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If you are interested in reading this page, chances are
that you have heard or read some criticisms and
negative comments about dental root canals. The
purpose of this page is to help you understand the
controversy surrounding root canals and give you
some answers, so you can decide whether they are
safe for you or not.
Rest assured that holistic dentists are generally in
agreement with the information on this page.
What is the difference between the nerve in a tooth and the pulp in a tooth?
The nerve and the pulp in a tooth are one and the same thing. Dentists call the living
tissue in the center of a tooth, “pulp tissue” or “pulp”, for short. The pulp has both nerves
and blood vessels. The pulp extends from each root tip, to the “pulp chamber” in the
center of the crown of the tooth. The tooth crown is the part that is visible in the mouth.
Most people are familiar with calling the pulp the “nerve”, which is how it will be described
for the remainder of this article.
What is a root canal and why is it done?
A root canal is a treatment by a dentist which is intended to eliminate infection
in a tooth by removing the infected nerve tissue inside the root or roots of a
tooth. The space that was occupied by the nerve is then enlarged slightly and
filled with a special filling material called gutta percha. The gutta percha is
“glued” to the inside of the root with a root canal sealer, which also fills in any
gaps between the gutta percha and the internal surface of the root. Dentists
say the tooth with the root canal is now a “non-vital” tooth. Isn’t that just a nice
way of saying that the tooth is dead?
Dentists are taught that the purpose of root canals is to help people save teeth they
would otherwise lose from infections in the nerve, which usually start out as cavities. So
dentists believe that root canals are totally beneficial, without any significant risks. After
reading this page, you may decide that the alternatives and options discussed here are
Click here for a more comprehensive description of root canals.
What is the major problem with root canals that dentists won’t tell you?
In theory, at least as taught in dental schools, the root canal filling material seals off the
root of the tooth and any germs remaining in it. Assuming that the space is completely
filled and properly sealed by the dentist, any infection that has spread to the jaw bone at
the end of the root or roots should then heal, because the jaw bone contains a blood
supply to bring white blood cells to the infected area.
Unfortunately, this rarely happens, because the roots of teeth contain millions of
microscopic pores or channels, called dentinal tubules. These tubules are normally filled
with living nerve tissue extensions which go from the dental nerve within the tooth root to
the outside surface of the root in the jaw bone. However, when the nerve dies from
infection or trauma, all the living tissue in the dentinal tubules also dies, creating
relatively large living spaces for germs from the infected nerve tissue.
The result is that the dentinal tubules become a breeding ground for all kinds of germs,
where they can grow and produce toxic wastes. The germs and their poisonous
wastes can easily reach the jaw bone around the root or roots. This is true even
after a dentist has done a root canal, because dentinal tubules are difficult to
disinfect and impossible to fill and seal off with gutta percha filling material. In
most teeth with root canals, a chronic infection from the germs in the dead
dentinal tubules will persist within the jaw bone next to the tooth, without
causing any symptoms to make you aware of the infection. Even a dental x-ray
won’t reveal any infection.
What dental alternative is available for doing a root canal?
As you will find out by reading further on this page, you may not always need a
root canal recommended by your dentist. However, assuming the nerve in your tooth
is truly dead, and you want to retain the tooth in your mouth, a holistic or biological
dentist may offer you a root canal with an alternative root canal filling material called
Endocal, which is made from calcium oxide. The original name for Endocal was Biocalex.
This unique root canal filling material is very alkaline, which is toxic to disease germs. It is
claimed by the manufacturer to penetrate into the dentinal tubules, thus killing the germs
in the tubules. However, the full extent of its clinical effectiveness at killing
germs in the dentinal tubules is not known.
Endocal is difficult to see on an x-ray, and it doesn’t have the x-ray appearance of a
traditional root canal. This means that another dentist may say that the root canal was
not done properly, or not done at all. Unlike traditional gutta percha filling material,
Endocal is very difficult to remove once it has set hard, so if a dentist recommends
retreatment, which means removing and replacing the Endocal, they will likely not be able
to do so. Therefore, if you choose to have a root canal done with Endocal, please be
aware of its limitations and please use a holistic dentist who is familiar with Endocal. It is
highly unlikely you will find a root canal specialist (endodontist) or a traditional
family dentist who will use Endocal.
If you are looking for a referral to a holistic dentist or physician, please click on
this link, which will take you to the Resources page on this website. Read the
description for each organization. Most of the organizations listed have a search field on
their home page to help you find an appropriate holistic health care professional.
If I already have a root canal, what options are available if it fails?
All root canals eventually fail. This happens because the material used to seal the
gutta percha filling material deteriorates over time. You can usually tell if the seal around
a root canal filling material is breaking down, and your root canal is failing, because you
will start to experience symptoms of acute infection, such as pain when you chew on the
tooth, or perhaps a pimple draining pus will become visible on the gums adjacent to the
tooth. If a pimple, which is called a fistula by dentists, should appear, you will most likely
not experience much pain because the toxins from the infection are able to drain away
through the fistula.
Basically you have three options for failed root canals.
The first option is to have the failing root canal re-done. Dentists call this a re-
treatment. This can be done with new gutta percha filling material, or with Endocal. Your
dentist will have to drill a hole through any fillings or caps in order to gain access to the
old root canal filling material, so it can be removed and replaced. The benefit you will
gain from re-treatment is to have a new, and presumably better sealed, root canal filling,
which will help control the acute infection. Re-treatment will not prevent or stop a chronic
infection from remaining in your jaw bone around the re-treated tooth.
The second option is to let your dentist try to help you save your tooth with a
surgical procedure called an apicoectomy. An apicoectomy literally means to
remove the tip of the root. The root tip is surgically cut off because it is presumed that
the failure of the root canal is caused by the root canal filling material no longer creating
an adequate seal at the root tip, thus allowing germs to grow inside the root. The germs
and their toxins also contribute to additional infection in the bone surrounding the root.
The amount of the root tip that is cut off is entirely arbitrary, as your dentist cannot see
how far beyond the root tip the gutta percha seal has failed. The remainder of the old
root canal filling material in the root is not touched.
Surgically accessing the infection around the root tip in your jaw bone avoids the
necessity of having a hole drilled through any filling or cap in your tooth to remove and
replace the old root canal filling material. As part of the apicoectomy procedure, your
dentist will also remove any infected tissue in the jaw bone around the end of the root.
In addition, an attempt is sometimes made to re-seal the root canal at the end of the
shortened root by inserting a small filling at the cut end of the root. Dentists call this a
retrograde filling. Usually, dental amalgam containing mercury is used because it will set
and harden even if the filling material becomes contaminated with blood or body fluids
during the surgery.
Never let a dentist insert an amalgam filling in the root tip, because amalgam
fillings always contain large amounts of poisonous mercury. If you already have
an infection in your jaw bone, how can the addition of mercury at the site of the infection
help? There are other much less toxic dental filling materials that dentists can use for this
purpose. Ask your dentist how much the retrograde filling will improve the probability of
healing. You may be surprised to find out that your dentist doesn’t really know.
So the complete procedure involves removing the infected tissue in the jaw bone next to
the root tip, cutting off the root tip, and then sometimes putting in a tiny filling into the end
of the root. The anticipated outcome is that the surgical wound will heal and that your
tooth will be saved. If the dentist doing the apicoectomy is not holistic, you can expect to
be given a prescription for an antibiotic. As you can imagine, this is a challenging dental
treatment at best, which should be done by a dentist who is surgically skilled.
Dr. Gilbert does not recommend apicoectomies. The unfortunate reality is that an
apicoectomy is a last ditch attempt to save an infected tooth with a failed root canal that
is impossible to disinfect, surrounded by an already infected jawbone. What do you
think is the likelihood an apicoectomy will save your tooth?
The third option is to have the tooth removed or extracted, especially if you do
not want to save your tooth. If your dentist determines that your tooth has split or
fractured, you have no option except to extract the tooth. Further down on this article
there is a comprehensive description of what you need to know regarding an extraction,
including complementary ozone treatment.
Remember, all teeth with root canals are dead teeth which harbor germs, which
results in the jaw bone around them remaining chronically infected and a
challenge to your immune system.
Healthy Teeth 'n' Gums
Root Canal Options
Reduce the stress and challenge to your immune system with all natural,
organic whole food supplements. Click here for information.
If I choose to save a tooth with a root canal, what is the best way to re-build and
restore my tooth?
Although it is not always necessary, typically, most conventional dentists will recommend
a cap. Dentists call a cap a crown. Usually, a post will also either be recommended or the
largest root of a tooth. The hole for the post is made by removing the approximate top
half of the root canal filling material.
Dentists have been taught for years that posts are needed to strengthen the tooth to
support the crown that is placed on top of the tooth. This is simply not true.
Never let your dentist put a post in your tooth with a root canal. Posts do not
provide any additional strength to a tooth that has had a root canal. Posts
actually weaken the root they are in. The sideward chewing forces on the crown will
be transmitted to the post which will eventually cause the root with the post to split in half.
If your dentist says that the post is made of flexible reinforced fiberglass which
can’t fracture the root, then the chewing forces will cause the post to break. Either way
you will probably lose the tooth.
Instead of any kind of post, always insist that your dentist use modern bonded
composites to create the foundation for the cap. If your dentist says that there
isn’t enough of your tooth remaining to support a crown unless a post is used, then have
the tooth removed. If you try to save it under these conditions, it will fracture somewhere
and fail prematurely. If your dentist still insists, then remove your dentist and find a
Always ask your dentist if your tooth can be rebuilt with a less invasive restoration than a
cap, such as a filling, an inlay or an onlay. If a filling is possible, always avoid amalgam
fillings, because they contain large amounts of poisonous mercury. Insist on a
composite plastic filling. If your dentist says that your tooth needs something stronger
than a filling, ask if it can be an inlay or onlay made of composite plastic or porcelain.
These types of tooth restorations are biologically suitable for most people and they are
both esthetic and very natural appearing. Ask your dentist if he or she routinely does
inlays and onlays. If not, your dentist may insist that you need a cap.
What dental options are available instead of a root canal?
Basically you have two options instead of a root canal. The first option is truly
holistic because it takes into account your body’s natural and innate ability to
heal and regenerate injured and damaged tissue, in this case nerve tissue. This
holistic, alternative option is called a “pulp cap”. Think of it as a nerve cap.
A nerve cap is a dental procedure, distinctly different from a root canal, by which a
dentists seals off the injured, exposed nerve tissue with a special dental material. It
functions as a permanent band aid. A nerve cap avoids a root canal, giving the protected
nerve tissue the opportunity to regenerate and heal, instead of being destroyed by your
dentist. A nerve cap is only possible if the nerve in your tooth is alive. Generally
speaking, bleeding is a good sign that it is still alive. Once a root canal has been
started, it is too late for a nerve cap.
Any dentist can perform a nerve cap and successfully seal off the injured nerve tissue,
as long as the injured nerve is alive, and providing they use a special dental material
called Mineral Tri Aggregate or MTA for short. A holistic dentist is more likely to be
familiar with it than a conventional dentist. Mineral Tri Aggregate is essentially sterilized
portland cement. MTA works extremely well because it is sterile, bland, slightly alkaline,
which promotes healing and stops bleeding, and it adheres to the tooth surface, just like
portland cement sticks to hard surfaces. It even stops the pain of an injured nerve.
Once the MTA has been successfully applied, a dentist can then protect it with a
temporary filling, until the tooth can be properly rebuilt and restored.
The next step is for you to supply the delicate, injured nerve tissue with all the
nutrient support possible. Click here to find out how you can do this.
If your dentist says that “pulp caps” don’t work, make sure your dentist is not referring to
an old material called calcium hydroxide. Dental schools have been teaching the use of
calcium hydroxide for nerve capping procedures for years, in spite of the fact that nerve
caps using this material almost always fail.
Why don’t conventional dentists use MTA for nerve capping, instead of always
recommending a root canal?
This is a very good question that you should ask your dentist to answer.
The most likely reason conventional dentists don’t recommend nerve capping
is because they believe that the nerve cannot heal once it is injured. They have
been taught in dental school that the swelling that occurs in an injured nerve chokes off
the blood supply and the nerve will eventually die. Hence, many dentists will tell you that
you need a root canal if you want to save your tooth.
This belief that the nerve cannot heal once it is injured is total nonsense, because it
defies our biology created for survival. Consider this. Why would teeth, which are
essential for the survival of all mammals, be created with virtually no ability to heal?
Mammals in the wild cannot live for long if they have a painful, infected tooth with a
wounded nerve that prevents them from eating. Even our ancestors couldn’t. Only
modern man can eat with or without natural teeth. So the teeth of all mammals, including
humans, must be able to heal. It’s just plain common sense.
If you don’t want to ask your dentist, following are some other explanations your
dentist may be reluctant to discuss with you.
- Most dentists are not familiar with using Mineral Tri Aggregate for capping nerves.
- They already know that nerve capping with calcium hydroxide doesn’t work.
- Root canals are a low overhead treatment procedures, so there economic
motivation for traditional dentists to recommend them.
The truth is that the nerve in any of your teeth is perfectly capable of
regenerating and healing even if it is injured, as long as it is still alive. The
dentinal tubules, which have already been discussed in the beginning of this article,
provide an outlet for fluid swelling and for nutrients to be brought in to the nerve tissue to
help with the healing process. The holistic key to healing success is to clean out
the germ laden decay in the tooth, seal off the injured nerve tissue from further
contamination by germs, using Mineral Tri Aggregate, and supply the infected
nerve tissue with as much nutritional support as possible.
The supplements recommended on this website are perfect for accomplishing
this. Click here to read about these remarkable supplements.
If you would like to personally find out how these all natural supplements may
help you, click here and fill out the form for a free, no obligation nutritional consultation
with Dr. Gilbert. He will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
To avoid any confusion caused by the similarity of the names of two of the dental
materials discussed on this page, here is a summary of all three:
- Calcium oxide, marketed as Endocal, is used as an alternative root canal filling
- Calcium hydroxide has been taught and promoted as a dental pulp capping
material. Dentists don’t like using it because it rarely works.
- Mineral Tri Aggregate or MTA is sterile Portland cement used for pulp capping. It
almost always works.
The second choice instead of a root canal is to remove the tooth. If you chose
to extract the tooth, it is important that your dentist thoroughly clean out all the soft tissue
in the opening or socket in the jaw bone, in order to reduce or prevent the possibility of
your jaw bone remaining chronically infected where the tooth was. You can significantly
increase the likelihood of eliminating all chronic infection in the jaw bone with ozone
treatment. Ozone treatment effectively kills all the germs in a wide area of the jaw bone.
For more information on Ozone treatment, contact Dr. Philip Mollica in New Jersey at
201-587-0222, or find a holistic dentist who is familiar and experienced in its use.
These organizations can help you, if you are looking for a referral to a holistic dentist:
natural substances with powerful antioxidant properties like Coenzyme Q10.
- Rejuvenation, repair and cellular renewal throughout your entire body, including
the jaw bone after an extraction and the nerve tissue in teeth. Two special
supplements support your body’s ability to create rejuvenation, repair and cellular
renewal. One supplement stimulates an increase of adult stem cells and the other
promotes the growth of new bone.
Dr. Gilbert’s writes about his personal experience with unique, highly nutritious all natural
whole food supplements on the Home page of this website. He discovered that the
supplements helped him significantly improve his total state of health. Naturally, that
meant his teeth also stayed healthy.
If you have concerns about root canals, let Dr. Gilbert be your personal nutritional
counselor and share with you his own success with these remarkable supplements, All
you have to do is click here and fill out the form to arrange for his free, no obligation
Even if you think you don’t have a problem with a root canal, you are likely to experience
significant health improvements when you use the supplements, just like Dr. Gilbert did.
The supplements come with a 90 day money back guarantee from the company, so you
have nothing to lose — and in all probability, so much to gain. Imagine the greater
peace of mind that means for you!
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|♦ Keeping Your Teeth ‘n’ Gums Healthy For a Lifetime ♦
|If you chose to replace any extracted or missing teeth, it is also important that you
discuss how you will do this with your dentist. Here are a few pointers:
- Implants are generally better than dental bridges because they are stand alone
replacements that do not depend on adjacent teeth for support. The implant itself
is made of metal. Pure titanium is biologically the best, although not ideal. A non
metal ceramic implant would be ideal and will most likely be available in the future.
- The tooth or teeth that are attached to the implant(s) should be made of a
combination of zirconium based porcelains for the foundation, and conventional
porcelains on the exterior, because they will then be biologically safe, as strong as
steel and extremely natural looking.
- Dental bridges are now considered to be a poorer choice over implants, because
dental bridges must be attached to the adjacent teeth, usually with caps. If you
choose a dental bridge, make sure it is made entirely of zirconium based porcelain
and conventional porcelains, the same as for implant teeth.
- Never allow your dentist to use teeth with root canals for the supporting teeth on
one or both ends of the bridge because these teeth, in as much as they are dead
teeth, are relatively brittle and lack adequate strength. They will crack prematurely,
causing the bridge to fail.
After an extraction, whether you choose to accept ozone treatment or not, you
must do everything possible to nutritionally strengthen your immune system,
because it is your first line of defense against infection and disease. Makes
sense, doesn’t it? The benefit of ozone treatment will last much longer if you nutritionally
strengthen your immune system. Healing of your jaw after removal of a tooth will be
enhanced with effective nutritional support. Either way, you will benefit immensely with
nutritional support from all natural, organic, whole food supplementation. Click here to
read about these remarkable supplements.
What nutritional options are available?
The human body is a marvelously designed living organism with the ability to
grow, regulate, repair, and defend itself when given all natural, high quality, full
spectrum nutrients derived from natural and organically grown foods.
Supplements made from these foods uniquely enhance the quality or your body’s
physical, mental, and emotional well being, because they accomplish the same
things that natural and organically grown foods do. When you add all natural,
organic, green whole food supplements to your diet, you strengthen and support your
immune system by elevating the health of your entire body. At the same time, you raise
the level of health of your entire mouth, even when any teeth have root canals!
These supplements promote enhanced health by providing you with all the nutritional
tools you will need to experience:
- Remarkably improved digestion and assimilation of foods, made possible by taking
probiotics and food enzyme supplements.
- Substantially enhanced nutrition obtained from an extraordinarily nutrient rich food
supplement made from blue green algae.
- Significantly better protection against free radical damage by consuming
supplements made from whole food antioxidants, such as blue green algae, or