Root Canal: Dangerous or Just Misunderstood?

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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. I would suggest the same when considering wisdom tooth removal or any other surgical dental procedure.

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.)
  • Choose safe and effective dental products (like Wellnesse toothpaste!) to maintain good oral health

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

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Steven Lin, who is a Board accredited dentist trained at the University of Sydney. With a background in biomedical science, he is a passionate whole-health advocate, focusing on the link between nutrition and dental health. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or dentist.

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.
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

179 responses to “Root Canal: Dangerous or Just Misunderstood?”

  1. Darla Knutzen Avatar
    Darla Knutzen

    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?

  2. Elizabeth Avatar
    Elizabeth

    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.

    1. Rita Avatar

      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.

  3. Joli Avatar

    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!

  4. Elizabeth Avatar
    Elizabeth

    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.

    1. Stephanie Avatar
      Stephanie

      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!!

  5. Kristina Avatar
    Kristina

    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?

    1. Davilyn Eversz Avatar
      Davilyn Eversz

      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).

    2. Lin Avatar

      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.

  6. Huey Avatar

    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.

    1. Maria White Avatar
      Maria White

      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.

  7. Jessica G Avatar
    Jessica G

    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….

    1. LaTavia Green Avatar
      LaTavia Green

      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.

    2. Tanya Avatar

      Have you thought about a white veneer to cover it? Find a good cosmetic dentist that can help.

  8. Holly Avatar

    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.

    1. Alison Avatar

      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.

  9. Sue Avatar

    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.

    1. Kimberly Avatar
      Kimberly

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

  10. cathy Avatar

    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

  11. Elroy Avatar

    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.

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      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.

      1. joel Avatar

        Three years after this post, dentists are still doing root canals, thankfully. The science presented here is misleading, but not intentionally. Prices work was mostly correct, but not all of it, as always science is tainted by personal feelings. (Price lost his only child to an infected root canal, and it tainted his investigations) . At that time, antibiotics were not available, and the technology was understandably primitive. I am a dentist, and I wouldn’t do a root canal without antibiotics in many cases. (only were painful uncontrolled infections persist, unnecessary antibiotics are harmful on many levels). The link between bacteria, and cancer is the immune system, and root canals do not cause disease, however they do harbor natural bacteria that can become reactivated. We are symbiotic and we coexist with all types of bacterium, and other microbes, its part of our health and mother natures genius. Any natural microbiome can overgrow if the conditions are right. The link between dental disease, and cancer was discovered by Price, and published in 1939, but no one listened. Vitamin D deficiency, with a secondary vitamin K2 deficiency was, and still is to blame even today. Science without common sense is dangerous.

        1. Betty Grey Avatar
          Betty Grey

          I have been diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency from sever blood tests I had at the GPs. And several of my top teeth have come loose because of this. But all of the dentists I saw would not do it, they wanted me to have a Root Canal and A Crown which I did not want, because of this risks of this.
          Here in the UK a lot of dentists won’t take a tooth out even if it is hurting in agony, they do Root Canals which is standard practice here. I am 56 years old so that could also be why my teeth are failing. But I don’t have any decay or cracked teeth but they are coming loose due to bone reduction which 2 dentists I saw said I have.

          But they would not take the teeth out so I was forced to extract my teeth myself which I did at home using Benzocain numbing gel(Oralgel) and Dental Forceps which you can buy Online. I have extracted all of my top teeth except for my 4 top front ones in the course of 18 months. Because no dentists here would do it.
          First my left top Premolar came loose last year after the Dentist extracted the 1st Molar next to it. The dentists would not take it out so I did it myself. Then my 2nd Molar on the top right hand side came loose a few months later so I had to extract that myself for the same reason.

          I was all right for about 6 months them my other top teeth came loose and started hurting so I had to extract both the other Premolar and Canine Eye Top on my top left hand side. My other Premolar on my top right was also loose and hurting but I managed to fine a dentist to take it out and he did so.

          But then 8 weeks ago both my right Premolar and my other Canine Tooth on my Top right next to it came loose and was hurting so I had to take that out myself.
          I then only had my 4 top front teeth and my top left 1st molar left but unfortunantly that started to hurt and got worse. So I had to extract that one as well, which I did with the No 18 dental Forecps used for Maxilary Molars. {I now only have 4 teeth on my top jaw my 4 front ones and I will have to get dentures. But I won’t have implants because that means having your bones drilled and they put metal screws in your jaw, and there is NO WAY IN HELL am I going to let any dentist do that to me. So it will have to be the old fashioned Dentures that you put on your gums like they did in the 1970s.

          Sure I have lost nearley all of my top teeth but the alternative was to have a Root Canal which I did not want. Also some dentists have told me a loose tooth cannot be Root Canaled, so if that was the case they should have just taken it out like I wanted. I should not have had to extract my teeth myself.
          A lot of people say better to save the teeth,Yes ,Sure but if you can’t then I would rather have no teeth than have a RC and risk my heath and my life.
          Better to loose your teeth than loose your life.

          Betty.

          1. Michelle Avatar

            OMG Betty, that’s nuts to remove all your teeth like that.

            Couldn’t you just leave the UK & fly somewhere to get it done?

            You may have lost those other teeth b/c of how you pulled the first few.

            My teeth are also causing me problems & have for a few years. I’m trying to remineralize them & I do want to get ozone therapy, but thee’s no one around where I am to do that.

            I hope you are ok.

            Be well.

          2. Betty Grey Avatar
            Betty Grey

            Hi Michelle, yes it is possible that a lot of my top teeth came loose because I have had too many extractions in a short space of time. I had 3 teeth extracted in less than 6 months 2 of which I pulled myself. Then a few months after that 2 more came loose and hurt so I took those out. Then more came loose months after that so they had to come out, then 3 more of them 2 months ago.

            Now one of my bottom teeth is starting to come loose and hurt, it does not end. And I don’t know what’s causing it, I think it is as 2 of the dentists I saw said because of the bone reduction due to the Vitamin D deficiency. I am 56 years old and went through the Menopause 3 years ago so it could be that as well. Plus the many extractions I have has which could have also contributed to the done loss. As every time you have a tooth extracted you also loose some bone as the bone also gets lost with the tooth.

            If I had gone to another country there is no guarantee I would find a dentist there to do the extraction. They might not want to and I don’t want a Root Canal and a Crown. Even if they offered it to me free on the NHS I would not have it. As I know of the risks of this and they don’t always work anyway. To be honest the way things are going with my teeth it would be better if the dentists would just take them all out and replace them with dentures. Not implants dentures that I can just put on my gums and remove them at night.

            I will never have implants as I said before as that means having your jaws drilled and having screws in your jaw and I am not letting anyone do that to me. Also as my jaw bones are sensitive I think it would aggravate them. So it has to be dentures.

        2. Kate Avatar

          Well, since you make a living off of doing them, of course you would be thankful that they’re still being done.

      2. Anastasia Avatar

        The study involving a rabbit was conducted in 1920’s and was discredited by 1930’s

  12. Rachel Avatar

    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.

    1. Michelle Avatar

      Rachel – sorry to hear that.

      CFS is not the root cause of an issue, it’s just a symptom.

      You could have any of the following:

      1. Mold poisoning
      2. Lyme
      3. Mercury
      4. Aluminum

      Have you studied any of these?

      I hope you are feeling better, it’s been almost 3 years since you wrote this.

      1. Betty Grey Avatar
        Betty Grey

        Yes Michelle it is possible that because I have had a lot of extractions in a short space of time(5 top teeth out this year and the rest out last year) that it could have made my other teeth loose. As I have read and been told by dentists that every time you have a tooth out some of the bone also gets lost. So it could be that as well as the Vitamin d deficiency and bone reduction.

        I am not sure if I had have gone to see a dentist in another country that they would have taken those teeth out which was what I wanted. A lot of dentists like to save a tooth when they can. I don’t mind having a normal white filling but having a Root Canal sure scares me. As I am worried it may make things worse. I am 56 years old and I went through the Menopause 3 years ago so it could be my age and that why I am also loosing my teeth. I think I would be better off if the dentists would just extract the lot of my teeth and give me removable dentures. At least that’s what they used to do in the 70’s and I would rather have that than a Root Canal.
        Betty.

    2. Katie Avatar

      I realize this is two years later, but CFS is primarily caused by amino acid/mitochondrial deficiencies. A very low dose of L-Tyrosine may be very beneficial to you, with little side effects. A doctor who studies metabolic/mito disease may be of help to you!

  13. Annie Avatar

    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.

    1. Elroy Avatar

      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.

      1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

        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.

        1. Beck Brown Avatar
          Beck Brown

          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!

        2. Terry Avatar

          Hi Katie- your comment above — and much of this article — leaves me with two questions for you: 1) Do you really believe that all levels of government, researchers, and lawyers (especially lawyers!) would allow root canal treatments if there was any scientific evidence of them causing harm? And 2) regarding Dr. Price’s work from roughly 100 years ago . . . if 97% of patients with root canals had cancer, then maybe 98% of those patients also had dental cleanings, or drank coffee, or ate bread at some point in their lives, so does that mean that those things lead to cancer?”

          1. Steve Avatar

            You asked this question.

            ” Do you really believe that all levels of government, researchers, and lawyers (especially lawyers!) would allow root canal treatments if there was any scientific evidence of them causing harm? ”

            The answer to this question is YES!

            Nobody in government, or scumy lawyers are looking out for your health, or my health..

          2. Michelle Avatar

            sarcastic MUCH???

            Despite Price’s work from years ago, aren’t you reading how people felt better afterward???

            Or you just choose to ignore that part?

            While I didn’t heal, I had a SERIOUS infection after that root canal was pulled.

            Besides the health ramifications, we all lose tons of money due to the dentist RACKET!

            You are a statist that worships the state & you thnk that ALL gov’t people & lawyers love us LOL

            Time to wake UP Terry. YOu can’t bury your head in the sand your entire life now can you?

        3. Susan Nelson Avatar
          Susan Nelson

          The list is missing one more item – cancer. The current statistic is that 96-98% of women with breast cancer have root canals. And I am one of them. I had seven root canals removed and all seven were severely abscessed! I was asymptomatic, which is worse, meaning that toxins were floating body-wide and not causing the usual symptoms of pressure and pain. I have been on a healing journey for several years and doing well and I am passionate about teaching the absolute danger of root canals.

          1. Betty Grey Avatar
            Betty Grey

            I am too afraid to have a Root Canal. I have had a lot of problems with my teeth,they keep on coming loose. But no dentist would take them out so I had to extract my teeth myself. Most of my top teeth are gone, extracted by me and 2 other by different dentists. but every time I have a tooth extracted another one comes loose and hurts. I don’t want an RC and a Crown so I had to take them out myself.

            Now one of my bottom teeth the bottom Premolar came loose and has been giving me toothache for a months now. So I took that one out myself. This is the first time I have extracted a bottom tooth myself(the others I took out were all top teeth) and I was worried about this. As I know bottom teeth can be harder to get out. But I have a dental forceps and elevator kit which I bought online. And used the dental forceps to take it out. It was all over in 5 minutes I got the tooth out. It was the easiest extraction I have done and it was a bottom tooth.
            I don’t understand why my teeth keep on coming loose. I think I have a problem as it’s not normal for this to happen. But the only thing the dentists offer is a Root Canal which for one is very expensive and I don’t want this. I am in the UK and it’s standard practice here to do RC instead of extractions. And I will do anything to avoid a Root Canal even if it means loosing all my teeth to extraction.
            Betty.

          2. Betty Grey Avatar
            Betty Grey

            That’s exactly why I don’t ever want to have a Root Canal. I have since had to extract 2 more of my bottom teeth myself last week,both my bottom right 2nd Molar and the first Molar next to it. because they were causing me pain. Both of those teeth had white filings in them. No they were not RC just white fillings but those teeth have been sensitive ever since the dentist filled then 12 years ago. And the filings kept on breaking and had been refilled 3 times so there was more filling than tooth in my 2nd Molar and my first molar was filled because that tooth had broken at the side.

            But when I went to the dentists they said they would not take them out they would replace those fillings with Root Canals then crown them, which I did not want. So I had to take those teeth out myself which I did last week. But I used dental forceps and the elevators I have bought online. It hurt like hell when I did it as there was nothing to numb the pain. Only the Benzocain Gel(Oralgel) which only numbs the gum but not the teeth. So I felt it all. But I got both teeth out all in one roots and all. It is always more risky pulling a bottom tooth even more so a bottom molar that has been filled. Because there is always a risk that the crown of the tooth will break off leaving the roots or pieces of the tooth behind but thankfully that did not happen.

            But I did go to a dentist for a check up and X ray just to make sure but I did not tell the dentist I had extracted the tooth myself incase they would not see me. I told them I had them extracted at another dentist. The dentist I saw said everything is fine and there is no infection. I used a herbal tincture of Calendula mixed with Hyperciricum,Plantango and Saliva Officials(Red Sage) to stop the wounds getting infected.It still hurts after the extraction as I only did it a week ago and it was a major extraction, 2 big lower molars. But I am coming though it. And I cannot help wondering if those white fillings I had were effecting my heath,as I know white filings can leak after a time plus the materials that is in them.

            I have lot most of my top teeth to extraction,most of them done by me,because dentists here in the UK don’t like to do it. They want to do RC, but I still have some my bottom teeth except of the molars and one Premolar. So I can still eat although I will never be able to eat peppermint rock, nuts or boiled sweets but then they were probably what cased some of my teeth to crack in the first place so it’s not a bad thing not to eat them. Most food like toast and biscuits gets soft in the mouth anyway due to your saliva so I just chew with my gums. I probably do need to get dentures but I can’t at the moment until my extraction wounds in my gums heal up. Which normally takes about 3 months. I don’t like having to take my teeth out and I know the risks of doing it. But I have no choices because the dentists won’t.
            Betty.

      2. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

        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.

      3. Magda Avatar

        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.

      4. Ron Avatar

        I’ve had my 3 root canals for over 30 years now. And I would never go to a tooth-puller.
        A tooth-puller is not a real dentist. My dentist is my repairman, and he fixes the rust on my teeth like a mechanic. I’ve only had a minor touch up on a cavity on a tooth.
        My dentist told me while he was doing my root-canal that he could never figure why one of the most intense nerves in the human body would run through a tooth – poor design.

        So much fear-mongering going on in these articles. I agree with above who said If you are squeamish about a root-canal, then forget about implants.
        The canal is cleaned with hydrogen peroxide and the pulp gets drilled out, so yes, 99.99999999% of whatever is in there gets killed unless you have a bad dentist.

    2. Becky Tesch Avatar
      Becky Tesch

      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.

    3. Michelle Avatar

      Annie – Just to state something you may not know about, the entire industry is corrupt with fraud.

      I started hearing about this a few years back & I remembered an incident back in around 2007/8 where I took my son to a dentist that the gov’t was going to cover & he wanted to give my son 6 fillings.

      I was freaking out & I called my holistic dentist in another city.

      I had them send him the X-rays & he said he wouldn’t do a thing with them. They are so small they may not even be cavities & my son was too young to have THAT many cavities.

      I started to put 2 & 2 together a bit ago that these evil people do work on people’s moth just for the MONEY, NOT because it’s needed.

      Even a holistic dentist can be like that. I’ve come across 2 that were clearly ONLY in it for the money. One wanted to charge me $10k+

      I went into his office in a good mood & by the time he sat down to see me & started talking, I was stressed to the gills & the guy just walked out after I went to the washroom. Never said goodbye or even finished the exam.

      Then a few months ago I saw an investigative report about a dentist whistleblower (2 of them) re: a chain they were working for.

      The entire dentist chain was totally abusing these children. The story was sooo traumatizing to me I got very stressed by what they did to those kids & of course the parents being low income, they didn’t know any better.

      Be very very careful who you trust.

      The allopathic dentist I saw for years avoided giving my holistic dentist my file & this went on for 3 weeks. It was stressing my new dentist out.

      Once he finally got it, he said there were almost NO notes about what he had actually put into my teeth & this shocked my holistic dentist. And I thought the allopathic dentist was a nice guy.

  14. Cindy Avatar

    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.)

    1. Kimberly Avatar
      Kimberly

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

  15. Debbie Avatar

    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!

    1. Debbie Avatar

      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.

  16. angela Avatar

    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.

    1. Debbie Avatar

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

    2. Kimberly Avatar
      Kimberly

      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!

      1. Michelle Avatar

        Kim how are you feeling?

        I hope you are no longer taking toxic drugs.

        This is what happens with those drugs the drug dealers (I mean doctors) peddle.

        Which drug was it just out of curiosity?

        How are the teeth?

        Terrible what you’ve been thru.

  17. Stephanie Avatar
    Stephanie

    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.

    1. Tee Avatar

      Hi Stephanie. I’m in the same position as you. I had my LL7 (lower left 7/molar) treated with rct last year. After I had my 2 impacted wisdom teeth removed I had extreme pain in that tooth LL7 a hole was discovered at the side. I had to have an emergancy polpectomy and then a rct that took 2 visits. It’s been 1 yr since rct and it’s never felt right. It’s feels like a constant nagging irritation there even when I’m not eating. I floss , I brush it’s all the same…. seems to feel worse during my period. And my pcos symptoms, pms/fatigue and anxiety have all got worse in the last year which rarely bothered me til the rct.. Did you get yours removed or what did you do about it?

  18. Sharon Avatar

    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.

    1. Kimberly Avatar
      Kimberly

      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!

  19. victoria Avatar
    victoria

    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.

  20. Christie Avatar
    Christie

    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?

    1. Kimberly Avatar
      Kimberly

      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!

      1. Becky Tesch Avatar
        Becky Tesch

        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.

        1. Kimberly Avatar
          Kimberly

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

    2. Kimberly Avatar
      Kimberly

      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!

      1. Sorina Avatar

        My story with root canals
        Last year some part of my tooth had to be reconstructed. Done, then it started to hurt so I visited a different dentist and he performed a root canal on me without explaining and without my approval. I searched afterwards about this procedure. I had my root canal re-done by an endodontist and it was still bothersome. 1st dentist left tooth decay and didn’t clean all canals so I hoped that with a specialised endodontist things will be different. NOT
        Had a different molar with a decay it reached the nerve and another dentist started doing a root canal AGAIN WITHOUT TELLING ME, I stopped and asked for alternatives. I visited another endodontist with great reputation and he did a root canal on this 2nd tooth. BUT IT STILL DIDN’T WORK. Now I had 2 teeth with root canals, one on each side of the mouth, both giving me trouble. During fillings one of the dentists I visited also performed a root canal on my small tooth again without telling me that he will perform this procedure. Had 2 molars removed as of now, will have my small tooth removed soon, I hate dentists so much, they just don’t care about the pain of the patient, they think that because the root canal looks great on the radiography, then everything is fine.

        When I visit a dentist I always make it known I will refuse root canal.

    3. Susan Avatar

      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.

      1. Sue Avatar

        Susan, that is so interesting! I use Magnesium oil all the time on my body but never heard of using it the way you did.
        It helps me sleep and is a great way to get magnesium into the body. Thanks for sharing.

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