One of the most rewarding things about providing biological dental care is knowing that it can quite literally change people’s lives. Here’s one recent patient’s story:

And here’s another:

Boise Caring Dentistry patient review

It’s beautiful to see patients experiencing restored health and vitality in this way – and we’re grateful to each and every one who takes a moment to share their experience with others through testimonials like these.

What Is a Root Canal & How Is It Done?

While both patients above had health problems that were being aggravated by lingering infection in teeth that had undergone root canal treatment, it’s important to recognize that there are times when a root canal may be the “least worst option” for dealing with a deeply decayed or damaged tooth.

The basic procedure is fairly straightforward. First, all living tissue is removed from inside the tooth. The empty pulp chamber and canals that connect the tooth to your blood supply are then disinfected and packed with a rubbery material called gutta percha. A restoration is placed on top.

You can even find some biological dentists who do what they’ll call “biological root canals,” typically using things like ozone, lasers, and a gutta percha alternative called EndoCal10. Yet over time, the tooth can still become a focus of infection, hidden below the exterior structure of the tooth and its restoration.

Bear in mind that the infection shown is more than just bacteria. It also includes the highly toxic metabolic waste generated by those microbes and pus, which is a byproduct of the immune system’s fight against the infection. All this can and often does enter the general circulation, free to wreak havoc elsewhere in the body.

Root canal teeth can create an additional burden, as well. Because all living tissue has been removed from the tooth, you’re now left with a dead tooth effectively blocking the meridian – the energetic pathway – it shares with other organs throughout the body. Any of those shared organs or tissues can be impacted by this blockage, as well.

How & Why Root Canal Teeth Can Become a Problem

Infection can linger in a root canal tooth because total disinfection is all but impossible with the usual techniques.

illustration of various tooth root configurations

Examples of tooth root anatomies

For one, a tooth’s root system is seldom as simple as shown in a standard diagram, which shows only one to three large, well-defined canals. The canals in an actual tooth are more like the root system of a plant, with accessory canals branching off and even entwining with each other. These are not easily accessible.

What’s more, the surrounding tissue – the dentin – is made of miles of microscopic tubules that are just as inaccessible to an endodontist’s tools and cleaning fluids. (An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in root canals.) Those tubules are another great place for bacteria and other pathogens to hide out.

Once the root canal tooth has been filled and capped, any remaining pathogens are free to proliferate. Over time, they generate highly toxic byproducts such as thioethers and mercaptans. These toxins have the potential to harm mitochondria, the structures within your cells that generate energy in the form of ATP.

Research by Dr. Johann Lechner has shown that exposure to such toxins leads to a drop in ATP activity, suggesting that these toxins may “serve as possible contributing factors in the development of mitochondriopathies” (mitochondrial disorders). Dr. Lechner has also found that immunological disturbances may also result.

Such findings confirm earlier research, such as that of Dr. Hal Huggins. For instance, his DNA examination of crushed root tips of extracted root canal teeth showed bacterial contamination in every single sample. Blood samples taken from the sites of extracted root canal teeth contained about 400% more bacteria than within the tooth itself. He also found pathogens in the surrounding bone.

Should You Be Worried about Your Root Canal Teeth?

It’s important to recognize that not all root canal teeth with lingering infections will necessarily cause problems – or even the same types of problems in different people. As with “silver” mercury amalgam fillings, not everyone gets sick from them or sick in the same way. Factors such as one’s unique health history, current health burdens, biological terrain, genetics, lifestyle, and more all play a role in whether and how any illness develops.

If you have a root canal tooth that you suspect may be playing a role in your overall health and well-being, the thing to do is to have it evaluated by a well-trained and highly experienced biological dentist who can determine the status of the tooth and its impact on your health. If it’s found to be placing an undue burden on your overall health, we can extract it and replace them with a biocompatible ceramic implant or other dental prosthetic. As needed, we can refer you to a naturopathic or integrative physician for detox support, as well – so you can move forward on the path to healing.