Root Cause

As an avid Netflix binge watcher I was excited to see a dental documentary. Root Cause chronicles one man’s experience of an infected tooth. While I don’t agree with the premise, I really appreciate anything that helps bring the importance of oral health into the spotlight. When I heard about the film I immediately recalled a book, The Root Canal Cover-up and a related open letter a colleague had thoughtfully commented on a few years ago.  I hope you find Dr Proud’s comments to the letter informative.

My writing you will find below in red with areas highlighted in yellow which I find controversial or at times even agree with. The areas highlighted with green I strongly disagree with. I will do my best to add additional information to accurately tell you the closest version of the truth that we know at this time. I will preface my comments with the acknowledgement that we do not know all the cause and effects within our dynamic beautifully designed bodies. As clinicians it is our responsibility to stay current with the most up to date information and change our protocols to deal with this new information. The thing that no one wants to talk about, especially dentists is that root canals can be difficult and very technique sensitive. No one likes to admit that 80% of root canals done by general practitioners are deemed clinically unacceptable. Even endodontists (specialist in root canals) have a success rate of 93%. 1/5 or even 1/20 can be a daunting statistic but does not scare me off routinely doing root canals. If I cannot predictably know that the case will be clinically acceptable I send to the endodontist. I also send older (and occasionally new) root canals to the endodontist if they are clinically unacceptable (recurrent infection, missed primary canal(s), inadequate sealer, too much sealer, insufficient length cleaned out to name most causes).

I was taught by a very reputable school that methods, materials, and reasons why root canals are safe and predictable if done correctly. If you ever have a question of whether or not something is done correctly – get a second opinion!

Dr Nathan Pride


To Whom It May Concern:

Do you have a chronic degenerative disease? If so, have you been told, “It’s all in your head?” Well, that might not be that far from the truth…

The root cause of your illness may be in your mouth.

There is a common dental procedure that nearly every dentist will tell you is completely safe, despite the fact that scientists have been warning of its dangers for more than 100 years. Every day in the United States alone, 41,000 of these dental procedures are performed on patients who believe they are safely and permanently fixing their problem.

What is this dental procedure?

The root canal.

More than 25 million root canals are performed every year in this country.

Root-canaled teeth are essentially “dead” teeth that can become silent incubators for highly toxic anaerobic bacteria They are “dead” or “non-vital” but should not be an incubator in the slightest if the root canal is clinically acceptable. The necrotic and infected area is removed, decontaminated, and replaced with antibacterial sealer and gutta percha core (filler) that can, under certain conditions, make their way into your bloodstream to cause a number of serious medical conditions—many not appearing until decades later.

Most of these toxic teeth feel and look fine for many years, which make their role in systemic disease even harder to trace back.

Sadly, the vast majority of dentists are oblivious to the serious potential health risks they are exposing their patients to, risks that persist for the rest of their patients’ lives. The American Dental Association claims root canals have been proven safe, but they have NO published data or actual research to substantiate this claim. To say that dentists are oblivious to potential health risks is about as far from the truth as you can get. Dentists are the ones that know the risks more than any other professional and have the most current and accurate knowledge and research available to them.

Fortunately, I had some early mentors like Dr. Tom Stone and Dr. Douglas Cook, who educated me on this issue nearly 20 years ago. Were it not for a brilliant pioneering dentist who, more than a century ago, made the connection between root-canaled teeth and disease, this underlying cause of disease may have remained hidden to this day. The dentist’s name was Weston Price—regarded by many as the greatest dentist of all time.If I was to ask every single one of my dental friends and colleagues, I’m pretty sure they would have never heard of this dentist – ever.

Weston A. Price: World’s Greatest Dentist.  If you were to pole dentist, Gordon Christenson would win as ‘greatest dentist’. The general public doesn’t know Dr Christenson regardless of his standing in the dental field.

Most dentists would be doing an enormous service to public health if they familiarized themselves with the work of Dr. Weston Price. Unfortunately, his work continues to be discounted and suppressed by medical and dental professionals alike.

Dr. Price was a dentist and researcher who traveled the world to study the teeth, bones, and diets of native populations living without the “benefit” of modern food. Around the year 1900, Price had been treating persistent root canal infections and became suspicious that root-canaled teeth always remained infected, in spite of treatments.Something fairly significant to note for the first time is that Dr. Price’s clinical prime years were from 1900-1920. About 100 years have passed since then and it is safe to say that the procedures of root canals have SIGNIFICANTLY changed in protocol, materials and success rate. Then one day, he recommended to a woman, wheelchair bound for six years, to have her root canal tooth extracted, even though it appeared to be fine.

She agreed, so he extracted her tooth and then implanted it under the skin of a rabbit. The rabbit amazingly developed the same crippling arthritis as the woman and died from the infection 10 days later. There are some serious issues with this “scientific test.” To take an infected tooth (presumably so as success rates long term would be approximately 50% 100 years ago) and implanting it with 1900 surgical techniques into another arguable biologically incompatible animal is setting the experiment up for disaster and undoubtedly so the rabbit would die. To diagnostically test if the rabbit had arthritis 100 years ago from something implant were guaranteed be inaccurate to modern day techniques and tests. But the woman, now free of the toxic tooth, immediately recovered from her arthritis and could now walk without even the assistance of a cane. Removing a chronic infection can certainly affect a person systemically. The dental community acknowledges and promotes the oral-systemic connection and warns of the negative effects if ignorant.

Price discovered that it’s mechanically impossible to sterilize a root-canaled (e.g. root-filled) tooth.That is true. Mechanically alone you cannot sterilize a tooth. The mouth is not a sterile field and true complete sterilization is never achievable. The mouth has some of the highest levels of bacteria counts in comparison to other parts of the body. Human bites are taken very seriously due to this fact. Root canals even when done correctly are decontaminated but not sterilize. You logistically cannot “sterilize” anything inside your body, but pathogen levels can be reduced the the point were your natural immune system can take care of what remains. This is the how antibiotics work too. They don’t sterilize you (thankfully), they just give your immune system a fighting change.He then went on to show that many chronic degenerative diseases originate This point today with significantly more modern diagnostic tools would be inconclusive at best. Could they add to existing conditions like heart disease, probably – but cause or originate is a strong, inaccurate and misleading statement. from root-filled teeth—the most frequent being heart and circulatory diseases. He actually found 16 different causative bacterial agents for these conditions. But there were also strong correlations between root-filled teeth and diseases of the joints, brain and nervous system. As stated before the dental community acknowledges and promotes the oral-systemic relationship.Dr. Price went on to write two groundbreaking books in 1922 Once again ask yourself how many groundbreaking books written 100 years ago are still accurate and up to date under best case conditions today? And that’s outside the point of the controversial outdated conclusions made. detailing his research into the link between dental pathology and chronic illness. Unfortunately, his work was deliberately buried for 70 years, until finally one endodontist named George Meinig recognized the importance of Price’s work and sought to expose the truth.

Dr. Meinig Advances the Work of Dr. Price

Dr. Meinig, a native of Chicago, was a captain in the U.S. Army during World War II before moving to Hollywood to become a dentist for the stars. He eventually became one of the founding members of the American Association of Endodontists (root canal specialists).

In the 1990s, he spent 18 months immersed in Dr. Price’s research. In June of 1993, Dr. Meinig published the book Root Canal Cover-Up, which continues to be the most comprehensive reference on this topic today. You can order your copy directly from the Price-Pottenger Foundationii.

What Dentists Don’t Know About the Anatomy of Your Teeth Really? Dentists and biologists unequivocally are among the most knowledgeable about this than any other person.

Your teeth are made of the hardest substances in your body.

In the middle of each tooth is the pulp chamber, a soft living inner structure that houses blood vessels and nerves. Surrounding the pulp chamber is the dentin, which is made of living cells that secrete a hard mineral substance. The outermost and hardest layer of your tooth is the white enamel, which encases the dentin.

The roots of each tooth descend into your jawbone and are held in place by the periodontal ligament. In dental school, dentists are taught that each tooth has one to four major canals. However, there are accessory canals that are never mentioned. Literally miles of them! Yes these accessory canals were covered multiple times in dental school. Miles may also be a gross exaggeration, even though they are longer than one might think.

Just as your body has large blood vessels that branch down into very small capillaries, each of your teeth has a maze of very tiny tubules that, if stretched out, would extend for three miles. Weston Price identified as many as 75 separate accessory canals in a single central incisor (front tooth). For a more detailed explanation, refer to an article by Hal Huggins, DDS, MS, on the Weston A. Price Foundation website.iii (These images are borrowed from the Huggins article.)

Microscopic organisms regularly move in and around these tubules, like gophers in underground tunnels.

When a dentist performs a root canal, he or she hollows out the tooth, then fills the hollow chamber with a substance (called guttapercha), which cuts off the tooth from its blood supply, so fluid can no longer circulate through the tooth. But the maze of tiny tubules remains. And bacteria, cut off from their food supply, hide out in these tunnels where they are remarkably safe from antibiotics and your own body’s immune defenses. If they are “safe from antibiotics and your own body’s immune defenses” then it would logically concluded that they would not be capable of releasing any toxins or infects also. The illogical claim is rather flawed. Realistically chemical disinfectant (basically NaOCL or bleach) cleans these accessory canals as yes; you cannot mechanically clean them out because they are microscopic.

The Root Cause of Much Disease

Under the stresses of oxygen and nutrient deprivation, these formerly friendly organisms morph into stronger, more virulent anaerobes that produce a variety of potent toxins. What were once ordinary,friendly oral bacteria If they were “friendly oral bacteria” I’m pretty sure they would not have required a root canal in the first place. Logically flawed yet once again. mutate into highly toxic pathogens lurking in the tubules of the dead tooth, just awaiting an opportunity to spread.

No amount of sterilization has been found effective in reaching these tubules Yes true sterilization cannot occur under any circumstances in a “surgical” field. You can use antiseptics and disinfectants to reduce and neutralize as many bacteria pathogens as possible.—and just about every single root-canaled tooth has been found colonized by these bacteria, especially around the apex and in the periodontal ligament. Oftentimes, the infection extends down into the jawbone where it creates cavitations—areas of necrotic tissue in the jawbone itself. Yes there is truth to this statement as dental infections, if untreated, can become very volatile and even deadly under worse case scenarios. After the nerve, a prime nutrient agent for bacterial infections has been compromised, the infection can spread into the surrounding bone and periodontal ligament space. This infection follows the path of least resistance in your bone and often will “drain” intraorally. I have clinically observed on repeated occasions how nearly 100% once the too.

If you’ve made it this far congratulations! You are among the truly curious. If you still have questions please call our office at (360) 293-8421. I’m happy to explain these concepts in as much detail as you’d like.

Thank you for taking an active role in understanding and caring for your teeth,

Nick Wilson DDS