Uncovering the truth about root canals
After experiencing a toothache in one of my molars two weeks ago, I visited my dentist. She looked at the tooth, which appeared fine, there was no sign of inflammation or infection in the tooth or on the xray. Although there was a large filling in it, it is in perfect condition and in fact she had done the filling herself less than two years ago. By the time I was there to see her actually, the pain had almost completely gone away on its own (two days after beginning). From the way I described my symptoms, and the fact that the once-sensitive tooth was no longer responding to cold or hot, she concluded that the nerve in the tooth was dead, and referred me to an endodontist for root canal therapy.
My best friend pointed me towards some research done on root canal treatment by Dr. Weston Price. He published two volumes in the 1920s entitled Dental Infections Oral and Systemic and Dental Infections and the Degenerative Diseases. This work summarized his 25 years of research into endodontic treatment and the focal infection theory. This research suggests that leaving dead, infected teeth in a patient’s mouth provides a breeding ground for bacteria. Although dentists believe, and will tell you, that the tooth is sterilized and sealed off by the procedure, there are miles of microscopic tubules inside the tooth which are impossible to completely disinfect. The filling materials provide isolation from the body’s immune defense system, in which these bacteria grow and mutate, producing toxins. These bacteria and toxins are released when the patient chews, and can travel to other parts of the body. In a healthy person with a strong immune system, the body is able to defend against the infection. But if the patient’s immune defenses are compromised because of an accident, illness, stress or some other reason, they could become ill with a degenerative disease. This could be years after the root canal was performed, and it is unlikely to be linked back to its cause.
Dr. Price performed experiments on 5 000 animals during his research program. These studies began when he treated a patient suffering from a root canal infection, and who also suffered from severe arthritis. He convinced the patient to let him remove the tooth, he washed it in disinfectant, and implanted it in a small incision under the skin of a rabbit. Within two days, the rabbit developed the same severe arthritis, and ten days later it was dead. The patient’s arthritis improved dramatically and she no longer needed a cane to walk. Over the course of his research, he experimented with teeth from many different patients with many different diseases, many different animals, and also tried implanting healthy teeth to see if they would cause a reaction. The American Dental Association now dismisses his work out of hand as archaic and not adhering to scientific principles, despite the fact that the last ten years of his research program was performed under its auspices.
Of course there has been no modern-day attempt to replicate the results of Dr. Price’s studies. His work has been buried and forgotten, but was resurrected in the early 90s by Dr. George Meinig, an endodontist who wrote a book called Root Canal Cover-Up, which is largely a layman’s summary of Dr. Price’s technical two volumes, with additional photographs. This is discussed in detail here, and if you look at the comments below, granted this is anecdotal evidence but there are dozens upon dozens of commenters who claim to have had degenerative illnesses cured by removal of root canaled teeth.
The degenerative diseases associated with the strains of bacteria most commonly found in root canaled teeth are heart and circulatory diseases, arthritis and rhumatism, and diseases of the brain and nervous system.
When I asked my endodontist if he was familiar with the work of Dr. Weston Price, he did not know what I was talking about. I described the research program to him and its findings, and he recoiled in horror and made the comment that bodies reject foreign objects, and if he implanted one of his teeth in my body it would probably cause disease too (?). I then mentioned Dr. Meinig’s book. He had definitely heard of this before, and practically rolled his eyes and said “I really don’t even address things like that. I don’t try to talk people into doing things they don’t want to do.” It was obvious from his remarks that although people had brought this book to his attention before, he had not made any attempt to read it or investigate what it was all about, otherwise he might have been able to intelligently address the research and make some sort of technical argument which I would have been interested to hear.
Needless to say I left the office without having any procedure done. I have thought about it, and decided that I will take my own steps to protect this tooth from becoming infected in the first place. At night, I brush with water, floss, and apply ground cloves to the base of the tooth. In the morning, I’m going to try oil pulling, then warm salt water rinse, and use a homemade toothpaste made from baking soda, peroxide and peppermint oil. I’m also going to gradually try to reduce sugar from my diet. I may still be able to get years of use out of my tooth. If eventually there is a sign of infection in it, I think I will opt to have it extracted. Saving one tooth is not worth potentially sacrificing overall health.