Root canal decisions Part 2: Dead Teeth?
In Part 1 of this two part article about root canals, I told the story of my first, traumatic, root canal when I was 17. I still have that root canal right in the front of my mouth. Over the years it gradually became discolored: I called it my grey tooth and would try to hide it in photos. It felt like the most visible marker of my bad teeth I could feel it growing weaker and tried to avoid biting into crunchy food on that side.
Then, about 8 years ago, it snapped in half on a cookie. Now my grey tooth was a blackened stump hovering over a gap. It wasn't painful, it wasn't dangerous, but the shame was overpowering. To my mind, nothing screamed 'desperately poor' like a missing front tooth.
As soon as I could get to a dentist, I got a crown which involved inserting a post through the stump roots, into the gum, crowned to match the rest of my teeth. Good news: no more grey tooth. Bad news: the crown was even more fragile than the dead tooth and snapped off within a few months, leaving me with a blackened stump/steel post/gap in the middle of my mouth, in the middle of a job search.
I had to find a new dentist and borrow money to pay for another crown. With the new crown I avoided biting cookies, carrots and apples but within months it had broken on a piece of toast. I asked for the replacement crown to be made shorter for better stability, and it has only needed to be replaced once in seven years. I don't mind the short tooth, even though gives me a lisp.
Root canals and general health
As I've researched more deeply, I've become increasingly aware of how a root canal can affect one's general health. Some people can tolerate a root canal well, at least for some time. However, root canals have been implicated in the onset of degenerative diseases such as arthritis, heart valve problems, breast cancer, gall bladder disease, eczema, cystitis, colitis, migraines, sinusitis, hypertension coronary artery disease and thyroid disease. Many people have found that debilitating symptoms such as problems with digestion, fatigue, headaches or skin, that couldn't be diagnosed or cured conventionally actually disappeared when they had a root canaled tooth removed.
My overall health is pretty good but I know that the longer a root canal is in place, the more one is at risk. My first root canal is now over 30 years old. It is in the upper left incisor, which relates energetically to the bladder, genitals, urinary tract, rectum and anal canal. I've had a low level of inexplicable, incurable, chronic problems with those organs all my adult life. I recently reached the conclusion that the benefits of removing my root canaled teeth are greater than my fears about the cost, the pain, the shame and the awkwardness of filling the gap. I'm ready to begin the process of putting together a holistic support team, preparing my body for the removal and budgeting for the cost.
Considering the future of your existing root canal
If, like me, you have root canaled teeth in your mouth right now, what should you do? Some professionals will advise removal in every case. However, many people can cope with one for years, or at least find the consequences of root canal toxicity tolerable for years.
The first question to ask about your existing root canal is whether you have symptoms that suggest toxic influences from the root canal. If you have a degenerative disease or symptoms in related body parts for that tooth, there is a strong likelihood of a root canal connection. If your root canal seems to be connected to serious health problems in the rest of your body, removing the tooth may alleviate your symptoms or may even cure the disease. Conventional medical tests will probably not pick up whether the tooth is connected, but alternative tests such as Applied Kineseology or AEV (Electro-acupuncture) or consulting with a Medical Intuitive or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner may help give you some guidance.
If there are no obvious symptoms, but you are concerned about future risks, I recommend downloading the Root Canal Questions Checklist. This is my checklist of questions to ask both before getting a new root canal and when considering removing one. Most of the questions are the same in both situations, and the Checklist includes a separate discussion for how to interpret your answers when considering a removal.
watch this space
Removing an existing root canal means extracting the tooth. You will have to choose between an implant, a partial (false tooth) or leaving a gap. None of these is an ideal option and for most people losing a biting surface or gaining an unsightly gap in your smile is a major barrier to choosing to remove a dead tooth, especially if there are no obvious symptoms of toxicity.
I haven't decided yet how to fill the gap when I have my old root canal removed. I'll discuss the pros and cons of my different options in the next post in this series.