Root Canals: What You Should Know

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Having worked in the dental profession for over 30 years I have seen many clients who have had root canals, myself included.  The very words conjure up visions of excruciating pain and torture for many, depending on your personal experience.

During the health sabbatical I took from active clinical practice, I did a significant amount of reading and research and I found out just how much I did not know about this widely accepted means of saving a tooth and that a growing number of dentists are totally opposed to performing them.

Root canal/endodontic therapy involves the removal of the pulp (nerve, blood and lymphatic tissue) from within the roots of a tooth, supposedly sterilized, and then typically filled with a rubbery material called gutta-percha which then supposedly seals off this now supposedly sterilized canal.  While the process sounds logical and the procedure routine in order to save a tooth, the anatomy and physical properties of that tooth suggest that root canal/endodontic therapy may not be the safest choice for our systemic health.

And here’s why!

The dentin within the tooth, that material between the enamel and cementum on the root is comprised of millions of tiny tubules that in health allow the transport of fluid and nutrients between the outside and inside of the tooth.  In fact, it is estimated that if you laid out all of these tubules from a lower front tooth end to end they would stretch for over three miles.  What researchers opposed to root canals believe is that it is impossible to sterilize these over three miles of tubules and when the bacteria left behind in these tubules are then cut off from the cleansing and oxygenating effect of the blood supply (now removed) they mutate from a predominately aerobic (needing oxygen) to anaerobic (don’t need oxygen) strain that produce toxins that can have dire consequences.

According to Dr. Weston Price , a dentist who did 25 years of research on the root canal issue, if your immune system is strong,  your body may be able to quarantine the toxins by “ walling off” the area and if particularly efficient may eventually form a drain through bone and gum to the outside.  Unfortunately, this is the good scenario!!!  The real worry is that if your immune system, for a variety of reasons, can’t quarantine these bacteria and their toxins they attach your genetically weak systems or areas of stress and actually cause the onset of degenerative disease.

As always, I love getting feedback. Here on my blog, you’ll get commentluv. That’s a plugin that allows you to leave a link back to your own site when you leave a comment.

Until next time,


7 thoughts on “Root Canals: What You Should Know

  1. Well this certainly sheds a very bright light in addition to the email I sent you. I had my upper left 6 root canaled (sp?) a year ago January which by the way cost a small fortune. I ended up having the tooth removed entirely in April of this year. Do you think there could be a connection between the root canal and my present condition.

    Look forward to your feedback


  2. Great information Kathlleen. Luckily I have never had a root canal, but my husband had 2 and crowns on top, both of which became absessed and needed further treatment. Needless to say he is not a fan of root canal.

  3. Hi Karen,

    Having learned what I have learned about root canals I feel I at least have to make this information available to people so that they can make good decisions about their oral/whole body health. At the very least, we need to question our dental professionals about this information.



  4. I was just told by my dentist that 2 molars at the top in the back have such severe cavities that they are not sustainable and needs removal. He said he could to root canals but not sure roots could sustain and he feels if he did them, a little later they would break and we would both be upset. He said he could remove the teeth and we could decide after we I should get dentures or an implant (very expensive). I just hate the thought of losing those two teeth and was going to try to persuade him to do the root canals. What do you think?

  5. Hi Theresa, My apologies for being unable to respond to your comment before now. I would suggest that you read as much as you can about Root Canal Treatment before making your decision. A good place to start would be “Whole Body Dentistry” by Dr. Mark Breiner. I am not a dentist but as a dental hygienist I am educated in the options available so that I may discuss them with my clients when they have questions. There are many views about root canals both for and against and educating yourself prior to making a decision is very important.

    In Health,


  6. Hi Evelyn,
    Thanks for your comment and I am sorry that I have not responded until now. I hope you are well and that maybe some of the information you have read on my site has at least led you to question and research these issues to see if there is a possible connection
    In Health,

  7. Pingback: The Root Canal Cover-up and Informed Consent | Kathleen Bernardi | Woodland Dental Hygiene

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