Root Canals: The Simple Truth
The chances are pretty high you have heard some not-so-favorable news about root canals. Especially, if you’ve seen the Root Cause documentary. The chances are probably even higher that you HAVE a root canal.
So, how do you wade through all the truth and misinformation?
The Simple Truth About Root Canals
Root canals are prone to bacterial infections. Why? I’ll discuss this shortly. Do they always get infected? No. However, when they do, an infection can have numerous effects throughout the body. Some of them can be deadly.
Pulp, which is living tissue comprised of nerves and blood vessels, is found inside a tooth. If bacteria reach the pulp, it can affect the nerve of the tooth, causing it to die. For a NON-biological practice (and the entire profession of endodontics), a root canal is suggested to keep that tooth in your head. Yes, it’s still there, but is now filled with a foreign substance. The pulp tissue, which was once alive and contained immune properties for the living tooth has been removed. This means the dead tooth NO LONGER HAS IMMUNITY. Even though the root canal has filled the dead pulp space in the tooth, there are still miles of microscopic tubules running through the tooth that can still be ravaged with bacteria. What happens now?
When any part of the body is affected by an infection, your immune system will attempt to fight that infection by releasing white blood cells to gather together within the damaged tissue causing inflammation, which is pleasantly referred to as pus. But wait, isn’t inflammation a bad word? Inflammation is a bad word when it goes untreated. Inflammation is a good word when realizing it’s God’s creative way to show healing or change is necessary.
So, bacteria create an infection. An infection results in inflammation. Inflammation is the indication of an abscess (pocket of pus). Even though the confines of the oral cavity are very small, an abscess can hide for some time before going unnoticed. WHY? The patient has no symptoms of pain. And WHY? The nerve has been removed from the internal portion of the tooth during the root canal procedure.
Infection Causes in Root Canals
- A new cavity post root canal treatment.
- Cracked or damaged tooth post root canal treatment.
- Undetected infection during root canal procedure.
- Insufficient root canal preparation leaving behind bacterial growth.
- Delays in crown placement or permanent restoration following the root canal, which can allow the re emergence of harmful bacteria.
- Insufficient technology, which is unable to detect current infections before a root canal procedure.
- Undetected accessory canals housing harmful bacteria.
If you’re fortunate enough to catch the infection early, its spread can be minimized to possibly the tooth itself or just the surrounding tissues. Early detection is key and is facilitated by keeping scheduled appointments and having access to the most current dental technology offered.
A root canal infection that is left untreated can wreak havoc not only on your oral cavity but your entire body. The infection can create severe and persistent aching in the teeth and expand to the jawbone, neck, or ears. You could suffer from sensitivity to varying temperatures or be affected by chewing pressures or even swallowing difficulties. Swelling in your face is an obvious physical sign. Swollen or tender lymph nodes in the neck or jaw is another indicator. If and when the bacteria get in your bloodstream, the infection can burden a person’s immune system for years to come and take a destructive toll on one’s overall health. Even destructive to the point of death. Additionally, If you have a weakened immune system and you leave a tooth abscess untreated, your risk of a spreading infection increases even more.
The best advice I can offer is to be proactive in your dental care. Many “reputable” institutions still prescribe copious amounts of fluoridated drinking water, toothpaste/mouth rinse as prevention methods, but we strongly discourage those suggestions. Along with our suggested daily routines of eating nutritious foods, flossing, using interdental cleaners, Sonicare use, and regular wellness assessments or cleanings, and avoiding sugar, we ALSO utilize ozone heavily in our practice due to its proven track record. Ozone kills bacteria that cause decay, periodontal disease, and abscesses, increases blood flow, disinfects, accelerates healing, and is anti-inflammatory.
An annual wellness assessment at Origin Dental Wellness coupled with our 3D Cone Beam Scan once a year is the most proactive and least expensive way someone can prevent future illness, expensive surgeries, and life of wasted “quick fixes” that always fall short.
Depending on whether your tooth is sensitive or dead will help determine what happens next. A sensitive tooth isn’t necessarily a lost tooth. A chairside visit should help clarify the next steps. If the tooth is dead and has lost the immune capabilities of that pulp we discussed earlier, you have two options. Your standard dental office will push a root canal. However, if you’re at Origin Dental, we already know you value optimal health and would want a solution that avoids the potential for further health risks. Weighing what happens next is determined by several factors including values, time, money, and overall health impact. So, we will discuss all your options.
At Origin Dental Wellness, we provide an atmosphere where you can expect friendly support and honest conversations about your health priorities. We were founded on serving health-oriented people who demand the highest quality of care delivered through COLLABORATION with respect and compassion.