that dies off immediately gets taken out, so it stops the decaying process from infecting the rest of your body and spreading bacteria wherever they will go. Why don’t we do the same with teeth?
Teeth consist of roots with main canals and a plethora of side canals which all contain nerves. During a root canal procedure, the nerve from the main canal is removed, but the ones on the sidelines never get extracted. These dead nerves just stay there and accumulate anaerobic bacteria which thrive in conditions without any oxygen present.
These bacteria excrete toxic compounds and lead to infection and inflammation which can spread throughout the entire body and cause a lot of health complications such as autoimmune diseases, cancer, and even mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. And the longer the root canal-treated teeth stay in your body, the more your immune system becomes compromised.
Alternatives to Root Canal Treatment
Many dentists are not really open to alternative, toxin-free forms of dentistry because they’re usually not educated enough or aware of the risks. Knowledgeable biological dentists who can provide you with a more comprehensive and holistic approach can be hard to come by, but they do exist. Check out the following resources for more information:
When it comes to alternative treatments to root canals, there are great advancements in this space as technology has come a long way. Some of the most popular alternative treatments include:
- Direct pulp capping – a unique treatment using bonding technology that allows for sealing over the dead nerve using the same liquid plastic that contact lenses are made of, coating the nerve and the tooth
- Pulpotomy – a procedure that removes the pulp but preserves the root canal and nerves
- Tooth extraction – In any case there’s a diseased tooth, extracting it is a viable option. Many dentists don’t perform this procedure first as they try to preserve as many teeth as possible and avoid you having to get implants. After a tooth is removed, several things can be used to replace it, such as dental implants, bridges, and dentures.
Root Canal Prevention
But, other than talking about the root canal procedure itself, it’s also important to get to the part about prevention. The goal is to prevent tooth decay before it even starts happening. There are general lifestyle and hygienic practices you should implement and prevent getting an infection in the first place, avoiding the potential complications altogether. These include:
- Brushing teeth – Although this might seem like a redundant lifestyle tip since we’ve all been brushing our teeth from the early years, many people slack on their brushing technique. Whether it’s just cause it’s an automatic thing we all do in the morning and evening or because we do it when we’re tired and absentminded, in most cases we don’t really do it well. And that’s where the bacteria residue can stay and easily wreak havoc. Check out this amazing animation of how to exactly brush your teeth and for how long and you’ll undoubtedly realize that’s not what you do in your bathroom.
- Flossing – although the verdict is still out there on whether flossing is really necessary, it’s a way of getting in between your teeth and cleaning these areas more efficiently than you would with a simple toothbrush.
- Clean up your diet – Avoid sugary foods, sodas, and ultra-processed foods as bacteria loves to thrive in these conditions. In the cases where you do ingest some of these foods, aim to brush your teeth right after so that the bacteria haven’t had time to develop.
- Use fluoride-rich toothpaste – fluoride protects your teeth as it has antibacterial properties so make sure to use the one containing it.
- Regular check-ups – visit your dentist on the regular and have them perform a detailed cleaning and check-up, preventing the formation of any infections and stopping them in their tracks if they do show up.
When there’s something dead in your body it starts decaying and excreting toxins. These toxins can be extremely dangerous and they can wreak havoc throughout your entire body, causing infections basically everywhere and anywhere. In the case of getting a root canal diagnosis, check alternative treatments first, but more importantly, protect yourself and your health with lifestyle practices that aim to prevent infections and inflammation, and not just when it comes to your teeth.