Alternatives to Root Canal?
Last week I noticed a little soreness in a front upper tooth. The next day, pulsing pain. The dentist took an x-ray and said “it’s either a fracture or an abscess, so you’ll either need extraction or a root canal.” Antibiotics took the pain away so we think it was an abscess.
A tooth abscess or root abscess is pus enclosed in the tissues of the jaw bone at the apex of an infected tooth‘s root(s). Usually the abscess originates from a bacterial infection that has accumulated in the soft, often dead, pulp of the tooth.” (wikipedia)
I had no pus or visible infection, but it sounds like the writing is on the wall and the tooth is dead. It’s not surprising that this tooth is abscessed since I fell on a bottle when I was one and knocked the baby tooth at this location. The adult tooth grew in without enamel and has been covered with bonding or a porcelain crown since.
I remembered hearing at the Weston A Price conference about how root canals may not be such a good thing for long term health. The internet is full of conspiracy theories about how bacteria living in the root canal treated tooth can cause health problems down the road. My dentist, a holistic practitioner, is wary of them and does not practice them herself. She does however have two in her mouth.
In the end, I think I probably will have that root canal. The problems it may cause down the road are a lower risk than the complications that could arise from extraction. I did decide to put it off a few weeks though and drive a little farther consult with the best endodontist that I could find rather than rush the procedure.
Top 10 sites/books/topics I found during a few days of research:
- Dr. Goldman has an excellent website about root canal treatment, the best I found. This Dentist does a great job of consolidating the learnings of Dr. Price with the reality that you might need a root canal.
- Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition: In addition to the book by Ramiel Nagel, there is a website with forum and a free chapter from the book. This is a great book to start with for someone who is interested in alternative health for their teeth. It’s primarily a nutritional plan that is very Paleo and WAPF friendly.
- The original Dr. Weston A Price’s Nutrition and Physical Degeneration and Dr. Meinig’s Root Canal Cover Up
- Healthy Home Economist blog – Great post about healing cavities with a lot of comments to read over.
- Google “tooth extraction complications.” After reading about the problems with having a root canal, check out some sites that describe the problems that extraction can cause. Just because you don’t find it discussed on the Root Canal scare websites doesn’t mean extraction isn’t a serious procedure.
- Homeopathic treatments (this site from Yahoo describes some of them). My dentist recommended Arnica and Hypercium for the pain.
- Holistic/Natural dentists. I can barely provide a resource for this because there really is not a good one. I cannot believe how hard it is to find good directories and reviews for dentists on the internet. This page from Cure Tooth Decay Now has some links that might help find a dentist.
- Waterpik Ultra. Water jet flossing device / oral irrigator. I’m sure it’s not necessary but I love a good toy. I expect this will increase flossing compliance and help prevent future issues. Recommended in “Cure Tooth Decay”.
- Don’t bother googling “healing a root canal” or “cured dental abscess”. You can spend 2 days looking and won’t find anything concrete. There, I saved you the trouble!
- Oil pulling (link to paleohacks tag) -“Ancient” practice of swishing oil around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes a day. “The oil pulls out toxins from your gum tissues and helps remove deeply embedded debris.” Seems like it could help. Probably couldn’t hurt. Recommended in “Cure Tooth Decay”.