FAQ: Are Root Canals Safe? What Options Do I Have?
We just had someone call and ask “What alternatives to root canal therapy do we offer?”
First of all, are root canals bad? YES!!!!
Root canals are bad because bacteria can remain and still colonize when root canal therapy has been completed. When this happens, Dr. Weston Price has studied systemic effects from the bacteria originating from the root canaled teeth.
So if your tooth is abscessed or you have a massive tooth ache, what can you do?
Besides leaving it alone and suffering through the pain and consequences, one can choose to:
1: Have the tooth taken out or extracted. Doing this will eliminate the infection and many of the bugs.
2. Have the root canal done but filled with Gutta Percha. (what most dentists use). This however does not reduce the bacterial load.
3. Have the root canal done but filled with an alkaline material called Biocalyx. This material does a much better job eliminating the bacterial load, however not completely and not forever.
Of course, the best way to avoid a root canal or this situation is to care for your teeth before you need to make this choice.
If I had a toothache and had to decide, I’d contemplate using Biocalyx or having the tooth extracted and a metal-free removable partial or bridge placed.
The number one reason to keep the tooth is that it may be one of your last teeth. It may be important to keep this tooth as an anchor for a future partial denture, dentures, bridges, or for supporting anything… (not to forget… the tooth is available to chew with).
If you have the tooth extracted, you must decide what to replace the tooth with. Leaving a space in the jaw usually ends up with bigger problems down the road. (which I’ll leave for a separate blog post)
When the tooth is extracted you pretty much have 3 choices:
1) Ideal choice: A removable metal-free partial. Be sure it is made out of a biocompatible material because a lot of the partial dentures being made are made out of metal and the pink color of the plastic comes from another metal – cadmium. If you are sensitive to metals or fear of the possibility of being allergic, choose to have biocompatibility testing done.
2) Bridge: This option is good if you don’t want any metal in your mouth. Please go to a biological dentist to see if this is an option. Sometimes if this troubled tooth is the furthest back, this option may not be necessary.
3) Titanium Implant: Not recommended because of its metal characteristics. In short, metal oxides are bad for the body. Metal-free implants are a much better option.
4) Ceramic Implant: These white, zirconia dental implants are a much option than their titanium counterparts for a variety of reasons, including color and biocompatibility, but they still aren’t perfect and aren’t for everyone (to learn more, check out our ceramic dental implants article)
When faced with a root canal and you are holistic, find a good holistic dentist to go over the options with you. Don’t decide this on your own. Being educated is good however leave the dentistry and recommending to the dentist.