Getting Root Canals

Getting Root Canals

Should I get a root canal?

These days, getting root canals is a controversial dental procedure but thirty years ago when I had my first root canal done at age 17, I didn’t question what was being done to me.

I will never forget the throbbing, terrifying and debilitating pain so deep inside my head that I didn’t even recognize it as toothache.  A friend drove me to the Otago Dental School where they couldn’t see a cavity to blame for the pain. After a consultation involving a crowd of students, the supervising dentist advised drilling a hole in the back of my right lateral incisor. An overpoweringly shameful smell of rotten meat seemed to flood the huge teaching clinic, confirming that they had pinpointed the infected tooth.

In the three decades since my first root canal, books like The Toxic Tooth by Robert Kulacz and Root Canal Cover-Up by Dr George Meinig have raised public awareness that a ‘high percentage of chronic degenerative disease can originate from root filled teeth’ (Meinig).

However, most dentists continue to recommend and perform root canals without hesitation while most holistic dentists believe all teeth with root canals should be removed.

When professionals are so divided it can be hard to make a decision for your own teeth, especially if you are in pain.

I believe that because everyone is unique, with different combinations of genetics, lifestyle, dental history, family histories, personal health, budgets and priorities there can be no simple answer to the question ‘should I get a root canal?’.

That’s why I’ve developed a list of questions designed to help tease out the aspects of each unique situation that may have a bearing on a root canal decision.

The majority of questions to be considered are actually the same for either getting or removing a root canal. However, your answers may lead you to a different conclusion, depending on whether you are getting new root canal or having an old one removed.  

This article is split into two parts, Part 1 (this post) is for people who are considering a new root canal. Part 2 is for people who have a root canal already and who are considering its removal.

DisclaimerPlease be aware that I am not a dental professional and I am offering information for educational purposes only. If you are thinking about acting on the basis of any information in this article, I encourage you to do your own additional research, use your own common sense and take responsibility for your own health choices. However, do not delay in addressing any infection in your mouth, because if left untreated, there can be serious, long-term health consequences, up to, and including, death.

getting root canals

Register now to watch the Holistic Tooth Fairy's FREE online workshop recording on how to maintain oral health at home. Learn how to:

  • Prevent dental emergencies with teeth & gum nourishing foods, herbs and supplements
  • Protect your gums by fine tuning your oral hygiene habits 
  • Relieve jaw tension to avoid breaking enamel or fillings
  • Do your own oral health self assessments to identify any issues
  • Evaluate whether an issue needs a dentist urgently or can wait
  • Manage issues with holistic home remedies until normal dental services resume

What is a root canal?

The root canal procedure involves the removal of the pulp (nerve, blood and lymphatic tissue) from within the hollow roots (canals) of the tooth.

The canal is sterilized and then packed with a material that seals off the canal. The idea is to quarantine the sterilized canal to keep it free from further infection.

Once the root is packed and sealed, a crown or filling is built up to recreate the original shape of the tooth and provide a biting surface (this is often done at a second appointment, with a temporary filling in place for a few weeks between).

To understand why so many people consider root canals to be a health risk, you need to know the anatomy inside your teeth.

Enamel is the outside covering of the tooth, dentin is the material under the enamel and pulp fills the canal at the center of the tooth, extending down into the roots.

getting root canal
The dentin is made of millions of tiny tubes whose job is to transport nutrients and oxygen from the pulp out to the enamel, which like dentin, is made up of microscopic tubes.

These tubes in the dentin and the enamel can also carry fluids from the saliva into the enamel and through the dentin down into pulp and eventually via the bloodstream to the rest of your body.

The tubes are so tiny, and so numerous that if the tubes from just one tooth were laid end to end they would be three miles long!

Mark A Briener, dentist and author of Whole Body Dentistry declares ‘it is absurd to believe all those millions of tiny tubules could possibly be “sterilized” during the process of performing a root canal.’

After the procedure, any bacteria unavoidably left behind in the sealed tubes begins to metabolise anaerobically and give off toxins that can enter the bloodstream and attack the parts of your body that are genetically weak or under stress.

Assessing root canal risks

Before you decide to get a root canal, its a good idea to assess how much you are at risk.

To help you to make a personal risk assessment quickly and comprehensively, I’ve discussed the 10 questions below into a downloadable checklist to help you interpret your answers to make a decision.

Print or save the The Root Canal Decision Checklist and use it to help make a decision about treatment quickly, even if your thoughts are fogged with pain or drugs.

Some of the questions are for yourself and your family to answer.

Some your dentist or doctor or other health professionals may be able to answer based on an examination or interview.

You may also choose to get some tests to get more certainty.

      1. How strong is my immune system? 
      2. How good is my overall health? 
      3. Is there a family history of degenerative diseases?
      4. What other body parts does this tooth relate to and how resilient are they? 
      5. Am I willing to risk bacterial infection?
      6. Is a root canal being recommended for a cavity that has already exposed the root?
      7. Do we know for sure exactly which tooth is causing the problem?
      8. Is laser sterilization an option?
      9. Could I live without this tooth for chewing or looks? 
      10. What is my budget? What are the costs of the root canal, alternatives or possible follow up procedures? 

I hope these questions help you to make the best decision about whether or not to get a new root canal. If you already have a root canal, and are considering having it removed,  read Part 2 of this article about existing root canals.

Further Reading

I love recommending books and I love the Book Depository so I have partnered with them for my recommendations. If you choose to purchase through my link I may receive a commission- win win! Yay!’

Register now to watch the Holistic Tooth Fairy's FREE online workshop recording on how to maintain oral health at home. Learn how to:

  • Prevent dental emergencies with teeth & gum nourishing foods, herbs and supplements
  • Protect your gums by fine tuning your oral hygiene habits 
  • Relieve jaw tension to avoid breaking enamel or fillings
  • Do your own oral health self assessments to identify any issues
  • Evaluate whether an issue needs a dentist urgently or can wait
  • Manage issues with holistic home remedies until normal dental services resume

Has a dentist told you that your cavities or receding gums are your fault because you are drinking too much Coke, you don’t floss enough or you need to stop breastfeeding your baby? And you know that isn’t true!

I’m a natural oral health coach and I'm not going to blame you or shame you.
The underlying causes of your oral health issues are not your fault!

Nature or nurture, ancestry or environment, free will or systemic oppression, unconscious emotions or the degraded food system are the factors that make your teeth and gums vulnerable to disease.

Even though your tooth decay and gum disease is not your fault, it is within your power to change.

I can help you to turn your oral health around with natural strategies, healthy habits and intuitive insights. 

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Relax your jaw for teeth relief

Relax your jaw for teeth relief

Why relax your jaw

There’s almost no teeth or gum problems that can’t be helped when you relax your jaw!

Carrying tension in the jaw is so common that it’s almost universal. 

Are you one of the millions of people who use a night guard to try and prevent jaw tension from damaging your teeth and gums? It’s what most dentists recommend when they see the symptoms of clenching or grinding.

You may not even be aware that your jaw is tense until someone else points it out to you, or you experience the contrasting sensation of relaxation. 

 I didn’t know that I was clenching, and perhaps grinding, my teeth in my sleep until my dentist pointed out that my molars were cracking from the pressure.

Chronic jaw tension may be caused by a mineral deficiency or intestinal parasites. If that’s the case you can address the problem with diet and supplements.

However, just by spending a few minutes on some simple exercises most people can easily retrain their jaw to relax naturally and find almost instant relief from toothache as a result. 

In fact there’s almost no situation where relaxing the jaw won’t improve your wellbeing!

Not only does it relieve tooth clenching and grinding (bruxism) but it can sometimes help relieve pain and inflammation in the roots of your teeth.

It can also be helpful for sinus problems, mouth breathing, snoring, posture, migraines (and other headaches) and much more.

Some people find that their acute toothache disappears within minutes of massaging their jaw, other people notice gradual changes occurring as they consistently incorporate jaw massage into their bedtime routine.

Register now to watch the Holistic Tooth Fairy's FREE online workshop recording on how to maintain oral health at home. Learn how to:

  • Prevent dental emergencies with teeth & gum nourishing foods, herbs and supplements
  • Protect your gums by fine tuning your oral hygiene habits 
  • Relieve jaw tension to avoid breaking enamel or fillings
  • Do your own oral health self assessments to identify any issues
  • Evaluate whether an issue needs a dentist urgently or can wait
  • Manage issues with holistic home remedies until normal dental services resume

Long term benefits of relaxing your jaw

There are long term benefits for your teeth and gums beyond the (often instant) pain relief that a jaw massage can provide.

There is less friction wearing away at your teeth enamel so your teeth are more resilient to decay.

With less pressure, your teeth are less likely to crack and chip.

Receding gums can stabilize and sometimes even start to regrow without the constant pressure and friction of clenching and grinding teeth in their sockets. 

Blood flows more easily, carrying nutrients and oxygen to your teeth and gums so your body can express its natural inclination to remineralise your teeth and regrow your gums.

Although sometimes professional interventions (eg cranial oesteopathic or chiropractoric treatments or myofacial therapy) may be required, most people notice substantial improvement when they persist with the self-help techniques I share with my clients and Teeth for Life members

Practiced regularly, you can retrain your body to default to a relaxed jaw, even in stressful situations.

If you are considering professional intervention or buying a bite guard, learning to relax your jaw will enable those treatments to work more effectively so you’ll get more value from the investment.

Take the pressure off your teeth and gums right now by trying a jaw massage video for free, as a preview of Teeth for Life membership. 

Register now to watch the Holistic Tooth Fairy's FREE online workshop recording on how to maintain oral health at home. Learn how to:

  • Prevent dental emergencies with teeth & gum nourishing foods, herbs and supplements
  • Protect your gums by fine tuning your oral hygiene habits 
  • Relieve jaw tension to avoid breaking enamel or fillings
  • Do your own oral health self assessments to identify any issues
  • Evaluate whether an issue needs a dentist urgently or can wait
  • Manage issues with holistic home remedies until normal dental services resume

Has a dentist told you that your cavities or receding gums are your fault because you are drinking too much Coke, you don’t floss enough or you need to stop breastfeeding your baby? And you know that isn’t true!

I’m a natural oral health coach and I'm not going to blame you or shame you.
The underlying causes of your oral health issues are not your fault!

Nature or nurture, ancestry or environment, free will or systemic oppression, unconscious emotions or the degraded food system are the factors that make your teeth and gums vulnerable to disease.

Even though your tooth decay and gum disease is not your fault, it is within your power to change.

I can help you to turn your oral health around with natural strategies, healthy habits and intuitive insights. 

Is there a Spiritual Meaning to Your Toothache?

Asking your intuition about your toothache meaning can put you in touch with the subconscious feelings and thoughts that influence your oral health. Is there something you're not talking about in your life? What are your stress levels day-to-day at the moment? Are you...

Metaphysical teeth: Self-help strategies for oral health

Metaphysics is the study of abstract ideas, concepts and systems.  There is more to teeth and gums than their existence as physical objects within our bodies. Economics, aesthetics, psychology, spirituality, meridians, family stories and cultural myths are just a few...

Political Teeth

What do Nazis have to do with your teeth? A holistic approach to oral health doesn't stop at the boundaries of our bodies (or even at the edge of our aura).  We exist in communities that are connected globally in real time and our mouths are not separate from what is...