Root Canal information
What is Root Canal, or "endodontic"
is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont”
is Greek for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment treats
the inside of the tooth.
understand endodontic treatment, it helps to know something
about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under
the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is
a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels,
nerves, and connective tissue and creates the surrounding
hard tissues of the tooth during development.
The pulp extends
from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots where
it connects to the tissues surrounding the root. The pulp
is important during a tooth's growth and development. However,
once a tooth is fully mature it can survive without the
pulp, because the tooth continues to be nourished by the
tissues surrounding it.
Why would I need an endodontic
procedure (i.e. root canal)?
Endodontic treatment (root canal) is necessary
when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes
inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can
have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures
on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition,
an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth
has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or
infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to
our product will save you money:
We believe in effective natural methods to treat chronic
illness, not surgery. Our products are designed to
treat the underlying infection or abscess and keep
it infection-free. We suggest that before you go in
for your root canal, you try our product for 3-5 days
and see if the pain goes away. Oftentimes,
our clients have found their needs
for root canal eliminated due to the Ascended
Health Oral Regenerative Elixir. Depending
on the severity of infection, your dentist may still
wish to proceed with a root canal. Many of our clients
have remarked how their need for a root canal was
eliminated entirely, because the underlying infection
was cleared up. Your results, however, can and will
vary. Because each person's situation is different
and due to FDA regulations, we cannot promise anything
but your satisfaction.
What are the signs of needing
Signs to look for include pain, prolonged
sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing,
discoloration of the tooth, and swelling, drainage and tenderness
in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gingival tissues.
Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.
How does endodontic treatment
save the tooth?
The endodontist removes the inflamed or
infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of
the canal, a channel inside the root, then fills and seals
the space. Afterwards, you will return to your dentist,
who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth
to protect and restore it to full function. After restoration,
the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Will I feel pain during
or after the procedure?
Many endodontic procedures are performed
to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation
or infection. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most
patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure.
For the first
few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive,
especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure.
This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or
prescription medications. Follow your endodontist's instructions
Your tooth may continue to feel slightly
different from your other teeth for some time after your
endodontic treatment is completed. However, if you have
severe pain or pressure or pain that lasts more than a few
days, call your endodontist.
can often be performed in one or two visits and involves
the following steps:
1. The endodontist
examines and x-rays the tooth, then administers local anesthetic.
After the tooth is numb, the endodontist places a small
protective sheet called a 'dental dam'over the area
to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva
during the procedure.
2. The endodontist
makes an opening in the crown of the tooth. Very small instruments
are used to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root
canals and to shape the space for filling.
3. After the
space is cleaned and shaped, the endodontist fills the root
canals with a biocompatible material, usually a rubber-like
material called 'gutta-percha.'The gutta-percha is
placed with an adhesive cement to ensure complete sealing
of the root canals. In most cases, a temporary filling is
placed to close the opening. The temporary filling will
be removed by your dentist before the tooth is restored.
4. After the
final visit with your endodontist, you must return to your
dentist to have a crown or other restoration placed on the
tooth to protect and restore it to full function.
If the tooth
lacks sufficient structure to hold the restoration in place,
your dentist or endodontist may place a post inside the
tooth. Ask your dentist or endodontist for more details
about the specific restoration planned for your tooth.
much will the procedure cost?
The cost varies depending
on how complex the problem is and which tooth is affected. Molars
are more difficult to treat, the fee is usually more. Most dental
insurance policies provide some coverage for endodontic treatment.
Generally, endodontic treatment
and restoration of the natural tooth are less expensive than the
alternative of having the tooth extracted. An extracted tooth must
be replaced with a bridge or implant to restore chewing function
and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. These procedures tend
to cost more than endodontic treatment and appropriate restoration.
With root canal treatment you save your natural teeth and money.
the tooth need any special care or additional treatment after endodontic
You should not chew or
bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your
dentist. The unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture, so you
should see your dentist for a full restoration as soon as possible.
Otherwise, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing,
flossing, and regular checkups and cleanings.
Most endodontically treated
teeth last as long as other natural teeth. In a few cases, a tooth
that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or the pain
continues. Occasionally, the tooth may become painful or diseased
months or even years after successful treatment. Often when this
occurs, redoing the endodontic procedure can save the tooth.
causes an endodontically treated tooth to need additional treatment?
New trauma, deep decay,
or a loose, cracked or broken filling can cause new infection in
your tooth. In some cases, the endodontist may discover additional
very narrow or curved canals that could not be treated during the
all teeth be treated endodontically?
Most teeth can be treated.
Occasionally, a tooth can't be saved because the root canals are
not accessible, the root is severely fractured, the tooth doesn't
have adequate bone support, or the tooth cannot be restored. However,
advances in endodontics are making it possible to save teeth that
even a few years ago would have been lost. When endodontic treatment
is not effective, endodontic surgery may be able to save the tooth.
DO ROOT CANALS POSE HEALTH THREAT?
- an interview by Dr. Joseph Mercola D.D.S.
with George Meinig, D.D.S.
Dr. Meinig brings a most curious perspective to an expose of latent
dangers of root canal therapy - fifty years ago he was one
of the founders of the American Association of Endodontists
(root canal specialists)! So he's filled his share of root canals.
And when he wasn't filling canals himself, he was teaching the technique
to dentists across the country at weekend seminars and clinics.
About two years ago, having recently retired, he decided to read
all 1174 pages of the detailed research of Dr. Weston Price, (D.D.S).
Dr. Meinig was startled and shocked. Here was valid documentation
of systemic illnesses resulting from latent infections lingering
in filled roots. He has since written a book, "Root
Canal Cover-Up EXPOSED - Many Illnesses Result", and
is devoting himself to radio, TV, and personal appearances before
groups in an attempt to blow the whistle and alert the public.
MJ Please explain
what the problem is with root canal therapy.
GM First, let me note that my book is based on
Dr. Weston Price's twenty-five years of careful, impeccable research.
He led a 60-man team of researchers whose findings - suppressed
until now rank right up there with the greatest medical discoveries
of all time. This is not the usual medical story of a prolonged
search for the difficult-to-find causative agent of some devastating
disease. Rather, it's the story of how a "cast of millions"
(of bacteria) become entrenched inside the structure of teeth and
end up causing the largest number of diseases ever traced to a single
MJ What diseases? Can you give us
GM Yes, a high percentage of chronic degenerative
diseases can originate from root filled teeth. The most frequent
were heart and circulatory diseases and he found 16 different causative
agents for these. The next most common diseases were those of the
joints, arthritis and rheumatism. In third place - but almost tied
for second - were diseases of the brain and nervous system. After
that, any disease you can name might (and in some cases has) come
from root filled teeth.
Let me tell you about the research itself. Dr. Price undertook
his investigations in 1900. He continued until 1925, and published
his work in two volumes in 1923. In 1915 the National Dental Association
(which changed its name a few years later to The American Dental
Association) was so impressed with his work that they appointed
Dr. Price their first Research Director. His Advisory Board read
like a Who's Who in medicine and dentistry for that era. They represented
the fields of bacteriology, pathology, rheumatology, surgery, chemistry,
At one point in his writings Dr. Price made this observation: "Dr.
Frank Billings (M.D.), probably more than any other American internist,
is due credit for the early recognition of the importance of streptococcal
focal infections in systemic involvements."
What's really unfortunate here is that very valuable information
was covered up and totally buried some 70 years ago by a minority
group of autocratic doctors who just didn't believe or couldn't
grasp - the focal infection theory.
MJ What is the "focal infection"
GM This states that germs from a central focal
infection - such as teeth, teeth roots, inflamed gum tissues, or
maybe tonsils - metastasize to hearts, eyes, lungs, kidneys, or
other organs, glands and tissues, establishing new areas of the
same infection. Hardly theory any more, this has been proven and
demonstrated many times over. It's 100% accepted today. But it was
revolutionary thinking during World War I days, and the early 1920's!
Today, both patients and physicians have been "brain washed"
to think that infections are less serious because we now have antibiotics.
Well, yes and no. In the case of root-filled teeth, the no longer-living
tooth lacks a blood supply to its interior. So circulating antibiotics
don't faze the bacteria living there because they can't get at them.
MJ You're assuming that ALL root-filled
teeth harbor bacteria and/or other infective agents?
GM Yes. No matter what material or technique is
used - and this is just as true today - the root filling shrinks
minutely, perhaps microscopically. Further and this is key - the
bulk of solid appearing teeth, called the dentin, actually consists
of miles of tiny tubules. Microscopic organisms lurking in the maze
of tubules simply migrate into the interior of the tooth and set
up housekeeping. A filled root seems to be a favorite spot to start
a new colony.
One of the things that makes this difficult to understand is that
large, relatively harmless bacteria common to the mouth, change
and adapt to new conditions. They shrink in size to fit the cramped
quarters and even learn how to exist (and thrive!) on very little
food. Those that need oxygen mutate and become able to get along
without it. In the process of adaptation these formerly friendly
"normal" organisms become pathogenic (capable of producing
disease) and more virulent (stronger) and they produce much more
Today's bacteriologists are confirming the discoveries of the Price
team of bacteriologists. Both isolated in root canals the same strains
of streptococcus, staphylococcus and spirochetes.
MJ Is everyone who has ever had a
root canal filled made ill by it?
GM No. We believe now that every root canal filling
does leak and bacteria do invade the structure. But the variable
factor is the strength of the person's immune system. Some healthy
people are able to control the germs that escape from their teeth
into other areas of the body. We think this happens because their
immune system lymphocytes (white blood cells) and other disease
fighters aren't constantly compromised by other ailments. In other
words, they are able to prevent those new colonies from taking hold
in other tissues throughout the body. But over time, most people
with root filled teeth do seem to develop some kinds of systemic
symptoms they didn't have before.
MJ It's really difficult to grasp
that bacteria are imbedded deep in the structure of seemingly-hard,
solid looking teeth.
GM I know. Physicians and dentists have that same
problem, too. You really have to visualize the tooth structure -
all of those microscopic tubules running through the dentin. In
a healthy tooth, those tubules transport a fluid that carries nourishment
to the inside. For perspective, if the tubules of a front single-root
tooth, were stretched out on the ground they'd stretch for three
A root filled tooth no longer has any fluid circulating through
it, but the maze of tubules remains. The anaerobic bacteria that
live there seem remarkably safe from antibiotics. The bacteria can
migrate out into surrounding tissue where they can "hitch hike"
to other locations in the body via the bloodstream. The new location
can be any organ or gland or tissue, and the new colony will be
the next focus of infection in a body plagued by recurrent or chronic
All of the "building up" done to try to enhance the patient's
ability to fight infections - to strengthen their immune system
- is only a holding action. Many patients won't be well until the
source of infection - the root canal tooth - is removed.
MJ I don't doubt what you're saying,
but can you tell us more about how Dr. Price could be sure that
arthritis or other systemic conditions and illnesses really originated
in the teeth - or in a single tooth?
GM Yes. Many investigations start with the researcher
just being curious about something - and then being scientifically
careful enough to discover an answer, and then prove it's so, many
times over. Dr. Price's first case is very well documented. He removed
an infected tooth from a woman who suffered from severe arthritis.
As soon as he finished with the patient, he implanted the tooth
beneath the skin of a healthy rabbit. Within 48 hours the rabbit
was crippled with arthritis!
Further, once the tooth was removed the patient's arthritis improved
dramatically. This clearly suggested that the presence of the infected
tooth was a causative agent for both that patient's and the rabbit's
[Editor's Note - Here's the story of that first patient from Dr.
Meinig's book: "(Dr. Price) had a sense that, even when (root
canal therapy) appeared successful, teeth containing root fillings
remained infected. That thought kept prying on his mind, haunting
him each time a patient consulted him for relief from some severe
debilitating disease for which the medical profession could find
no answer. Then one day while treating a woman who had been confined
to a wheelchair for six years from severe arthritis, he recalled
how bacterial cultures were taken from patients who were ill and
then inoculated into animals in an effort to reproduce the disease
and test the effectiveness of drugs on the disease.
With this thought in mind, although her (root filled) tooth looked
fine, he advised this arthritic patient, to have it extracted. He
told her he was going to find out what it was about this root filled
tooth that was responsible for her suffering. "All dentists
know that sometimes arthritis and other illnesses clear up if bad
teeth are extracted. However, in this case, all of her teeth appeared
in satisfactory condition and the one containing this rootcanal
filling showed no evidence or symptoms of infection. Besides, it
looked normal on x-ray pictures.
"Immediately after Dr. Price extracted the tooth he dismissed
the patient and embedded her tooth under the skin of a rabbit. In
two days the rabbit developed the same kind of crippling arthritis
as the patient - and in ten days it died.
"..The patient made a successful recovery after the tooth's
removal! She could then walk without a cane and could even do fine
needlework again. That success led Dr. Price to advise other patients,
afflicted with a wide variety of treatment defying illnesses, to
have any root filled teeth out."]
In the years that followed, he repeated this procedure many hundreds
of times. He later implanted only a portion of the tooth to see
if that produced the same results. It did. He then dried the tooth,
ground it into powder and injected a tiny bit into several rabbits.
Same results, this time producing the same symptoms in multiple
Dr. Price eventually grew cultures of the bacteria and injected
them into the animals. Then he went a step further. He put the solution
containing the bacteria through a filter small enough to catch the
bacteria. So when he injected the resulting liquid it was free of
any infecting bacteria. Did the test animals develop the illness?
Yes. The only explanation was that the liquid had to contain toxins
from the bacteria, and the toxins were also capable of causing disease.
Dr. Price became curious about which was the more potent infective
agent, the bacteria or the toxin. He repeated that last experiment,
injecting half the animals with the toxin-containing liquid and
half of them with the bacteria from the filter. Both groups became
ill, but the group injected with the toxins got sicker and died
sooner than the bacteria injected animals.
MJ That's amazing. Did the rabbits
always develop the same disease the patient had?
GM Mostly, yes. If the patient had heart disease
the rabbit got heart disease. If the patient had kidney disease
the rabbit got kidney disease, and so on. Only occasionally did
a rabbit develop a different disease - and then the pathology would
be quite similar, in a different location.
MJ If extraction proves necessary
for anyone reading this, do you want to summarize what's special
about the extraction technique?
GM Just pulling the tooth is not enough when removal
proves necessary. Dr. Price found bacteria in the tissues and bone
just adjacent to the tooth's root. So we now recommend slow-speed
drilling with a burr, to remove one millimeter of the entire bony
socket. The purpose is to remove the periodontal ligament (which
is always infected with toxins produced by streptococcus bacteria
living in the dentin tubules) and the first millimeter of bone that
lines the socket (which is usually infected).
There's a whole protocol involved, including irrigating with sterile
saline to assure removal of the contaminated bone chips, and treating
the socket to stimulate and encourage infection-free healing. I
describe the procedure in detail, step by step, in my book [pages
185 and 186].
MJ Perhaps we should
back up and talk about oral health - to PREVENT needing an extraction.
Caries or inflamed gums seem much more common than root canals.
Do they pose any threat?
GM Yes, they absolutely do. But let me point out
that we can't talk about oral health apart from total health. The
problem is that patients and dentists alike haven't come around
to seeing that dental caries reflect systemic - meaning "whole
body" - illness. Dentists have learned to restore teeth so
expertly that both they and their patients have come to regard tooth
decay as a trivial matter. It isn't.
Small cavities too often become big cavities. Big cavities too
often lead to further destruction and the eventual need for root
MJ Then talk to us about prevention.
GM The only scientific way to prevent tooth decay
is through diet and nutrition. Dr. Ralph Steinman did some outstanding,
landmark research at Loma Linda University. He injected a glucose
solution into mice - into their bodies, so the glucose didn't even
touch their teeth. Then he observed the teeth for any changes. What
he found was truly astonishing. The glucose reversed the normal
flow of fluid in the dentin tubules, resulting in all of the test
animals developing severe tooth decay! Dr. Steinman demonstrated
dramatically what I said a minute ago: Dental caries reflect systemic
Let's take a closer look to see how this might happen. Once a tooth
gets infected and the cavity gets into the nerve and blood vessels,
bacteria find their way into those tiny tubules of the dentin. Then
no matter what we do by way of treatment, we're never going to completely
eradicate the bacteria hiding in the miles of tubules. In time the
bacteria can migrate through lateral canals into the surrounding
bony socket that supports the tooth. Now the host not only has a
cavity in a tooth, plus an underlying infection of supporting tissue
to deal with, but the bacteria also exude potent systemic toxins.
These toxins circulate throughout the body triggering activity by
the immune system - and probably causing the host to feel less well.
This host response can vary from just dragging around and feeling
less energetic, to overt illness - of almost any kind. Certainly,
such a person will be more vulnerable to whatever "bugs"
are going around, because his/her body is already under constant
challenge and the immune system continues to be "turned on"
by either the infective agent or its toxins - or both.
MJ What a fascinating
concept. Can you tell us more about the protective nutrition you
GM Yes. Dr. Price traveled all over the world
doing his research on primitive peoples who still lived in their
native ways. He found fourteen cultural pockets scattered all over
the globe where the natives had no access to "civilization"
- and ate no refined foods.
Dr. Price studied their diets carefully. He found they varied greatly,
but the one thing they had in common was that they ate whole, unrefined
foods. With absolutely no access to tooth brushes, floss, fluoridated
water or tooth paste, the primitive peoples studied were almost
100% free of tooth decay. Further - and not unrelated - they were
also almost 100% free of all the degenerative diseases we suffer
- problems with the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, joints, skin (allergies),
and the whole gamut of illnesses that plague Mankind. No one food
proved to be magic as a preventive food. I believe we can thrive
best by eating a wide variety of whole foods.
MJ Amazing. So by "diet and
nutrition" for oral (and total) health you meant eating a pretty
basic diet of whole foods?
GM Exactly. And no sugar or white flour. These
are (and always have been) the first culprits. Tragically, when
the primitives were introduced to sugar and white flour their superior
level of health deteriorated rapidly. This has been demonstrated
time and again. During the last sixty or more years we have added
in increasing amounts, highly refined and fabricated cereals and
boxed mixes of all kinds, soft drinks, refined vegetable oils and
a whole host of other foodless "foods". It is also during
those same years that we as a nation have installed more and more
root canal fillings - and degenerative diseases have become rampant.
I believe - and Dr. Price certainly proved to my satisfaction -
that these simultaneous factors are NOT coincidences.
MJ I certainly understand
what you are saying. But I'm still a little shocked to talk with
a dentist who doesn't stress oral hygiene.
GM Well, I'm not against oral hygiene. Of course,
hygiene practices are preventive, and help minimize the destructive
effect of our "civilized", refined diet. But the real
issue is still diet. The natives Dr. Price tracked down and studied
weren't free of cavities, inflamed gums, and degenerative diseases
because they had better tooth brushes!
It's so easy to lose sight of the significance of what Dr. Price
discovered. We tend to sweep it under the rug - we'd actually prefer
to hear that if we would just brush better, longer, or more often,
we too could be free of dental problems.
Certainly, part of the purpose of my book is to stimulate dental
research into finding a way to sterilize dentin tubules. Only then
can dentists really learn to save teeth for a lifetime. But
the bottom line remains: A primitive diet
of whole unrefined foods is the only thing that has been found to
actually prevent both tooth decay and degenerative diseases.
To order "Root Canal Cover-Up
EXPOSED - Many Illnesses Result", by Dr. Meinig, send
your check or money order (U.S. funds) for $19.95 + $2.00 shipping
($2.50 to Canada, $3.00 to other countries), California residents
add $1.45 for state sales tax. Send to Bion
Publishing, 323 E. Matilija 110-151, Ojai, CA 93023.