Root Canal: Dangerous or Just Misunderstood?

Root Canal: Dangerous or Just Misunderstood?

Root canals are a controversial topic in the dental world (if you didn’t know!). I’ve always had a fascination with studying oral health, and while I’m glad to have never needed a root canal (or an alternative), I felt it was good to research them and be prepared in case I ever did.

Many dentists consider the root canal—a dental procedure to treat deep dental cavities—to be a safe procedure, while other research has shown that root canals may allow dangerous bacteria to grow in the mouth and the rest of the body.

What Is a Root Canal?

Root canals are recommended for dental cavities that have progressed into the root of the teeth. The treatment of such cavities requires that all the infected pulp inside of the teeth be removed and cleaned, before the dental filling materials are injected into the tooth.

This allows the patient to keep the tooth, although the living tissue inside of the tooth is replaced, and the tooth is considered dead.

Is a Root Canal Safe?

This is where things start to get confusing, and it really depends on who you ask.

On the one hand, the American Association of Endodontists states that there is no evidence that root canals could be linked to cancer or any other inflammatory diseases. On the other hand, some scientific evidence shows there could be a potential for some pretty serious problems.

So Who Is Right?

Let’s look at the data.

One study tested the effectiveness of root canal cleaning procedures and found endotoxins and pathogenic bacteria in 100% of root canals. The cleaning procedures can clear up to 44% of these bacteria, but the bacteria always persist.

The theory is that this could lead to long term problems, including some pretty serious ones. In fact, there are five ways that a root canal can lead to problems, including:

  1. Infection inside or outside of the root canals
  2. Extruded root canal filling causing an immune response
  3. Accumulation of cholesterol crystals that irritate the tissues
  4. Cystic lesion where the root canal is done
  5. Scar tissue healing of the root canal site

Even after the root canal procedure is long over, it appears that bacteria can (and often does) remain. This can logically lead to infections and other problems, and antibiotics are often given if needed.

However, while antibiotic use presents its own side effects, one study has shown that antibiotic use does not significantly reduce pain and swelling. Overall, there is no strong evidence suggesting that antibiotics really help with root canal infections.

The Problem with Lingering Bacteria

The bacteria (again, present in 100% of all root canals) can stimulate inflammatory molecules such as Interleukin-1beta and TNF-alpha, thereby raising inflammation throughout the body.

In severe cases, this can cause fever, malaise, and abscess or cellulitis in the head and neck area that may even require hospitalization.

Even without major complications, the bacterial toxins and inflammation can lead to seemingly unrelated health problems, as Dr. Weston A. Price discovered.

Weston A. Price on Root Canals

Dr. Price, a dentist known for his work on the relationship between nutrition and dental health (and overall health), was able to show that root canals can cause chronic diseases of inflammation by experimenting on rabbits.

Here’s what he did:

He conducted a series of experiments on rabbits, using extracted teeth from people with various health problems. His research found that rabbits would develop the condition that the person with the tooth had.

In other words: when using a tooth from a person with heart attacks and arthritis, the rabbit implanted with the root canal tooth would develop heart attacks and arthritis within a few weeks.

Back to the Bacteria

The bacteria that are found inside of root canals include groups of bacteria called Fusobacterium, Parvimonas, Prevotella, Porphyromonas, Dialister, Streptococcus, and Treponema.

Many of these bacteria are naturally present in the mouth, but they only become a problem when we are infected with them. When they grow in the root canal, the anaerobic conditions inside the root canal can cause these bacteria to become more dangerous. In addition, the ecosystem of these bacteria can make them even more dangerous.

These bacteria, in the context of periodontal infections, are linked to many chronic inflammatory diseases:

Because these bacteria are transmissible, it explains why the exact same diseases could be transmitted from humans to rabbits by tooth transplantation in Dr. Price’s experiments.

This list of links between root canal bacteria and diseases is by no means exhaustive, but the literature has consistently shown that the infections of these bacteria in the mouth are linked to chronic inflammatory diseases.

Root Canals: What to Do?

After researching, I would personally choose not to get a root canal if I was ever told I needed one. There are some less well known alternatives, but they also all present their own challenges. The best option, of course, is to maintain optimal oral health as much as possible and hopefully never have to make this decision.

Pros and Cons of Getting a Root Canal

Unfortunately, when a tooth has progressed to the point of needing a root canal, there aren’t any really great options. And even within the dental community, the recommendations vary widely. As this article explains:

Dentists who speak out against the safety of root canals bring up 3 main concerns:

  1. There is no way to completely remove all the dead tissue from the tooth
  2. There is no way to sterilize the tooth, thus leaving bacteria in the tooth
  3. The materials used to fill the hollowed out tooth leak and cause problems “downstream”

Those in the profession who claim that root canals are safe claim:

  1. Enough of the tissue is removed
  2. The body’s immune system can better get on top of any existing infection
  3. There are improved substances to fill the tooth
  4. There are no other suitable options

Alternatives to Root Canal Treatment

As explained above, the bacteria present in dental cavities can be quite dangerous. Deep dental cavities should certainly be taken care of, especially those that have the potential to infect deeper in the jaw.

So if a root canal isn’t the best option, what is?

Some holistic dentists suggest that if the dental cavities are deep, the tooth should be extracted with the periodontal ligament removed to prevent further infections. Of course, this leaves a person without a tooth, though there are now several options if a tooth has been removed, such as:

Dental Implants

The tooth with cavity is removed and replaced with a metal implant. It still remains controversial whether the implantation of metal to replace the tooth can cause problems as this can raise the levels of such metals in the body and cause an immune response.

Dental Bridge

This may be a safer option than dental implants since the metal is not implanted into the gums in the same way.

Partial Denture

A removable denture to replace the extracted tooth is the least invasive option.

What to Do with Existing Root Canals

There is enough information (and enough conflicting opinions) when it comes to root canals to make a person’s head spin! Hopefully, the emerging research will shed some light on the safety of root canals in the future, but what about people who already have one or more?

Get a Second Opinion

A modern-day researcher, Dr. Boyd Haley at the University of Kentucky, completed follow-up research to Dr. Price’s work and his findings are telling:

Roughly 25% of the root canal teeth studied had bacteria within them which produced toxins that were fairly benign. 50% of the teeth studied contained bacteria within their structure that would challenge a healthy immune system. The last 25% of the teeth contained bacteria which produce toxins more powerful than botulinum (Important note, botulinum is widely recognized as the most toxic substance known to humans). This bears repeating. 25% of the teeth Dr. Haley studied contained a toxin stronger than the strongest toxin known to humans…

Many holistic health experts, including Dr. Mercola and many of his dentist colleagues, recommend removing the infected teeth and root canals, even if they look and feel fine. Dr. Haley, who did the above study, had his teeth with root canals removed after completing his study.

Because every dental procedure comes with a risk (not to mention the expense), it is best to consult a biological dentist who is well versed in Dr. Price’s work.

Adjust Lifestyle Choices

Thanks to modern lifestyles, we all know that the incidences of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes are on the rise. Based on the research of Dr. Price and Dr. Haley, it appears that root canals may contribute to a subset of the cases.

Personally, I’d choose to have a tooth pulled instead of getting a root canal if I ever had to make the choice. I’d rather lose a tooth than have a risk of long-term inflammation and other conditions (of course, once you’ve gotten a cavity, starting on a remineralization routine is a good way to keep from needing a root canal in the future).

Some sources suggest that if it isn’t possible to avoid or remove a root canal, certain lifestyle factors may help mitigate any potential problem. In fact, these are things we should probably be doing anyway, including:

  • eating a low inflammatory diet
  • managing stress
  • maintaining gut health
  • using plant extracts like aloe vera, rosemary, or eucalyptus that have some antimicrobial extracts against bacteria that infect the teeth and root canals. (However, there is no clinical study demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of these substances in real human root canals, as we still don’t know how well these substances … or even antibiotics … can reach the blood that flows in that area.)

Root Canals: Bottom Line

Root canals are a tough subject. There certainly isn’t a clear and completely safe solution. I think all dentists would agree that the best scenario is to have great oral health and avoid ever needing this controversial procedure if at all possible.

For those who already have or need a root canal, it may be helpful to find a trusted dentist to help explore the options.

Additional Reading & Resources

What’s your take on root canals? Please weigh in in the comments below.

Ever wondered if a root canal is safe? Learn what the science says about the risks and ways to protect your health before your next procedure.

Sources:

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Reader Comments

  1. I had a root canal months ago. In fact, the dentist re-did the root canal because it was still hurting after several months. It STILL hurts. My nutritional doctor says the root canal gave me a parasite, and he is treating me with herbal remedies for the parasite. If I had it to do over again, I would definitely have the tooth pulled. MUCH less cost and pain.

    Any suggestions at this point?

    • Tell your dentist to remove that tooth! ASAP. I recommend getting an implant, it’s a little more costly but you won’t have to endure any more pain. Plus you can’t get a cavity in a fake tooth!

      • This is a gross understatement. They’re WAY WAY WAY more expensive. I can’t afford the 8 grand of an implant vs. the 800 for a root canal.

        • I know, it was a SUPER gross understatement. Was just trying to word it a little positively hah

    • I developed 8 cavities from using a prescription drug (there is now an investigation going on because many other people have made similar claims). I went to my dentist a couple days ago to get a few of the cavities filled in (which is also dangerous because there is no way of completely getting rid of all the bacteria) and my dentist told me that a few of my cavities were so deep that I will need a root canal. I have a friend who is a well educated dentist that gave me the straight truth about root canals. He told me that dentists are advised to always recommend root canals and they are told to deny any complications and ensure their patients that the procedure is safe. The reason dentists recommend this is because they make SO much money from the procedure. And that’s when he gave me the harsh truth, he told me to get the tooth pulled and never have a root canal done. It’s more expensive to get a dental implant over a root canal, but in the long-term, it is the better option.

      Hope this helps some!

    • I fell in October 2016 and broke one of my front teeth and chipped and cracked all 4 top front teeth. I went to a biological dentist in November and she advised I would need a root canal and a crown. I looked for ways to strengthen my teeth and found magnesium oil . I started using magnesium oil after I discovered Wellness Mama and it’s been significant in cancer recovery. I was using the calcium tooth powder but I when I dipped my sonicare into the magnesium oil from Health and Wisdom and then into the tooth powder my teeth really became increasingly strong and hard. I read that the magnesium will pull mercury from my fillings but I feel that the benefits outweigh the danger. I just make sure not to swallow it which you shouldn’t do anyway. This works much better than the cod liver oil and the dentist noticed a huge difference in my teeth and gums as it really tightens the gums also.

  2. Dentist said I need a root canal 2 years ago and I took Dr. Weston’s Green Pasture Blue Ice Royal Better Oil and Fermented Cod Liver Oil and as well as gargling with peroxide and the pain went away. It sometimes comes back but goes away. It is a hard decision to make. Mine is under a crown in the very back. I may just wind up getting the tooth pulled.

  3. I was once told I needed a root canal. I had an inflamed gum near a tooth. I refused. I only knew that root canals were expensive. I had sore gums before and never needed a root canal. It always went away. I couldn’t see any reason why it would not go away this time and it did! I get my teeth cleaned every 3 months now just because I love getting my teeth cleaned. I am 65 years old and have teeth that look like they belong in the mouth of a 30 year old.

    • Sore gums are mostly from not flossing or improper flossing. A tooth problem resulting in a “need” for a root canal cannot go away though. Dentists always jump to tell patients to get a root canal. Mainly because of the cost for the procedure! Luckily you didn’t actually need one and your problems went away!

  4. Siiiiigh. I had a tooth that needed a root canal back in 2014. I knew there were problems with them, but since this tooth is my large molar on my top right, I really didn’t want to lose it, so I got it done and paid a pretty penny for it. Well, it’s never felt right. It always seems to be irritable. I’ve actually been worried about it lately, and now think I might just get the whole thing pulled. Thanks for posting this.

  5. As a dental office employee, I am so glad and proud that you brought this to light!! At my office alone, we have seen thousands of people who have been suffering from unexplained illnesses (chronic fatigue, lymes, MCS etc..) who have had drastic changes after having their root canals PROPERLY removed. Please find the best dentist for the job, Mercola has great resources as well as IAOMT.ORG and IABDM.ORG. Thank you for writing about this, most people aren’t aware or have great dentists that just aren’t educated on the dangers of root canals.

    • I am very happy that I went to a dentist that DID inform me of the dangers of a root canal.

    • I wish I had seen this comment last week!! I have at least 8 teeth that need to be filled and others that are being watched! A prescription med that I was taking caused my teeth to rot and now the company is being investigated. But last week I went to get my top right teeth filled and I don’t think the dentist did a very good job. After the numbness went away, one of my teeth started hurting. I got home and looked at it and it was bleeding and I saw that she had filed the side of my tooth and didn’t fill it in and now there’s a bigger gap between that tooth and the one next to it!

      • What was the prescription?

  6. This is a perfectly timed article for me! I went to an intergrative dentist yesterday for the first time. I had been to a conventional dentist for a chipped tooth and he recommended a root canal. I wanted a second opinion. I am opting to not have a root canal and for a tooth extraction and a bridge instead. She said this is a great option since my bone is okay.
    This is off topic, but I have not been to the dentist for several years but use homemade toothpaste and oil pull weekly. The dentist said I had beautiful teeth despite the one tooth that needs to be extracted 🙂 Made me feel like oil pulling is worth it and verified my opinion that fluoride is not needed! No other cavities!

    • Debbie, so you only pull once a week, I’m not faithful at it but will have to start. My teeth aren’t the best, I just got a back one pulled and I had to get penicillin as it was troubling me. I’m 63 and not liking having teeth problems.

  7. Hi Katie Welness Mama. Love your articles. Route canals and capped teeth are also a standard way of dealing with broken or deeply cracked teeth. I have received a few of those. Unfortunately one of them became abscessed (fistula) and I was advised to have about a $3000 procedure. The tooth and root canal AND INFECTED gums tissue are removed and tissue implant was recommended. After healing of gums, an implant or bridge can be an option. Needless to say, my dental insurance will not pay for all of that. If not done, and the tooth is an upper molar as mine is, the infection can progress into the sinuses and cause even more serious problems. I have yet to decide, but will probably just have it removed. There is a downside to not replacing that tooth with a bridge or an implant. The teeth work in concert with one another – top and bottom. If there is a gap, like a missing tooth, the one that doesn’t have anything to push against will move up (or down). This can also cause problems. In my case, the root had a sort of shell that cracked and allowed infection. Of course there is no liability for the dentist if several years past before that happens. The only liability is on us. So I guess a really good admonishment would be: don’t chew very hard crunchy things, also ice (which are used to do when I was a kid). It’ll cause teeth to crack and later break. (On the subject of what we used to do as kids, one of my coworkers had really bad looking teeth, and she said that she used to eat lemons all the time and it eroded her dental enamel. So if you have children – watch out for your kids’ eating habits! Prevention is always superior to cureative modalities.)

    • Also don’t get your tongue pierced! I have a fractured tooth from accidentally biting mine 🙁

  8. As someone who has had six root canals, I’ve never personally had any ill effects from them, but I do think they should be used as a last resort. However, I would warn against using dental implants as an alternative. If the idea of mummifying and shave down a tooth and then covering it with a crown doesn’t sound good, drilling a hole into your jaw and placing hardware into mouth shouldn’t either. Dental implants carry their own risk for infection, can cause sinus issues, develop or worsen TMJ, and from the people I know who have them they can be uncomfortable. And whatever you do, don’t just leave it alone because odds are if your dentist is saying a tooth needs a root canal something needs to be done. Abscessed teeth are worse for your health than all of these combined so make sure to take care of it someway somehow.

    • I agree, I’ve had several root canals myself and never had any problems.

      They should be used as a last resort. As long as you go to the dentist regularly and get x-rays when they ask you to; and also to go in if you feel something is wrong, basically treating it as early as possible you might be able to avoid root canals.

      • Unfortunately, the research shows that root canals may linked to problems that many people may not realize are related so many people may have a problem but never realize it.

        • Yes you are correct! After much research and following my instincts, I believe that
          A dead tooth is a dead tooth and needs to go!! Each tooth directly connects to an organ in your body. My stomach issues are
          Almost healed( my extracted tooth was on the stomach meridian )and my wholistic dentist found a parasite that I’ve cleared out as well!i now have a partial denture.i went through a period of mourning the tooth,but now I know I did the right thing for me!

      • Elroy- I’m certainly not giving medical or dental advice and wouldn’t want to. I”m just sharing research I found interesting. As I mention, everyone should absolutely consult with a dentist he or she trusts to make these kinds of decisions.

      • I had a 2 tooth canal tooth pulled over the summer. They looked perfect on x-rays. However both were infected and dentist pooled together with tiny “bags” attached to the roots. So you are not right!!!
        I developed Hashimoto and predabietes 3 years after having my first one. I’m coming back to my health. I didn’t figure out what to do with the empty spot.

    • I second this. Plus, when i had an implant, it was 8 thousand dollars!!!! The root canal is 800 dollars. I don’t really have a choice. I can’t afford either, but the 800 is way better than 8 thou!! My dental insurance covers root canals. It does not cover implants.

  9. This has been my experience. One of my molars died when my health crashed after having my first baby, so (not knowing better) I got a root canal and a gold crown. I developed a metal allergy and my immune system became practically useless.
    A few years later, after reading Dr Price’s book, I got that root canal extracted as well as another molar that was dying (so now I’m missing two back molars).
    I still have the chronic fatigue syndrome I developed when my health crashed, but my immune system works again. It’s amazing. I used to get sick with anything and everything, all the time, and now I can’t remember the last time I had a cold.
    Removing my root canal didn’t cure my chronic fatigue syndrome, but it definitely lightened the load on my immune system.

  10. I’m not sure people should be asking for health advice on serious medical issues in a post like this unless the person who wrote this post is a dentist or dental professional.

    This article was really long and quite informative in a lot of ways. I found the evidence involved in the experiment with the rabbit to be very sketchy. I think it’s reasonable to expect that if you essentially stab infected bone into an animal, whether it’s a rabbit or a person; it’s entirely reasonable to expect that animal to develop the same infection.

    That experiment reminded me from my younger days when I used to take martial arts. One of the things you’re tired very quickly when you learn how to fight is not to punch someone in the mouth. If their teeth cut you infection can be very bad.

    • Elroy- I’m certainly not giving any medical or dental advice, just sharing some research I found interesting along with some links to read additional studies.

  11. I got a root canal 20 years ago. I believe the dentist caused it while he was doing another procedure. He said my teeth were fine and then he said the one tooth needed it while he was working on it. It hurt for about a year. It doesn’t hurt now but I learned that root canals can have negative effects. I am keeping it for now. It is in the front so I would have to have a implant or bridge. I have learned a lot since then but please keep your teeth healthy. They say they are great now. I eat healthy and spend 15 minutes a day brushing, flossing, etc. I have read that some people’s chronic diseases cleared up. One supposedly had MS. The dentist still believe in flouride and Listerine. Ugh

  12. Interesting research .I don’t have much to add except for this: Why does dental insurance cover so little? I read somewhere that coverage hasn’t changed since the 1950’s. People can go broke on dental procedures 🙁 My husband and I have spent a lot over the years.

    • Dental insurance is a scam. Everyone, including dentists, agrees with me on this. It’s terrible!

  13. My 5-year-old had Enamel hypoplasia from the beginning, which made all of his molars very weak. We’ve been watching them, and he has had two cavities filled. The top upper back one was not done properly as he wiggled in the chair and a year and a half later is has partially crumbled. They just did part 1 one of a root canal and are putting a crown over it. His molars are mostly brown. He’s not a fan of the dentist, and my husband does not want to put him under. He eats a fairly good diet, and at one point I introduced cod liver oil, but no butter oil. The rest of his teeth are perfectly healthy. I’m wondering the impact on children since his molars will eventually fall out. I’ve spent so much time trying to figure out the right cod liver oil (GP or Corganic, along with a butter or emu oil) in the light of all the information and the amount to give him.

    • My son had a hole in one of his canine teeth despite the fact that I was brushing his teeth twice a day, he was eating a paleo diet and never eating candy or juice. The dentist said it was a cavity and told me it should be filled. They told me that he had weak teeth too. I gave my son 1/2 teaspoon a day of Green Pasture’s Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil Royal Blend. I brought him back to the dentist 2 months later and found out that the cavity had been arrested, which means it was stopped! Another month later and the hole has filled in and is no longer brown on top. I would have never believed it if I had not seen it with my own eyes. I highly recommend the Green Pastures brand FCLO/Butter Oil blend.

  14. There are other ways to end with a root canal besides poor hygiene. My son was 8 when he smacked his teeth on the playground at school and broke his front tooth in half. The dentist tried to save it by putting on a fake bottom half, but the nerve was exposed enough the tooth died. They did a root canal, which was the most horrifying experience for my son. It was by far more painful than hitting his tooth and the nerve being slightly exposed. Now the top half of his tooth is black and he gets made fun of at school. I struggle with what to do because he is now 10 and will need braces in a couple years….

    • He will most likely need an implant and will not be able to get metal braces with an implant. I had to get my front tooth pulled. I have this fake tooth filling the space until I’m able to replace with the implant, but I’ve been told that I will have to have an Invisalign vs metal braces, because implants can’t be moved and wire braces require shifted to align the teeth. I’m looking for other opinions however because Invisalign is more costly.

  15. I have been dealing with a tooth infection for the past 5 months. It all started when i had 4 of my amalgam teeth changed. I was in a conventional dentist office so i believe it wasn’t done properly. Since October, i developed abscess on my gum. There is no pain but abscess has been there for 5 months now. I went to see the dentist and was told to have a root canal done. I outright refused it and embarked on this ‘natural remedies’ journey. I had cured one tooth infection using natural remedies in the past, even though the dentist told me i had to have a root canal done. I didn’t and cured myself in 4 days. Anyway, with my current infection, I have tried everything under the sun. Combination of daily oil pulling, homemade tooth powder, vitamin C, cod liver oil, vitamin D, Chlorella, essential oil (clove, peppermint, eucalyptus and tea tree), salt water rinse, urine therapy, tea bags, drinking and applying french green clay, colon detox twice, pepper, eating pomegranate, drinking kefir, kadukai powder, acupuncture for 6 weeks, homeopathy medicine, no sugar, no dairy, no grains diet just to name a few. Some i have been doing religiously for 5 months some i try for 1 or 2 months/weeks. It seems like nothing worked. I eat a pretty healthy diet (vegetarian) and no a big fan of sugar. My immune system is also non existent at the moment and i have been sick and feeling emotional so often due to the tooth infection. I was hardly sick before. So after 5 months of battle, i decided to have a root canal done by a biological dentist. I feel gutted i have to go down this way but i refuse to have it pulled out which will require an implant or bridge. And i feel that i have to stop this tooth infection to have my health and life back.
    I would be happy to hear if anyone has some great suggestions that i could try before my procedure on 20 March.

    • You should find yourself a good naturopath doctor to figure out what is going on with you. They can recommend natural supplements to heal whatever they find wrong.

  16. Has anyone heard about a procedure called root classification in which they use a laser to clean the bacteria. Has anyone heard anything about this? Also, has anyone successful on healing an infected tooth?

    • The problem with lasers is that you are relying on another person, certified or not, and their mastery of that procedure. There are many horror stories about people being severely burned with lasers or causing other damage to the mouth – I myself would not let anyone with a laser near my body, let along my mouth.

      I used Clove Bud oil mixed in water several times a day (Rocky Mountain Oils are the ones you want to use – they have a excellent quality product and they are very reasonable).

    • A friend of my had a tooth the dentist recommended pulling or scraping and grafting due too infection eroding the bone; he used an oral irrigator then rinsed his mouth with salt water and applied colloidal silver using an oral syringe to get below the gum around the tooth morning and night; he also took suplements to supports bone and immune function; on his next check-up there was no longer a concern with the tooth.

  17. We have used horsetail root & also black walnut (both tinctures) to heal cavities, cracked teeth, injured teeth, & decay. I put a few drops onto the affected tooth & let it sit until it gets washed off by eating & drinking. My one DD had a hole to the ceter of her tooth that is now almost gone. A few drops of horsetail root tincture on the hole 2-3x a day.

    Another kiddo fell & broke one tooth & cracked another. Both of his were healed using black walnut. I have both tinctures on hand now & we use them any time someone has a sensitive tooth, cavity (with decay or not), etc. Fermented cod liver oil & buter oil never helped us, so I had all but lost hope until I read about those two amazing herbs.

    • Where do you buy these tinctures? Thank you!

    • Thanks! I use horsetail herb in smoothies and teas, but I will try applying the tincture directly to the teeth! And the Balck Walnut too. I have used that for a yeast infection, but never heard of using it on teeth. So glad to have some new options!!

  18. Thanks Katie for presenting this information in an easy to understand, yet well-researched format. This is a controversial topic indeed. I applaud you for taking it on!

  19. I have bought them at Vitacost, Amazon, PureFormulas, iHerb, etc. I use Dr Christopher’s Black Walnut (do NOT use green walnut). I use Nature’s Answer Horsetail. I was told by my natural pharmacist before that alcohol helps absorption when using herbs for systemic purposes. I am not sure if that would apply to healing teeth, but I use the ones w/alcohol in them. The NA Horestail is low alcohol & that’s only because that is all I could find. I think you can use any brand, but finding NON green walnut was challenging & also without wormwood in it. Dr Christopher’s is the only plain black walnut w/out other herbs I found.

    • Elizabeth, thank you very much for this super useful information. I will order those tinctures and use them. I wanted to ask – how did you find out about them helping heal/clean cavities in teeth? I knew they were helpful for other things but wouldn’t have thought about using them for cavities.

  20. Thank you for a well timed post. I recently had a tooth extracted due to external resorption and nerve damage. It has been an emotional journey to lose a tooth and I was second guessing my decision to extract over root canal. Now I believe I’ve made the correct choice. I do have two other root canals done many years ago and will monitor my health for future issues. I am also interested in reviewing the research you quoted to check the control data. For instance, if a patient had diabetes, would the rabbit get diabetes from a healthy tooth also? Or did they only write about the root canal implant results?

  21. My 8 year old daughter had trauma to her front tooth. We went to a specialist who did a specific x-ray and saw that her nerve was dead and that her tooth was infected. He recommended a root canal and we did it. This article makes me upset because sometimes we are put in a position where we just want to do what’s right for our children. I would never have wanted my daughter to have a root canal. Her tooth is now vulnerable but I can’t go back and change what happened. What are the chances that I would see this article today? Not great timing since she had her root canal a couple of days ago.

  22. It is nice to see Dr. Weston Price being appreciated.

  23. SAVED myself from having to get a root canal! I am a certified organic farmer. Here’s what I tried, and it worked! The dentist said I needed a root canal almost two years ago. Being a farmer, I don’t have medical insurance. While I believe their is a time and place for conventional medicine. I also believe it is best to try natural approaches. And, this was so easy! I got goldenseal extract at the local health store. Used the herb pharm brand. Anyways, I filled the dropper full. Put a qtip right against the bottom of that tooth. It was a top molar. And I just doused the whole tooth and gum area with goldenseal. Then repeat. After I would take the tip that was wet from the dousing and rub it over the gum area. Then repeat. Then I would get a washcloth and wipe the fronts of my other teeth because the goldenseal is yellow. Did this twice a day for a few days! Problem gone!!!! One recommendation…. Take some good probiotics. Goldenseal is an awesome antibiotic. So, IMO, it makes sense to add some good bacteria back into your system. One thing else I started doing is taking cod liver oil once a day. I tried the green pastures. Yuk. So, I just take the carlsons bubble gum flavor that I give to my kids. We don’t take a ton of supplements. A multi, clo, and fiber if needed. And, if I feel there is anything with my body I need to address, I use herb pharm extracts. Mixed with lemonade! Omigosh, the cold lemonade makes anything drinkable! Lol! Hope this helps someone…..

    • Thank you, Rebecca! This helps a ton!

    • I’m glad you posted this comment! I’m at the point where I will try ANYTHING to avoid a root canal. I’ve recently gotten my top right molars filled in and I have to go back to get my bottom right, top left, and bottom left filled in too! They seem to have already messed up one tooth they filled, It feels like they shaved the side of the tooth and there is now a bigger gap between that tooth and the one next to it. I’m definitely going to write down your comment and look for these items! Also, after you had done this, did you go back to the dentist and them tell you that you didn’t need one? Or was it self-diagnosis?

      • 20 readers ago I was advised to have root canals on 2 molars; both times and also later when the towns were replaced; I declined the root canal and have NEVER had a problem with either tooth. I had anther tooth that had a deep cavity with the nerve exposed that a root canal was recommended; I elected to just have the tooth filled and it has not had an issue in 2 years. I haves niece that developed MGravis shortly after a root canal.

    • Wonderful post!!

  24. I’m having this dilemma right now. Dentist I’ve been going to for years recently said I need 2 root canals on my front teeth. He said I must’ve hit my mouth as a child which I don’t remember doing. Asked him why he never saw it before after all these years & he didn’t know. Anyway I’m going to see a holistic dentist next week. I’m already considering having it pulled but not sure how that’ll work with my front teeth. Ugghh I’ve always have great teeth.

    • If your teeth feel and look fine, why not just leave them as they are? Hopefully your second opinion will shed some light on this. Maybe he mixed up your x-rays or something.

  25. What confuses me about all the research (and I’ve read a lot) is it all rests on the studies done by Dr Weston A Price — and he died in 1948. Isn’t it logical to assume that we have better methods of cleaning teeth during a root canal now than we did back when his studies were done?

    Would love to hear thoughts, as i have a wicked sore tooth and I’ve been reading everything I can before going to the dentist this week.

    • I may be jaded but I think Dentists and Doctors care more about revenue than they do anything else. Just because we have newer methods does not necessarily correlate that they are better. Case in point – I had scaling done twice – $4k I spent and it actually weakened my teeth and spread more bacteria in my mouth and I began to lose teeth. I’ve lost six teeth.

    • Dr Prices work never confuses me! I am proof that you can remineralize your teeth with
      His protocols!!! What confuses me is all the upselling that dentists do ,less about healing patients and more about making your dentist rich!

  26. “25% of the teeth Dr. Haley studied contained a toxin stronger than the strongest toxin known to humans…” This statement contradicts itself, unless Dr. Haley is not human. And how could he know it was stronger without testing it and doing a proper double blind on it?

  27. Hello, I love that Wellness Mama provides amazing alternative and holistic options for health promotion and health maintenance. I do have a concern with this root canal article. My concern lies in the sharing of ‘part of the story’ which readers may view as the ‘full story’.

    Root Canal Therapy (RCT) is a standard recommended treatment for a tooth when the pulpal tissues experience necrosis (tissue death), or experience chronic and irreversible inflammation. (Pulpal tissues include blood vessels, nerve fibers, and stuff, and are located in the spaces of the root canal and pulp chamber.) The RCT removes the necrosed tissues and the associated infection. The chambers are then disinfected, and the vacant spaces are filled with manmade materials…

    ‘Reader Comments’ from a couple viewers indicate that pulpal problems can occur from causes not related to large and deep carious lesions (decay). The implications by those readers are accurate. Large cavities extending to the pulp chamber may be a major cause for pulp problems, but it IS possible (and not rare) to experience pulpal necrosis on a tooth that has never developed a cavity.

    Is it possible to revise the statement leading readers to the assumption that the diagnosed need for a RCT is the result of ONLY decay that extends to deeper structures. Or once written, is the content set in stone and no longer available for editing.

    Thanks for your continuing support of our health.

  28. I had to have a cap replaced because there was pain and the cap had cracked. The pain persisted even after replacement. Then a big bulge on the side of my gums several months later above that same tooth and more extreme pain. I knew that it had abscessed. I also knew that they would want to do a root canal. I am an aromatherapist and decided to do my own self care. I researched the safest antibacterial essential oils for the mouth. I began an every two hour round of drop of oil on a Q-tip, placed inside the mouth, held for 5 minutes or longer, above the tooth between the gum line and mouth, rotating with several oils with a carrier oil for skin protection. This instantly numbed and gave relief. I continued until I only needed to do this twice a day. Then finally the place healed and I have had no more problems. I was willing to experiment on myself as I have studied many years and am certified in this area of natural healing. Sometimes people have a decayed tooth and must get that fixed! In my case, I felt that there must have been some irritation or even bacteria that wasn’t killed and began to grow. I was willing to put my knowledge to action and it worked for me.

    • Could you further explain? Including the oils used and amounts? I’m very interested

  29. I wish there was an alternative. I lost 2 front upper teeth after jaw surgery, and got root canals. Then a 3rd got completely infected from the inside out (giant hole in the center of the canine), after grinding for a veneer, and I had a third root canal. I have one more in front that hurts fairly often and probably needs one. Seems my front and eye teeth have super long roots and never recovered from the jaw surgery. But what is the alternative? Dentures on the top front 6 teeths aren’t a great option; I’m only 50 and once the teeth are pulled the jaw bone and gums starts to shrink. So that’s not a good option. The only option is implants, and people say those are just as bad as root canals.

    • There are now non-metal implants. I know implants are expensive though, but if you are interested in that option at some point, there are non-metal ones, I think they are zirconium.

      • Right, but some people still say they are not healthy. For example Weston Price.

  30. I had 5 root canals over the years..I had no idea that they were contributing to why I never felt good. 4 of them were on the right side. In 2005 had a diagnosis of papillary carcinoma on the right side of my thyroid.(interesting 4 root canals on the right side of mouth). Doctors wanted to remove my thyroid I said no thank you & walked away from traditional treatment. Which sent me on a health journey…still didn’t connect to root canals… 2 years ago one of the root canals with a crown split couldn’t be saved an implant was 5000 and not covered by insurance. I went to two so called biological dentist who said root canals are safe and wanted about 10,000 to repair & put crowns on the root canals that thankfully did not crown,, not all biological dentist practice equally. Then I heard a podcast about root canals and cancer read the book Am I Dead & helped me make the decision to have my root canals removed. I chose to have a partial as implants can still create infection.8 months after removing root canals my nodule is almost gone. I wish when I was younger I would have known that many times dental problems are an imbalance of the calcium phosphorous ratio in the body. Life is,a journey things come to us when we are ready.

  31. I had a filling that dislodged and then cracked that tooth when I was 14. It “required” a root canal. The dentist seemed like he was doing a terrible job and took multiple visits to clean the area for which I ended up with low grade infections a couple of times. I was an athletic and pretty healthy teen but in my mid- 20s was diagnosed diabetic (t2), nearly overnight and developed issues with high blood pressure. I have a few considerations as to why that might have happened, maybe just the perfect storm. This is just more food for thought.

  32. Thanks for the informative article on root canals. My dentist is always researching for the best of the best. He has recently taken classes and has bought an oxygen machine that totally eliminates any bad bacteria in the mouth, mainly root canals. He says that by inserting the oxygen into the area of concern it takes care of any kind of germs or bacteria that might occur during or after a procedure. I think it is the most advanced situation for eliminating future problems. You might want to check it out.

  33. I have trigeminal neuralgia which mimicks tooth pain. I had two infected root canal teeth and I had been complaining about them for years to my dentist who did nothing and then I went to an oral surgeon thanks to much prayer. God brought me to a oral surgeon who has trigeminal and understands my pain. One of my root canals was totally black underneath and the other had a shadow and still another tooth that was not a root canal needed to be pulled because the root was infected. I was totally bedridden for two weeks and now I am back to doing what I am limited to due to my trigeminal neuralgia. I had such body odor and I developed a bad sinus infection. I had all three of them pulled and I am so thankful to God that he brought me to somebody who would listen to me. I will NEVER get another root canal again if I need it. Thanks for posting this and letting others know.

  34. When I was 17 years old, I had a root canal performed on one of my front teeth. Many years later, one of my dentists saw an infection at this site, and he recommended further cleaning this area. I remember how bad it smelled during the procedure, and he explained this was due to the infection that remained. I should mention that I did not have any trouble with the tooth and would not have known that an infection persisted in the area over the years. Fifteen years later, I became aware of the dangers of root canals. I visited a couple of endodontists who recommended that I leave the tooth alone. Both felt the tooth was properly sealed, and I wasn’t having any trouble. Still, neither one could tell me whether I had an ongoing infection, and I didn’t feel comfortable in leaving the tooth and watching for concerns later down the road. I decided to get a thermogram of the head, face, and neck. It showed red light or increased heat above my root canal in the area of my right cheek that radiated down the right side of my neck. The radiologist wrote in his report that he recommended I address the issue. That was all I needed to know to make my decision to have my tooth extracted. It has been four years since my implant, and I found the experience to be positive. Katy, what you didn’t mention in your article is that there is an option for a ceramic implant in addition to the metal implant. The difference in the two is that the metal implant is made of titanium and can be placed in one’s mouth the day the tooth is removed whereas the Zirconium or ceramic implant requires one to wear a flipper for approximately a year until the bone heals. A flipper is a retainer with a false tooth that fills the gap where the extracted tooth took place. Since I did not want metal in my body, I choose the ceramic implant. My overall experience was positive. The cap over my implant looks natural and matches my tooth on the other side of my mouth, and I have had absolutely no issues. My husband had to have his root canal replaced since his tooth broke, and he decided on the ceramic implant as well. Again, he has had no issues. I would recommend a ceramic implant over a metal implant and definitely over a root canal. Make sure you choose your dentist and endodontist wisely (visit several) to ensure the procedure goes smoothly and that your new tooth looks natural.

  35. I had a crown in August of 2015. My tooth has not been the same since. Adjusted by that dentist 4x, another dentist 2x and a steroid (which helped when I was on it, but once done, pain came back). I feared a root canal and gladly didn’t need one. This article is helpful as I now know, the substances and ways they treat our mouths is not working – at least not for everyone.
    I wished I wouldn’t have done anything with the tooth – there was no pain before and I took their advice “it might crack”. I’ll wait for a tooth to crack and then get a tooth implant if necessary.
    Thanks Wellness Mama for sharing….I am still trying to get used to the coconut oil mouth-swishing for better oral health. 🙂

  36. I have at least 10 root canal as in my mouth. I have always had rotten teeth and now that I eat almost everything organic and have eliminated much sugar from my diet, sadly, I still needed another root canal. I read somewhere that said that if a woman has bad teeth, then it has something to do with the mother who lacked the proper nourishment while she was a child, and there is really nothing that can be done to remedy that. I don’t know how true that is, but, I do have several root canals, and so far, I don’t seem to be having any problems from them. I am studying this whole issue though and am taking it seriously. A while back, I mentioned this to my dental hygienist, and she didn’t agree at all with it (not surprised). Time will tell if something will go wrong in my health because of the root canals. I do try to use a special toothbrush and even oils on my teeth. Hopefully, all that will help from some of the danger that could come.

    • I would LOVE to know where you read that! So many of my friends have the same story as I do: I never brushed my teeth as a kid, I didn’t have cavities for the longest time, but my diet was garbage. Now I’ve got kids, I’m far more careful about their diets, and all their teeth are horrid! We’ve had SO much work done on them all. I keep wondering if it’s not about their diets but more about the diet I had growing up — like I didn’t have enough minerals stored up in my body to give my own kids strong teeth. So excited to see that someone else had the same question…

      • Teeth represent your overall health. Tooth decay can be genetic also. So if you’re having tooth troubles, you know you’re having health issues. It’s a scary thing to think about!

        • My grandfather was 28 when he had to have all his teeth removed. My mom had hers removed when she was about 38. Both my mom and her dad had rotten teeth. I inherited the rotten teeth as well. When I was 8, I had to have 8 teeth removed because they were rotten. I wish there were some remedy for this. I take good care of my teeth now, and I’m sure it helps, but it doesn’t prevent them completely from being prone to rotting.

  37. I recently had a wisdom tooth chip off and become infected. I used essential oils and a sea salt water rinse to heal the tooth and get rid of the infection. Then I altered my diet with vitamin D, whole milk, raw cheeses, liver and bone broth to remineralize the tooth. I haven’t had any problems.

  38. I can say that as of 24 years ago we did NOT have any better methods. I had a root canal because I was told I needed one… the tooth didn’t even hurt, but I didn’t know any better then & had one done. As of 10 years ago it has been shown on x-rays that I have an infection in the form of a pus filled boil/pimple in my jaw where the root canal was done. I was told that it is IMPOSSIBLE to sterilize the tooth during a root canal & that BAD BACTERIA is ALWAYS left behind.

    My dentists recently have also confirmed that is STILL the case as of a year ago… that I have the pus in my jaw & that they STILL don’t have a way to kill all of the bacteria in the mouth for a root canal… they said it is IMPOSSIBLE. I have been advised to just leave it alone unless I start to have pain, infection, abscess, etc. I would like to have it taken out but the only dentists here who do such thing would about $1500 PLUS I would need a fake tooth, etc. and we just can’t afford such a huge expense right now, especially for a tooth that is not even seemingly causing any issues. I say “seemingly” because I am not ignorant to the fact that we can have health issues we don’t even realize are issues and/or what their cause is. I hope that one day there is a SAFE & AFFORDABLE alternative to deal w/a root canal that has already been done, & a way to avoid them all together.

  39. Two other huge contributors for dental decay we have found out about are FOOD allergies (which cause absorption issues) and/or an ileocecal valve that is stuck open & closed and can cause malnutrition (think of the people you see w/dark rings / circles under their eyes.. many have ICV issues & food allergies & they do NOT absorb their food / nutrition properly).

    Neither food allergies nor ICV issues will always causze symptoms that are so specific that they can’t be attributed to something else. So for someone who thinks they are addressing all issues / or causes of health/ dental issues (like eating organic, low sugar, etc.) might not make a dent in the situation because of another underlying issue going on. You may have other issues, like ICV issues or allergies that are an ongoing contributor to the issue.

    We had a kiddo who had decay issues due to enamel hypoplasia when ehr teeth erupted through the gums as a baby. The teeth were fixed & we realized several years later there were food allergies. Addressed the issues w/the allergies but only recently discovered ileocecal valve issues. FINALLY after addressing the ICV issues her teeth are doing better NOW that she is ABSORBING her nutrition! We tied butter oil w/fermented cod liver oil, all kinds of diet modifications, no sugar, etc. & the teeth would not heal. I was SOO disappointed & devastated. Her body couldn’t heal until she could properly absorb her nutrition.

    I have learned the symptoms of a stuck open ICV & I know how to close the valve by rubbing pressure points now. I use the techniques on all of my kiddos & myself. Works like a charm! Have a belly ache? I rub the belly to see if the valve is acting up, which is revealed by a tender belly. Then I rub the points & no more belly ache.

  40. Can you still do oil pulling with a metal implant?

  41. I wish I had some magic words & could turn back the hands of time for your daughter & your devastated heart over your daughter’s root canal. I completely understand & my best words of encouragement are that the solace I find comes from knowing I did the BEST I possibly could have with what I knew AT THAT TIME! There are times we just don’t have the opportunity to scour the internet & we do what we think is best at that time.

    You had a dental professional you obviously trusted who told you your daughter needed a procedure for an INFECTED tooth. Had you refused it you would probably have looked like a paranoid parent to the dentist & staff, and maybe that would not have bothered you, but I have been on the other spectrum of refusing things when I wanted time to research, & it was an equally bad place to be as making a decision off the cuff. I have had dentists or doctors imply I was NUTS & that I had no clue what I was talking about. I have had to find new doctors & dentists because of it. I don’t have to see 100% w/a medical professional, though I would absolutely LOVE to, but I DO require RESPECT & DIGNITY. If they can’t give me & my children those two things, I am outta there.

    I have BTDT & would redo some things over without a doubt, but since I can’t redo everything I have to know that I made the best decision I could at that time, with what I knew THEN, & I pray for the situation that God would protect my child & give me peace. I pray for God’s peace & protection for you & your daughter as well!

  42. Interesting timing, Katie! I have just completed the process of extracting 8 root canals over the past 6 months. In late 2014, I had my first thermogram indicating several hot spots, leading me to work with Dr Veronique Desaulniers after a positive Oncoblot test – very early breast cancer without lumps or bumps! I finally found a biologic dentist and have gone through intravenous Vitamin C infusions pre and post-op, ozone therapy, ongoing detox procedures, etc to combat the likely cause of this cancer. Interestingly, I had no symptoms of what the cone-beam cat scan of my mouth diagnosed – every root canal was reabscessed and I even had bone erosion near the nasal bones from infection!! I have opted for partial plates at this time. Along with all the changes made under Dr V’s supervision, I hope to heal the cancer (or control it as in a chronic disease), and look forward to watching the improvement in general health and immune system function.
    Root canals are always infected – no amount of cleaning reaches the bacteria in the tubules. It is reassuring to see that the public is becoming aware of the controversy and electing safer treatment. I, personally, am delighted to be root-canal free!!

  43. You are VERY WELCOME :)!

    I know for sure I read about black walnut in Rachel Weaver’s book “Be Your Own Doctor”. I think I read about horsetail in her book too after I had read about black walnut & had used BW to save two of my son’s teeth. I vaguely recall reading her book after I hurriedly used the BW out of desperation, wondering if she had any other remedies for another kiddo’s tooth to use along with or in place of the black walnut.

    For another of my kiddos, horsetail seemed to work faster for her than black walnut & I am not sure if that was actually the case or not or if because her cavity was much smaller than a tooth broken in half we used the black walnut on or if it did heal that much faster?! I do know that horsetail is VERY HIGH in silica & that heals teeth & bones rapidly, so that may be the reason.

    The broken tooth we used walnut on did end up needing to be repaired so my kiddo could eat properly & not completely mess up his bite because half of his tooth was missing & it was a molar, so it would have taken a long time for half of his tooth to grow back, but there was ZERO decay on the tooth after using black walnut & a tooth he injured that had turned GRAY was almost white again. Actually there were his 4 front teeth he injured & only one showed trauma after using the walnut for 5 days. Then w/in two weeks of continuing to use the black walnut that tooth was so much better too. He stopped CRYING when I brushed his teeth after too & the xray during his exam showed his teeth were NOT cracked or damaged!

    We have to do a double take of his injured tooth to see if it really is the same tooth that was gray & is now almost white again… it is just a shade or two darker than his other teeth. It is AMAZING! My daughter’s tooth that we have been healing w/horsetail (we use walnut here & there… a drop or two) had a HOLE TO THE CENTER of her tooth!! It hurt & we could see the INSIDE OF HER TOOTH, but she was sick & we knew there was NO WAY she could tolerate a dentist working in her mouth, so I got the horsetail & we started using that.

    All that is left now is the tiniest little indent in her tooth the size of a toothpick tip. She has had a stomach bug a couple of times & couldn’t use the horsetail for a while because it does have a fairly strong taste, which she could not tolerate when sick/ nauseous. I have no doubt her tooth would be perfectly healed & 100% smooth again had she been able to keep the horsetail on her tooth. I thought FOR SURE we would have to get it filled with the hole going clear to the center of the tooth, but we didn’t. 3 days after using the horsetail it didn’t hurt anymore. I told her the whole time that even if she ended up needing to get it filled, that they would need to remove far less of her healthy tooth tissue to fix it because it was getting smaller & smaller.

    I am actually ordering more of both black walnut & horesetail. I keep them on hand now. Any mouth injuries = black walnut and /or horsetail to the affected teeth for a good 3-5 days.

    Another of my kiddos injured the same four front teeth as my other kiddo… the little one even chipped one of his front teeth. He has ZERO discoloration to the tooth even though he hit it on a fireplace (he bypassed the safety pads.. go figure!!) & I attribute that to starting the black walnut within 2 minutes of him hitting his mouth. GREAT stuff!!

  44. Regarding reminerilization, after using Earthpaste for 6 months, I happened to notice that the tiny horizontal lines on my 47 yo teeth were nearly gone and that smooth mmm feeling after brushing was back. I had not even noticed that I did not have super-smooth teeth until after the Earthpaste. But sometime it is a little too non-sudsy for me, so I do half and half. Right now, I am also using Closys toothpaste and moothwash. It uses chlorine dioxide, which is one of very few disinfectants that penetrates the biofilm that bacteria use to protect themselves, even from bleach!. My 10 yo sons’ breathe smells much better and his eczema is going away (although that may also have to do with the flax oil capsules he is taking.

  45. I’m not sure where you are located, but in Louisville, KY we consulted with both U of L school of dentistry and another orthodontist who both provided invisilign for the same or within about $200 total of traditional braces. This was in January 2017. Some people’s teeth or corrective needs respond better to invisilign than others (my daughter’s issues are better corrected with traditional braces).

  46. I have had one root canal, and will never have another. After 5 years my gum swelled up and became infected. At this time I had knowledge of Ozone treatment and was going to do that to clean it out. I wish I had know about it at the time of my initial root canal, as it might of been beneficial. When my dentist looked at it, the root was split, so I had it pulled. My son has trouble with cavities and has had Ozone treatment done on his fillings, so far so good. Could you do an article on Ozone Katie?
    Also on the implants, I personally believe if you have infection issues you should NOT get implants. My sister inlaw has lots of teeth issues with inflammation and decay and got implants and has had so many ongoing issues. Plus your putting a foreign metal into your bone, I just don’t see how it can be good.

  47. What about simple pulpectomy as an alternative? I had a prof. of endodontal surgery at the U. of Ill. do a couple for me 40 yrs. ago. Simple pulpectomy had been an accepted procedure for baby teeth, but not permanent ones. However, this prof. (whose name I don’t recall) pointed to research showing outcomes in adults were nearly as good for pulpectomy as for a full root canal job, and he expected pulpectomy to eventually become standard. However, it didn’t catch on. Every dentist I’ve had since then has marveled at how those non-vital teeth have never caused a problem in me.

    • Robert, I thought a pulpectomy was the same thing as a root canal, no?

      • Maybe I should’ve called it pulpotomy rather than pulpectomy. Whatever, the pulp is removed without getting into the nerve roots. The tooth is left non-vital.

        • Robert, thank you!

  48. I’ve had two root canals, both of which got me out of extreme pain. One of those failed (the tip of the file broke off during the original procedure and everything festered for ten years) and I had an Apicoectomy after half my face swelled up to about twice its normal size.
    If I ever need another one (which I hopefully won’t because my diet is different now), I would just get an extraction and a denture. I read a comment once where the person said he had an extraction and a denture that he only wore at night. This kept the teeth from moving but didn’t cause any wear because he wasn’t chewing on it. I think I’d do that.

  49. I’ve had 2 1/2 root canals with nary a problem. The half was their cleaning out the root and topping with a crown. My first R.C. was done in 1980, the 1/2 in 1982, and the second was done in 2007. While I understand the importance of sharing the information of possible problems the fact that many of us never have issues with them should be shared, too.

  50. Thank so much for all your informative information. I would like to share my experience with you as it may help someone. I had 5 root canals (some done unnecessarily due to seeing a bad dentist) and a lot of other teeth were filled with the old amalgam fillings. I I was always feeling tired & run down with lots of digestive problems, various aches & pains & inflammation. I visited a biological dentist who follows the Weston Price protocol & had all the mercury fillings removed in a safe manner & all the root canals removed. It was a really big decision having all those teeth removed but it hasn’t affected me. Only two of the extracted teeth were in my upper smile line so I now have a partial denture for that area. At the same time as the dental work, I did the recommended detox & removed all processed food, gluten & dairy from my diet. I don’t know what it was (whether it was dental work, diet or a combination of these) but whatever it was, I haven’t looked back. My health dramatically improved. The aches & pains stopped almost immediately, no psoriasis. So worth it!! I definitely wouldn’t go with an implant. It is a foreign material that is inside your body & I believe that can cause further health issues.

  51. Oh man! That’s terrible! If you can, find a DIFFERENT dentist… trust me.. if you know they did a crappy job don’t go back. I wish I had known what a terrible dentist we had before I found out he had CAUSED tons of problems that he was supposed to be preventing. He had awards, magazine articles, & recommendations up the wazoo… so I ignored that nagging feeling that maybe he wasn’t all he was made out to be… & I was proven right when I found a new dentist & he told me flat out that the other guy was HORRIBLE when he saw the damage he did to some of mine & my family member’s teeth. I was so upset & had to have teeth fixed that had been damaged by the other incompetent dentist. It was TERRIBLE & horribly upsetting. Lesson learned for sure! What a huge waste of time & money, but I was NOT going to back back & let him further damage our teeth. The work he did was so horrible & the proof was in the x-rays taken by new dentists. The old one should lose his license for what he did to us, but I had many traumatic family issues (sicknesses, deaths, moving, etc.) for 3 years straight & I just could not fight the fight. I hope you can find someone new before the other dentist causes you any more damage.

  52. I am going to get some of those toothpastes to try too! I feel like anything that can help is worth a try :).

  53. YW! I forgot to say that it can stain your teeth a bit, but we have found that applying it before eating & drinking (letting it sit for an hour or so.. sometimes we only have 2 minutes before we eat or drink… sometimes we remember w/more time to let it sit undisturbed) helps minimize that. I noticed that one of my kiddos has some staining but they have had some previous enamel issues & the others w/out enamel issues have not had staining. For me, I’d rather have stained teeth that decay & cavities, though I would prefer no staining, of course.

    I also bought horsetail in bulk to make tea.

    There is so much conflicting info out there about using horsetail, walnut, etc. for kids. One site says how FABULOUS & SAFE it is, & another makes you think they will be made sick from it. I talked to our doc & we agreed that a few drops on some teeth is FAR less than would be given in a parasite cleanse for them, yet the cleanse would be considered safe. So we use it as needed. They don’t down whole droppers full.. just a few drops, but there are times where I will give them a larger amount & have them swish it, like mouthwash. That said, we pretty much stick to the few drops on an affected tooth.

    I am off to order more horsetail, black walnut, & earthpaste now after reading about it here :). I was able to find Closys but am not going to try that too because it has SACCHARIN.

  54. I’m not sure if you realize it, but Closys contains saccharin which is very detrimental to health. You may be aware of that & may feel that the benefits outweigh the risks, but I figured I’d mention it JIC you weren’t aware it is in there.

  55. I’m at a loss of what I should do. I’m only 24 an have 6 crowns. had 7 two months ago but one broke off at the gumline and i still havent had the rest removed. I’m on medicaid and cant afford fancy dentists. I also now have a tooth hurting that already has 2 silver fillings in it (I have other silver fillings as well and Idk probably more root canals as well)… I don’t know what to do. I feel so hopeless considering the state of my mouth and how young I still am. I wish I knew all this stuff growing up, so sad what people do for money… I want to get all my silver fillings out but am too nervous to go to a regular dentist to do it but can’t afford a good one. I also have severe Dentist office anxiety, going there has caused panic attackes before. If anyone have any recomondations I would so appreciate them…

    • Ashley, when you said panic attacks I sat up straighter. They are so horrible!!! I’ve had them, not from the dentist, but I know how debilitating they can be.
      This is just a suggestion- I believe you can have dental work while on Medicaid and if you find someone you trust you could ask them for a mild sedative before they do any work in your mouth. Or even ask your family doctor for something for severe anxiety. Hope this helps. Good luck.

      • Thank you, I have taken things for my anxiety in the past but it always sucks going to the dentist. I just feel so hopeless that my teeth (my tool for eating for my entire life) are all in terrible shape and I’m only 24. I feel like my mouth is ugly. my four front upper teeth (my smiling teeth) are all crowns, except now there’s only 3 as that was one that broke off… 3 molars are crowns. I feel like I was given a crap shot at oral health. I can do every thing I can to keep what I have, but what I have makes me so nervous. What if my panic attacks are caused BY my root canals and silver fillings. I want them all out but If I did that probably half of my teeth would be gone. I need to get the remaining bit of tooth from the broken crown removed asap but my anxiety makes it very easy to keep putting it off. I just feel so depressed when it comes to my mouth, I’m not depressed in normal life, but whenever I think of the state of my mouth I just feel down. It’s hard to deal with. I know there are worse things in the world, I could be starving or homeless, but still. I just don’t know which road I should take. Remove half of my teeth permanently for the rest of my life or keep them and risk them causing who knows what. And if I choose to have them removed, go in debt so I can get it done properly without risking my health from some untrained dentist to do it? I live in a very rural area not very many dentists, and even less that take Medicaid. Not sure how to find a good one. Thank you for your kind words though I very much appreciate it. 🙂

        • Hi Ashley, It’s me again. I urge you to search the internet for a dentist in a larger area outside of your rural community. There are many reasons for this:
          Having compromised teeth can be harmful to your overall health as you age. You can suffer from digestive problems if you don’t have strong teeth to chew. I can understand feeling depressed. We all want our teeth to look nice and when they don’t we don’t feel as attractive as we could.
          My experience with panic attacks had nothing to do with my teeth but that’s just me. I don’t know you so I would never make assumptions.
          But I feel your frustration and sadness. Many years ago I had Medicaid and I went to a fantastic dentist in my local hospital. They had a dental clinic. I don’t remember what I had done but the dentist was top-notch.
          While you are researching I would ask friends or acquaintances you trust. There has to be someone who can help you. Healthy teeth are very important for your overall health. I wish you the best of luck!!!

  56. So, I have had only one cavity, at 42 years old. I had a painful gum not long ago and started doing research as I did not want to go to the Dr.’s office and need something that I was totally against. In doing research I found that making a paste of charcoal (for pulling), bentonite clay (for pulling), oregano oil (antibacterial properties), and cayenne (for bringing the blood to the surface) and then making a bead of it and putting it where it is hurting and sleeping with it overnight or as long as you can deal with it. My pain was gone it 2 days. My husband is a different story, as he needs a dentist, and he tried it and it has kept him out of the dentist’s chair!! Just thought that I would share, I hope this helps someone out there!!

  57. I don’t think root canal has a severe effect.

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