Dead and Infected Teeth: Do You Want Them Mummified or Replaced?
There is a soft part of the root canal which is referred to as the pulp or pulp chamber. When a tooth is diseased from decay or distress often a root canal dentist also called endodontist is called in to repair or remove the center of the tooth removing the nerve and pulp, but leaving the now dead tooth behind.
Having a dead or dying tooth remain in the mouth can cause serious concerns. There are healthier and more predictable alternatives to root canal treatment, but if the dentist is not holistic or biological in his/her approach to oral health there is a good chance that the patient is not given a choice about what procedure should be performed.
There are three important facts to know before you make that appointment for your root canal:
- A root canal is in essence the mummifying of a dead tissue or organ left inside your mouth. If you had an organ failing would you have it preserved and left in your body?
- Despite the best efforts of modern technology there is absolutely no way to remove all of the infected material in an embalmed tooth.
- With the infected material left behind eventually the bacteria will leak out of the root canal and attack your immune system.
A small hole is drilled into the middle of the tooth which allows some access to the inner chamber. Once inside the chamber the nerve, lymph and blood vessels are accessible. A tiny path or canal runs to the tip of the root where the canal receives its blood supply. The front teeth or anterior teeth have a single canal and the back teeth or posterior teeth for two to four canals, depending on where the tooth is located.
The main canals can be partially cleaned using a very small file, but each tooth has miles of very minute tubules that cannot be reached or entirely cleaned. However the smallness of the tubules does not stop dozens of bacteria from living comfortably inside. This is unfortunate because not even one white blood cell (our own natural defense system against bacteria) can enter the tubules. Since the blood supply to the tooth is gone antibiotics are ineffectual because they need the blood stream to be carried throughout the body.
The tooth is sealed off creating essentially a tomb. Soon this mini-tomb is filled with a type of bacteria that thrives in an oxygen free environment called anaerobic bacteria. As a matter of fact they multiply at an alarming speed and soon seek a vent to escape the confines of the tomb. Sometimes the root canal seal is ineffective or perhaps there is a micro-fracture in the wall of the tooth. Either of these scenarios is perfect as an escape route for the anaerobic bacteria.
Additionally root canal treatments contribute to infection or sickness in the body because of the toxic gases that are emitted by the now contaminated root canal tooth or teeth. These toxic gases are actually neurotoxins and over time the buildup of gases creates a strain on the immune system.
Sealants and Microbes
The substance most dentists use to seal a root canal is gutta percha. Gutta percha comes from a tree in SouthEast Asia. It is a natural rubber which has been used for many years in dentistry. When warmed up it is very pliable and easily packs or fills the root canal space. However, when the sealant cools is shrinks which allows bacteria to leak though the top of the tooth.
Another substance used as a sealant is Biocalix. Research has shown that this man made sealant breaks down within 12 to 18 months allowing bacteria to invade the bloodstream and potentially infect the entire body.
Teeth are connected to the body through meridian pathways. Energy flows through these meridian pathways throughout the body, but when a tooth dies a blockage occurs which thwarts the flow of energy to all the systems on that meridian. For example: an infection in a maxillary first molar may block the flow of energy to the stomach or breasts as they are on the same meridian pathway. In a recent study out of 60 women with breast cancer; 57 had a root canal on a tooth situated on the breast meridian.
The root canal procedure cannot effectively seal or prevent the leakage of toxic bacteria into the body. Even if the root canal could be sealed completely the flow of energy would be interrupted and the flow of energy for that system would be gone thus leaving it open to infection and failure.
Root Canal Failure
The growing colony of anaerobic bacteria finds an escape route and invades the bloodstream and an infection begins. In many cases the patient does not know there is a problem until it is too late. By then the infection has spread and the patient is in danger of sustaining bone loss and a lack of support for the teeth involved.
The patient now must undergo a second invasive procedure called an apicoectomy. The procedure comprises of an incision in the gum near the tip of the root and the debriding (scraping) of the infected area. Then the tooth is retro-filled with an amalgam filling which is placed directly into the tip of the root. The material used for the procedure is often an amalgam of silver and usually contains other metals including mercury which is another serious issue.
A Healthier Choice for Treating a Dead Tooth
It is often better for patients to extract or remove a tooth rather than undergo root canal therapy. The removal of a failed root canal can be a costly and uncomfortable procedure: Because the tooth is already dead there is a danger of the tooth becoming brittle and as a result often break or chip into pieces during the extraction. Removal of the dead tooth and the placement of a clean compatible appliance can ultimately be the healthiest and most cost effective option to the invasive root canal re-treatment and apicoectomy procedure.
At Miles of Smiles Implant Dentistry, we often recommend patients who have had a tooth extracted get it replaced with a biocompatible ceramic dental implant. For more information about these new implants, you can read more at Zirconia Implants.