I Last Monday, March 21, I had two root canal extractions and cavitations cleaned up. This was a long time coming, and I only wish I had done it sooner. I'm on the verge of anger that these root canals were not only allowed in the first place, but have lasted this long now understanding how harmful they are:
"Research has demonstrated that 100 percent of all root canals result in residual infection due to the imperfect seal that allows bacteria to penetrate. The toxins given off by these bacteria are more toxic than mercury. These toxins can cause systemic diseases of the heart, kidney, uterus, and nervous and endocrine systems." ~Dr. Edward Arana, D.D.S.
I had one root canal when I was 18, and the other I got in my mid-20s I believe. Additionally, I've had wisdom teeth removed and this procedure wasn't done properly so there were unhealed holes in the jawbone, known as cavitations, and these can become (and did become) rampant with infection.
"Dentists are taught in dental school that once they pull a tooth, the patient's body heals the resulting hole in the jawbone. However, approximately 95 percent of all tooth extractions result in a pathologic defect called a cavitation... Cavitations occur when bone is deprived of its blood supply and dies. When the bone dies a hole in the bone develops, literally a cavity and into this hole migrate anaerobic bacteria"~Photos and more here.
This is a descriptive definition and explanation of cavitations; the concept of cavitations was confusing to me at first but now I get it.
In fact, all of this was confusing—you mean conventional dentists remove wisdom teeth and don't clean up properly, AND they allow dead organs in the form of a root canal to remain in the mouth knowing full well that over time these could harm our health and cause disease!? WTF! This seems ludicrous and unethical.
Put it this way—if you get an organ transplant you generally wouldn't leave the old, dead organ that failed in the body, would you? (Although, I guess a failed kidney is usually left behind after a transplant due to complications of removing it.) Teeth seem to be an exception—we kill them off, and leave the debris. Teeth are organs with "pulp" in their center made of living connective tissue and cells, with blood supply, nerves, and all. During a root canal all this living pulp is removed and what's left is a dead organ in the form of bone. Then a crown is put on the tooth, but the seal between tooth and gum is imperfect so junk seeps in over time, meanwhile the dead tooth becomes chronically infected no matter what. You can see how over time this can be a problem!
In addition to the localized infection in the mouth, our teeth also have strong connections with other parts of the body. Each tooth is associated with which one of more organs, body parts, joints, endocrine glands, sinuses and more. Look at the Meridian Tooth Chart, and you can see the relationships:
If you can't figure out which number is which tooth in your mouth, this is a cool interactive chart with even more depth on the tooth-organ relationships.
Little did I know my root canals and cavitations have been putting me in a deficit of health for 10+ years—and no matter how hard I work to live healthfully, eat clean, mitigate stress, avoid overtraining, avoid environmental toxins, perform better, recover faster, or whatever it is, these infections have not only been holding me back from full health, they've also cause my health to deteriorate. The lurking infections don't hurt and you can't feel them—they're a silent attacker—but years and years of this compromises the immune system and affects certain organs, functions and systems a la the Meridian Tooth Chart.
My root canals were teeth numbers 2 and 31—associated with pancreas, stomach, breast, bladder (2); and lung, large intestine, illeocecal (31). If you count the wisdom teeth cavitations, numbers 1 and 32, these are associated with small intestine, duodenum and heart.
You can buy into the Meridian Chart or not, but here's the thing: Gut issues have plagued me for years and no matter how disciplined I am with diet, supplementing and healing protocols, things just won't totally heal. I make incredible progress followed by an incredible setback, and/or we make discovery of "new" bugs or old ones that never fully healed (bacteria and fungal infections). Multiple practitioners have told me, "You're just a really tough, stubborn case." Then I look at the organs associated with my infected teeth, and I'm no expert on this matter, but and there's an undeniable connection.
Back in 2013, Dr. David Minkoff was the first to tell me that old dental work and the state of my mouth could be at the root of my problems. He even helped me find a holistic biological dentist in my area. I did an initial appointment and $300+ later was told it was probably a good idea to get the teeth removed, but that it was going to cost more than $3,000—money I couldn't really cough up at that point. I also wasn't fully convinced then that the dental issues could be so incredibly destructive, so I let it go.
Fast forward to now. Recently, I had some health stuff going on that was odd and made zero sense based on how I am living my life these days, so I reopened the case on the old dental work, going back to the same dentist. This time I worked directly with Dr. Marvin at the Center For Natural Dentistry (before it was one of his assistant dentists), and he highly advised that I clean up this "mess," and that yes indeed it could be at the root of most if not all my issues, and/or only get worse with time.
Time to dig into the savings. I didn't want to go another day with this crap in my mouth.
I scheduled the procedure a couple weeks after my initial appointment, trying to fit it in best I could knowing we have a lot scheduled, i.e. we had plans to get SCUBA certified—so it had to be after that—and coming up is Ragnar SoCal and Boston Marathon, followed by some travel and our wedding—so I decided it would be best not to wait and do it before the races and travel. Granted, doing this procedure prior to Ragnar/Boston puts a huge damper on my training, but I don't give a shit. My health is a million gagillion times more important. There will be more years ahead to train and race, but knowing this issue was going on was something I couldn't live with ignoring any longer.
The procedure wasn't enjoyable, but Dr. Marvin is brilliant. He spent a long time with me describing the process and the meticulous attention to careful cleaning of the infected areas and making sure nothing infected was left behind. This entails a combo of tooth removal, drilling/scraping (or whatever they do, it sounds horrible), sanitizing with Ozone, and the coolest thing: injecting my own platelet-rich fibrin into the holes for accelerated healing and tissue regeneration. This meant I had a blood draw prior to the procedure, in which they took seven vials, spun those, handed the batch of tubes over to me, and I transported them to Dr. Marvin's office to be used during the procedure.
During the procedure, Dr. Marvin was practically cursing as he extracted the infected teeth, bone and tissue, discovering how bad it really way—he's pretty passionate about what he does. Then he said, "Your body is going to love not having these in your mouth!" I have pictures of the teeth and infected tissue/bone that was removed, and you don't need to be a rocket scientist to see the deterioration and infection. It's pretty gross though so I won't post it on this blog (if you want to see LMK in comments, and I'll email you).
The procedure was on a Monday, so for a couple days I was on the mush/liquid diet, and even had to cancel a podcast and client calls because I honestly couldn't talk well at all, the gauze didn't help... The first 12 hours or so, or until the bleeding stops, you have to keep a wad of gauze over the holes to help a clot form. Besides being uncomfortable, I wasn't in a lot of pain from this and I've always been impressed at how fast I heal. I only woke up in pain the first night, after that slept like a baby and never had an issue. I also do NOT take pain killers, but I did use arnica and ice.
Eating was fun at first ;) The first night for dinner (the day of the procedure) I cooked up a bunch of broccoli, mushrooms and veggies in bone broth, then put that in the vitamix for a broccoli-mushroom soup, adding collagen powder. It was delicious, and something I'd cook anyway. I also made some mean breakfast bowls of kabocha squash-avocado-coconut milk-collagen-cinnamon-nutmeg-vanilla, which came out tasting like pumpkin pie filling. Plus green juices, more bone broth, soups, etc.... I was just fine with the diet. That said, within a day I was able to upgrade to more soft-solid foods like chicken, fish, roasted carrots, avocado mash and sweet potatoes. By mid-week I was feeling like I could eat nearly anything.
Meanwhile, NO running for a week or two. Shoot. Over the weekend I did make it out walking and tested a slow jog--no go, I could tell it was not a wise idea and made the healing areas feel too throbby. I've had to accept that this is just my situation right now and not get too down that I haven't had better training. And in all actuality, I'm totally ok with it. Health first!
Did I feel better right away? Hard to tell. Dr. Marvin said healing time varies. Some people feel better instantly, some people it takes several weeks. I can't say I feel like a new person, but my gut has been incredibly strong and normal feeling since, and I've had a few other positive signs. I had a couple instants of testing some foods that normally upset my system and they were fine.
Maybe this was the final piece of the puzzle that was missing?
If you have one or more root canals, metal/amalgam fillings, or have had wisdom teeth removed by a "conventional" dentist, I'd highly suggest finding a holistic biological dentist who can do an exam to see if you're at risk, or a functional practitioner to take a look at your health from a holistic standpoint, i.e. test for immune function, infections, mercury toxicity, etc. If you have root canals I'd say without a doubt find a way to get them out asap! But only by a qualified holistic biological dentist who will do this procedure safely (some conventional dentists may remove the old tooth but not sanitize and clean up the infected area, then they seal it back up and the infection remains. Ugh.)
If you're in SoCal, check out Dr. Marvin at the Center For Natural Dentistry in Encinitas. I can get referrals for the LA area too if anyone inquires.
Bottom line is if you want to get closer to optimal living you have to look at all aspects, especially the condition of your mouth and past dental work you've had done.
Why You Should Avoid Root Canals Like the Plague
Root Canals and Jawbone Cavitations
Dr. Westin Price: Holistic Healthcare & Dental Cavitation Surgery
Dr. Westin Price: Root Canal Dangers
If you want more info on the evils of root canals read this: