Holistic dentist in Clearwater, FL explains what you should know about root canal treatment
In the United States, root canals are one of the most common dental procedures – in fact, it is estimated that over 40,000 are performed each day! While root canals have traditionally been described by dentists as a great way to save your natural tooth after it has been severely damaged or infected, at Behm Natural Dentistry in Clearwater, FL, we take a more cautious approach to restoring your oral health when a tooth has been significantly compromised. Below, our natural dentist explains what you should know about root canal treatment and why we suggest alternative options for keeping your mouth – and the rest of your body – healthy.
The hidden dangers of root canals
To understand why we don’t recommend root canal therapy, it helps to first explain how root canals work and what is left in your mouth after a root canal procedure. A root canal is typically recommended by dentists or endodontists to preserve a natural tooth that has been damaged by traumatic injury, deep decay, a severe chip or crack, or infection in the inner structures of the tooth. Any of these conditions can lead to intense pain and most patients are willing to do anything to stop it! During a root canal, the doctor removes the contents of the inner pulp chamber of the tooth, including the nerves and blood vessels, and then re-fills the tooth with a material called gutta percha. The tooth is then sealed and capped with a crown.
While this procedure eliminates the pain for patients because the nerve in the tooth has been removed, it cannot completely remove toxins and bacteria. It is simply impossible to remove 100 percent of the infected material and every single bacterium. Furthermore, it is not possible to create a perfect, complete seal on the tooth after it has been opened, which leads to the possibility of even further infiltration of bacteria into the treated tooth.
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Over time, these bacteria are free to grow and multiply in and surrounding the tooth, and since there is no nerve remaining in the tooth, patients do not sense pain if the infection grows. These bacteria can then enter the bloodstream to cause systemic problems throughout your entire body. The oral-systemic health connection is well documented – for example, it has been shown that the bacteria associated with gum disease are linked to a whole host of negative health problems, including deadly conditions such as:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory problems
- High blood pressure
Infection is not the only potential danger of root canals. The material used in the filling of the root canal can stimulate an immune response, which can cause patients to feel less than their best, and cystic lesions and scar tissue can form at the site of the root canal to affect your long-term oral health.
Root canal alternatives
At Behm Natural Dentistry, prevention of dental disease is our number one priority, and we consider avoiding the need for a root canal to be the best alternative! Your greatest chance of never needing a root canal is to maintain good cleaning and hygiene practices. In addition to helping educate patients on proper home care and brushing techniques, we encourage patients to come in twice per year for routine check-ups and professional cleanings. With the state-of-the-art equipment used for cleaning and hygiene in our office, patients leave with a sparkly clean smile.
But life happens, and sometimes despite our best efforts, a tooth becomes severely compromised. It may be due to an injury such as a fall or even a hit to the mouth that you received many years ago, or genetics or other issues may predispose your teeth to decay. Whatever the reason, it is important to know that you have options when it comes to treating the affected tooth. No two patients are alike, so our natural dentist thoroughly evaluates each patient individually to recommend the best approach for their specific oral health situation before recommending a treatment plan. In many cases, extracting the tooth with a simple and painless procedure can be a great choice, as it fully eliminates the source of infection. Patients can then have the tooth replaced with a strong and durable zirconia implant, a partial denture, or a bridge that is fabricated from biocompatible materials.
Stop suffering and call us today
If you have tooth pain but have been avoiding seeing a dentist for fear of being told you need a root canal, there is no need to delay any longer. At Behm Natural Dentistry, we take your health seriously and will only recommend treatments that will restore health, rather than detract from it in the future. Our office is conveniently located in Clearwater, FL, and can be reached at 727-888-6929. Call us today!