by Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN
Each day, after all clients have been seen and all staff have gone home for the night, I like to spend the quiet time reviewing charts. I read the digital x-rays and the comments from each client’s last visit. I analyze where each is with his or her dental health. I consider each person’s dental background – his or her history and incoming statements about their dental health goals.
One topic commonly comes up with our incoming clients. It involves the number of root canal filled teeth present in their mouths.
Some are concerned about the links between root canals and illness. If they have seen chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturists or other doctors and health care providers well-versed in integrated and complementary medicine, they are usually adamant about having their root canal teeth taken out. This is especially so if they suffer from serious medical issues.
During our post-exam conference, one of the first questions they ask is, “Why did I need root canals in the first place?”
There are two major causes, and the first starts with decay or caries (cavities). These infections can penetrate well into the tooth. They can go through the enamel and into the underlying dentin, or they can go through the dentin and onto the root’s surface. When this happens, the endotoxins released by microbes in the decay migrate through the dentinal tubules and into the pulpal complex. There are miles of these tiny tubules within each tooth. When the endotoxins move in, the immune system is alerted to send white blood cells to fight them. Eventually, the blood vessels and nerves within the dental pulp experience a chronic inflammation known as pulpitis. If left untreated, the pulpitis becomes chronic. Necrosis, or lack of blood supply, then sets in, literally reducing the once vital tissues into dried tissue. The tooth is dead, and a root canal is commonly performed in a futile effort to “save” it.
The second cause involves the treatment of the caries themselves. When a dentist drills a tooth, heat is created from all the friction. Though it will be cooled some as water or air is applied, quite a bit of heat remains. Moreover, the spinning of the carbide- or diamond-tipped bur creates a vortex similar to a tornado. This can – and does – suck out the protein processes that are within each dentinal tubule. Such empty tubules are called dead tracts. Repeated dental treatments, such as filling or crown replacements, thus become more detrimental to pulpal health. Eventually, this tooth meets the same fate as the toxicated tooth described above, again leading to a root canal.
And here is the key: the greater the number of restorative dental treatments, the greater the abuse of and trauma to the affected tooth – and the greater chance of its becoming a candidate for a root canal.
In his standard textbook Pathways of the Pulp, Stephen Cohen, DDS, writes at length about the vulnerability of the pulpal complex to such damage.
Another natural issue of concern is that, as we age, the size or volume of the pulp changes because the continued formation of secondary dentin throughout the life of the tooth gradually reduces the size of the pulp chamber and the canals in the roots. In addition, certain regressive changes in the pulp appear to be related to the aging process. There is also a gradual decrease in the cellularity, as well as the concomitant increase in the number and thickness of the collagen fibers, particularly in the pulp of the anatomical crown. The decrease in the size of the pulp is thought to be related to a reduction in the number of nerves and blood vessels. Fibrosis appears to occur in relation to the pathways of degenerated vessels or nerves, and the thickened collagen fibers may serve as foci for pulpal calcification. Dentinal sclerosis produces a gradual decrease in dentinal permeability as the dentinal tubules become progressively reduced in diameter.
Ideally, the best teeth are your natural teeth. Next best are those that have been subject to the fewest restorative procedures. Thus, in having restorative work done, you should always carefully consider your options. You want something that is both biocompatible and durable. You don’t want to have to replace any restorations more often than necessary. And when such procedures are called for, you want the dentist to do everything possible to minimize trauma to the pulp and the risk of root canals or extractions later on.
It’s important to remember that every time a tooth is drilled upon, the dental pulp heals via the process of inflammation.
In teeth that haven’t been previously treated, the T8 lymphocytes present more positive cells, followed by T4 lymphocytes, macrophages, B lymphocytes and mast cells. When the dental pulp is inflamed, macrophages dominate, followed by T8, T4, B and mast cells. It’s this inflammatory processthat can cause discomfort and lead to greater problems down the road – which some dentists have recommended solving with root canals.
Many who have suffered such problems wind up calling us for a second, third or even fourth opinion as to why their teeth continue to hurt, despite their having had mercury fillings removed and replaced. Frankly, some cases have been quite problematic, like that of one woman we saw who was in great pain and had lost a significant number of teeth due to what we call “round-tripping.”
When she became eligible for dental insurance at her first job after college, she sought to have some broken teeth repaired. The dentist used mercury amalgam to fix both the original decayed teeth and a few fillings that had broken down over the years.
While in her late 20s, she began to read online about how mercury fillings might play a role in the chronic fatigue and allergies she was experiencing. So she went to another dentist, one highly recommended by several of her co-workers. After nothing but a routine exam, she pressed forward with having all of her amalgam fillings removed. The process involved 14 teeth with 44 different surfaces. The dentist further advised her to have all these fillings removed within a couple days. So she did.
Within a few months, she was experiencing so much discomfort and pain in the 2nd bicuspid and both lower right molars, she went to yet another dentist. This dentist told her that she needed to get root canals in all three teeth. Nothing else, he said, would stop the pain. He referred her to an endodontist for the procedure. Afterwards, the general dentist crowned the teeth.
Not even a year had passed before the pain returned to one of the molars. Another endodontist performed a second root canal. The pain continued. The woman sought still another dentist. In turn, he referred her to an oral surgeon who recommended removing the molars and replacing them with implants. That way, the surgeon said, she wouldn’t have to deal with cumbersome, removable partial dentures.
With the placement of the implants, the pain returned more powerfully than ever. The woman had the implants removed one at a time by two different oral surgeons, but even this wasn’t enough to stop the pain cycle. Why? She had developed ischemic osteonecrosis lesions – a sign of dead and decaying tissue – at all surgery sites. This wasn’t due to poor surgical techniques but hypercoagulability from a disordered, unbalanced and dysfunctional biological terrain.
She had round-tripped among eight dentists, each following up on problems created by the previous. Not one had even suggested cleaning up and rebalancing the terrain prior to surgical procedures.
Of course, the best solution to such problems is to keep them from arising in the first place. Thus, if we were going to remove clinically acceptable but potentially toxic filling materials at a client’s request, we’d want to make sure to not injure any healthy teeth in the process. We’d also want to be certain to not irreversibly injure any dental pulps, running the risk of pain and possibly root canals. So we abide by the following protocols.
For all direct composite restorations, we use a rubber dam that isolates the tooth to be worked upon. If we’re bonding ceramic or porcelain inlays or onlays, we also use a dam to isolate the tooth from moisture.
The tooth to be worked upon is first cleansed with a hydrogen peroxide solution for one minute. If amalgam has been removed, we also continually sponge a solution of DMSO and 1% procaine into the tooth for several minutes. We then apply a laser to enhance penetration of the solution into the tubules and chelate the mercury that has been leaching into the tooth, tubules and pulp – and the general circulation – ever since the filling was placed. For this, we use what’s known as a “low power,” “soft,” “cold” or “cool” laser, which emits a narrow beam of light at an 850 nanometer wavelength.
Next, we generously sponge mixtures of homeopathically prepared isodes – both bacterial and fungal – into the dentin. We also use an opthalmic solution. After this, we apply the soft, cold laser to the tooth for a minimum of two minutes. This as an anabolic effect that promotes further penetration of the homeopathics into the tubules and thus the pulpal complex. This promotes rapid reduction of pain and accelerates healing, growth and repair within the complex.
So long as it’s been proven suitable for the client via blood test or energetic evaluation, we finally use an etching and bonding system called Prelude to prepare the dentin and enamel before the restoration is placed or bonded.
Life is dependent not only on matter. It also depends on energy. Each cell is like a tiny potassium battery with a voltage of about -90 mill volts at the membrane. When a dentist works upon any given tooth, both the tissue potential within the tooth and the energetic package of the associated meridians collapse. This is called depolarization. If the structure of cells in and around the tooth are clinically healthy, the sapped cell will recharge immediately. This is called repolarization. The energy potential required for this is generated by the basic regulative system – namely, oxygen metabolism.
If a tooth has had so many fillings that the tooth itself has become mere “housing,” the fourth or fifth generation restoration it now has has been bombarded by too many powerful stimuli. Because of this, the cells in and around the teeth are unable to repolarize spontaneously. These defective or sick cells are no longer fully integrated into the activities of the cell system. Because the cells cannot function optimally, they will likely show inadequate selectivity toward electric impulses. The stimuli they receive now are interfering and irritating. These interference fields will translate this resonance into the basic regulative system – namely, the nerves and blood circulation within the tooth’s pulpal complex.
Because the use of 1% procaine, homeopathics and homeopathic isodes can restore proper resonance of the tissues, these are injected around the area worked upon prior to the end of treatment. Specifically, we inject them into key acupuncture points in the oral mucosa. These points in the oral mucous membrane were first described by the German dental researcher Jochen Gleditsch, DDS, MD. The useful holographic somatotopy he established demonstrates the relationships among the internal organs and a body’s acupoints. These points can influence disorders in other systems. Return-disorders in other systems may likewise have a negative effect on the teeth worked upon. The injections correct this, restoring the cells’ repolarization abilities. This, in turn, allows maximum potential healing of the tissues involved in the dental procedures.
As Dr. Gleditsch noted in the May 1995 issue of the Journal of Acupuncture in Medicine, “Oral acupuncture offers a link between traditional acupuncture and the modern concept of acupuncture microsystems, since the holographic projection of the whole body into the mouth can none the less be seen in terms of the traditional meridian system.”
We have been following these careful protocols for more than a decade. I cannot recall a single time teeth became non-vital as a result. Long-term, post-insertion sensitivity has also never proven a problem for our clients.
Consequently, we are comfortable removing toxic mercury silver dental amalgams and replacing them with nontoxic restorations when our clients make such requests and do not anticipate problems such as those noted in the case history above.
From Biosis 13/14, November 2006/January 2007
For more articles like this one, visit Dr. Verigin’s Biodental Library