Are Root Canals Toxic in Allen?
A patient recently asked me what I thought about what was being said about root canals in Allen in the documentary called Root Cause on Netflix. I don’t usually watch Netflix because I just don’t watch that much TV, but I went and watched it.
The documentary was interesting. It tried to pin many medical problems like breast cancer, sleeplessness, fatigue, heart disease, etc. on root canals. The reasoning behind these claims is based in the focal infection theory which theorizes that infections in remote places in the body will travel and infect another area of the body and cause seemingly unrelated disease processes. Since watching the documentary, I have read the references to the 100-year-old research, done by Dr. Price, that the documentary used to prove its points. I have come to a pretty informed well-rounded conclusion that I will get to at the end of this article, but before then, let’s explore what a root canal is, what it treats, and what you need to know if you choose to have a root canal.
WHAT IS A ROOT CANAL in Allen?
When a tooth has pain or is showing signs of infection, a root canal is many times recommended. So, what is the goal of a root canal? The most inner core of the tooth, called the pulp, is alive. It has a blood supply and a nerve supply. If the pulp gets inflamed from tooth decay or the treatment to remove tooth decay, the tooth will become sensitive to cold. If the tooth becomes cracked, it also gets inflamed, and the tooth will hurt sharply when your eating. There is currently no way to reduce this inflammation. When this inflammation goes on too long it can cause damage and the tooth can die. A dead tooth easily gets infected because it no longer has the immune cells to keep bacteria at bay.
WHAT DOES A ROOT CANAL TREAT?
When a root canal is done, the goal is to remove the dead or inflamed pulp from the tooth and seal it so space is closed off and bacteria do not have a place to hide from the healthy blood supply that carries your immune cells to keep you from getting an infection around the tooth.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU ARE HAVING A ROOT CANAL
When a root canal is done, the dead or inflamed pulp is removed and the tooth is sanitized and filled to seal it up. There are no live parts of the tooth anymore. If the tooth is getting a root canal, it is usually either already dead, or unhealthy beyond repair. If you are getting a root canal, your only other option to treat a tooth that unhealthy is an extraction. Once you extract a tooth, you can’t put it back, so that isn’t usually the first option that patients want to consider.
So what are the problems with root canals that caused a whole documentary to be made? When a root has a root canal, the tooth may not be completely sealed. Many factors make teeth difficult if not impossible to completely seal. Without a complete seal, there is an opportunity for bacteria to collect around the leak. Some types of bacteria are easily handled by the body and most people do not have a problem managing this, but as time goes on, sometimes more toxic types of bacteria can join the party and cause pathology at the tip of the roots. Sometimes this can cause pain and sometimes there is no way to know it is happening without taking an x-ray.
The focal infection theory suggests that infection anywhere in the body can be a source of disease in seemingly unrelated parts of the body. One example that the documentary uses is that a high percentage of women with breast cancer will have a root canal on the same side as cancer. While this is a source for concern, there is no way to definitely connect the two and they do not give the percentage of women that have root canals that do not have breast cancer, so it is a little one-sided.
Statements made by Dr. Price, who is not a proponent of root canals suggest that most people have a healthy enough immune system to keep the bacteria around root canal teeth under control. However, people without a healthy immune system may not have the same results.
So, how do you decide if a root canal is right for you? If you have a tooth that is beyond repair by any other means, you have to look at a couple of factors. How healthy are you? Would a root canal tooth possibly be taxing on your body if you have other problems? Are you completely healthy and really want to keep your tooth as long as you can? The answer may be different for different people. Root canals have been a treatment to treat sick teeth for 100 years and I don’t think they are going anywhere any time soon.
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