I have been questioning root canals for a long time. I don’t like it that they can be painless and still be infected. I don’t like it that radiographs aren’t conclusive for detecting failed root canals and that pain is not a good indicator of success.
If I asked a group of 100 dentists at the ADA convention to hold up their hand if they understood that a root canal is successful when it’s pain free and the patient can chew on it … I’d bet that 100 hands would go up in the air (if I was a bettin’ man).
Not true! We’ve all had patients show up in recent pain and extract a tooth and find a cyst or a granuloma hanging off the end of the roots … and this tooth was not painful last Tuesday, only last night.
But … that tooth had been failing for weeks, months, or years to get to the stage of PAIN. And no one knew it (granulomas and cysts don’t grow that big in 24 hours, do they?!).
No, they don’t. They take time before they get that big and start causing pain. And the patient was at RISK the whole time!!!
According to a study from the University of Helsinki, infected root tips increase the risk of coronary artery disease (even if the patient has no symptoms).
508 Finnish subjects with heart problems were studied. 58% were found to be suffering from one or more inflammatory lesions. The researchers found out that dental root tip infections were connected with elevated serum levels of antibodies of common bacteria causing such infections … which showed that oral infections affect other parts of the body.
Dr. Peter Evans is a practitioner, author, speaker and international dental coach. He is the President of The BioCompatible Dentist, LLC