There are many different dental procedures, but it seems that root canal is one of the most popular ones. Almost every adult person has gone through this procedure. However, does this make root canal something that we should take for granted? One dentist focused on this question and found an answer.
What Dr. Robert Kulacz has found was stunning and this is the main reason why he wrote the best-seller The Toxic Tooth: How a Root Canal Could be Making You Sick. The book addresses the aforementioned dilemma and gives us a new perspective on this issue.
Dr. Robert Kulacz worked as an associate for 6 years before starting his own dental practice in New York in 1992. Of course, just like almost all other dentists, he conducted the typical dental procedures, including root canals.
He did dozens of root canals before he heard an interesting story from his patient. Namely, one of his patients said he heard a doctor claiming root canals might be associated with different diseases.
Of course, Dr. Kulacz was shocked and rejected these claims as ridiculous. However, the patient gave him website addresses from different organizations including IAOMT – the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology.
Obviously, Dr. Kulacz opened these websites and read about this intriguing topic because he wanted to tell the patient that he is completely wrong and that the American Dental Association knows what they are doing.
But, he discovered something unexpected. He read the articles and research papers of famous doctors and dentists like Weston Price and even went to an IAOMT conference. He listened to Dr. Boyd Haley theory about the toxicity of root canals and he changed his mind, he stopped performing root canals.
Informed Consent about the Root Canal Procedure: Why Is It Important?
So, Dr. Robert Kulacz decided to stop doing root canals back in 1995. It’s interesting that he is not in favor of banning this procedure, but he points out that informed consent is important.
According to the ADA (American Dental Association), a root canal is a completely safe procedure that has nothing to do with systematic diseases. But, Dr. Kulacz and other doctors and dentists say that this claim is incorrect.
He claims that if patients know that the root canal teeth will remain infected, bacteria can reach other parts of the body, and that those thriving in root canal teeth and bones close to teeth secrete strong toxins, they will be able to make a sound decision.
There are a huge number of dentists who are convinced that they are able to sterilize this area and that irrigation and instrumenting the root canal can destroy the bacteria completely, but this is not true.
Dangers of Root Canal
According to many dentists, including Dr. Kulacz, a biopsy on almost any root canal tooth will show that there are necrotic debris leftovers in the canal. This means that the tooth is not completely clean. The situation is even worse in the surrounding bone.
On the other hand, the ADA claims that the bacteria left after root canal procedure is trapped in the tooth, but even this claim is not true. The filling material that is used to entomb the canal which is known as gutta-percha, cannot reach the small lateral canals that come from the main canal. This means that it is possible and very likely that the tooth will witness leakage.
Even in cases of ideally sealed root canals, they can’t keep the tiny molecule exotoxins created by the trapped bacteria from going out and reaching different parts of the body.
Most of the tooth structure is based on dentinal tubules. They represent hollow structures that go out of the main canal. In case we are able to stretch these tubules we will create a line that is three miles long.
However, they are still a suitable place for bacteria that can’t be sterilized or removed. The tooth is porous and acts as a sponge for bacteria.
Dr. Kulacz says that in case people had a solid structure of teeth, similar to metal, dentists could clean the main canal easily and seal it ideally if there were no tributaries either. But, that’s not the case. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you can expect an infection and disease from every root canal tooth. This is something that is closely related to the specific type of bacteria that dwells there, the toxins they release and the state of the immune system.
However, there are up to 30 million root canals completed every year and if we multiply this number with the life expectancy, we can say that there are a huge number of root canals that are causing problems!
Root Canals Contain Bacteria that Have the Potential to Make Other Diseases Much Worse
Root canal teeth are dealing with chronic infections, which is why they are able to worsen a myriad of health issues like heart disease for example. As we said before, ADA claims that bacteria that come from root canal teeth cannot reach other body parts, but many doctors and dentists are rejecting these claims.
For instance, heart disease comes as a result of the damage to the internal lining of the blood vessel. This leads to increased cholesterol levels. So, the main reason for the emergence of heart disease is this damage and the coming of cholesterol and macrophages in the artery.
Furthermore, the inflammation leads to rupture of plaque in the lumen and inside the blood vessel which leads to a blood clot and eventually to a heart attack. A scientific study conducted four years ago focused on the comparison between arterial plaque in heart attack patients and their bacterial DNA in blood clots and the bacteria’s DNA in the oral cavity.
It turned out that the bacteria in the root canal teeth and in cases of gum disease is same as the plaques in blood clots and coronary arteries.
This means that bacteria travel from the oral cavity to other body parts including arterial plaques. What’s even worse is that the same bacteria were found in the fluid that is circulation around the heart.
The appearance of these oral bacteria that originates from root canal teeth in blood clots and arterial plaque of people dealing with heart attacks is strong evidence that there is a connection between cardiovascular issues and oral infection.
The Infection in Root Canal Teeth Will Become Worse after Some Time
Due to the fact that root canal teeth don’t get a blood supply, the bacteria found there are safe from the immune system. In fact, the root canal tooth infection will intensify after some time because the gum tissue supports the growth of bacteria.
It’s good to know that few other studies have confirmed that pathogenic bacteria found in root canals eliminate the white blood cells which should actually kill them. Additionally, the bacteria can stay safe from the activity of your immune system by:
- Immobilizing the white blood cells and antibodies
- Mimicking the body’s own healthy bacteria which are not targeted by white blood cells (bacterial mimicry)
- Creating sticky biofilms
Making the Right Decision
What you should know is that the main reason of cavities and infected teeth is closely associated with your diet. Consumption of too much sugar is the main problem.
In case you are practicing a poor diet, your immune system will suffer and in case this system is weak, the bacteria can cause more damage. But, is it a good idea to remove all root canal teeth? Dr. Kulacz disagrees.
People should not reject modern dentistry only because a small part of it is probably wrong. Claiming that removal of root canal teeth can protect you from diseases is not true. The key is to achieve balance.
So, in case you are planning on having a root canal procedure, assess the information and evaluate your personal situation like the possible health risks and after that, make a decision.
One alternative solution is to give ozone therapy a try before the root canal. This special therapy is usually done with the help of a syringe injected directly into the tooth’s base. Keep in mind that you will have to visit the dental office a few times before the infection is stopped. It turns out that ozone can destroy infectious materials.
Many dentists were able to avoid a root canal with this therapy. But, in case the pulp tissue is destroyed by the infection, ozone won’t work. In any case, this is a safe, affordable procedure so you might give it a try.
In case you have made up your mind and you are going for tooth extraction instead of a root canal, there are a few different solutions to restore the missing tooth. The most affordable and most popular solution is to use a partial denture/removable appliance. The only downside is that you have to remove it at night and clean it regularly. This is an almost non-invasive solution for missing teeth.
Another popular, but more costly solution is to get a bridge. The teeth that surround the missing tooth are carefully prepared for crowns and the lost tooth is simply attached to the remaining teeth. This is a permanent solution. There is one disadvantage related to this procedure – the dentist will have to remove healthy enamel from the adjacent teeth. This can increase the risk of dental problems in the future.
Dental Implants as an Effective Solution
The last solution in cases like this is a dental implant. In this case, the patient gets a screw which is inserted directly into the jaw bone after three to six months, once the dentist is sure that it will act as a safe base. After that, a tooth is made atop of the implant. So, this implant acts as a root and the crown acts like a tooth. This is a great solution, but it comes with certain downsides too.
To start with, in case you opt for a titanium implant, you will be putting a piece of metal in the jaw bone and this can lead to the battery or galvanic response if you have other metals in the oral cavity. It is not uncommon for patients to experience tissue toxicity or allergy as a result of that.
This is something that can hurt your health in general. So, in case you want a dental implant made of titanium, perform an allergy test to metals found in the implant. People that are sensitive to metals should probably avoid this solution.
Many experts, including Dr. Kulacz, recommend zirconium implants because they don’t come with metallic ions which are part of titanium implants.
But, in case the implant is inserted into the bone where a root canal was conducted in the past and the bone was not cleaned completely and thoroughly, there is a chance that the bone is infected. In other words, you are practically inserting an implant in an infected bone which is bad.
When dentists are removing root canal tooth, they must get rid of the periodontal ligament, (the small sling that keeps the tooth attached to the jawbone), a small part of bone around the area and socket bone or lamina dura (the support of the existing tooth). They do this with the help of a special, round, slow bur as well as with irrigation and sterile sealing. This is the only way to protect the health of the bone.
In case the dentist manages to do this in the right way, they will eliminate the infection, and provide a proper amount of blood circulation in the jaw bone (accelerating the healing process). This, in turn, will result in a healthy and healed bone unaffected by infections.
This is a good place to put an implant on. If you want to check traces of possible residual infection you should perform tissue and bacterial cultures biopsy. These results will come fast so there is no need to this in a hurry.
A Problem Related to Dental Implants
Another common issue related to dental implants is gum disease. An inflammation or an infection located in the gums is almost the same as having an inflammation or infection of the root canal tooth or the jaw bone. Natural, healthy teeth come with a barrier that protects the surrounding bone from bacteria migration.
According to studies, they are high in fibers from the gum. These fibers go into the root and the bone which protects the bone area from the bacteria. Obviously, dental implants cannot create such barriers. All they get is a sticky coating created by the gum which is usually formed around the post that keeps the crown in place.
In order to keep the coating in good shape, patients must keep excellent oral hygiene. This will keep them safe from inflammation which can loosen the tissue located around their tooth. In case you are dealing with gum disease and you are not cleaning the post of the implant properly, the gum disease will spread even faster compared to gum disease around natural healthy teeth. So, in case you have a dental implant, it is crucial to maintain good oral hygiene or you will have to deal with serious gum issues in the near future.
The Necrotic Tissues Can Lead to Dental Issues
As you are probably aware, a root canal tooth is completely dead. This is just dead tissue which should not stay in your mouth. In case you have appendicitis, surgeons won’t isolate and seal it inside you and leave it like that. They remove it from the body. For some reason, dentists are not practicing this when it comes to root canal tooth.
Dr, Kulacz says that many patients, who have visited him, were able to solve even chronic health problems when they extracted their infected root canal teeth. Of course, they also needed some time to heal the infection. It’s worth mentioning that Dr. Weston Price has reproduced human diseases in lab rabbits by putting human root canal tooth under their skin.
The American Dental Association is simply ignoring the work of Dr. Price because they believe that it was not controlled well and that he used too much bacteria in the process. But, they are wrong. Dr. Price used an adequate amount of bacteria and one root canal tooth.
So, if they do this again today they will get the same results. On the other hand, they claim that they have done the same experiment and the results were inconclusive. But, there is no official record of such study and after Dr. Kulacz sent an email he didn’t get an answer. This means only one thing – they are ignoring the facts.