Root canals are a common dental procedure used to save damaged or infected teeth. During a root canal, the inner pulp of the tooth is removed and the remaining space is filled and sealed.
While root canals can be beneficial for eliminating tooth pain and avoiding extraction, there is some controversy surrounding this procedure. Some believe root canals can leave behind bacteria that cause ongoing symptoms and health issues.
While this is unlikely to happen in a well-prepared tooth and meticulous endodontic procedure, it’s still important to identify the signs and symptoms that a root canal may be causing toxicity in the body:
Symptoms of Toxic Root Canal
Pain and Sensitivity
One of the first signs that a root canal is problematic is persistent pain and sensitivity in the tooth and gums, even after the procedure is done. While some discomfort is normal during recovery, if severe tooth pain and sensitivity continues for weeks or months after, this indicates irritation in the tissues surrounding the root canal. The infection may have spread or was not fully cleared out. Lingering pain is a clue that toxins from bacteria are infecting the area.
Many root canal-treated teeth are also connected to the sinus cavity via small channels. Bacteria present in a bad root canal can end up in the sinus space and cause chronic congestion. Post-root canal, people may experience nasal discharge, headaches around the sinus area, recurrent sinus infections, and overall poor immunity. This happens as toxic compounds from the bacteria create chronic inflammation in the sinuses.
Soft Tissue Swelling
Swollen lymph nodes around the head and neck can also indicate the body reacting to infection from a problematic root canal. As white blood cells rush in to fight bacteria leaching from the tooth site into the tissues, soft tissue around the lymph nodes, cheeks, gums and jawline may become inflamed and enlarged. This is the immune system’s attempt to isolate and detoxify the toxic compounds produced by the bacteria.
Illness and Fatigue
Studies have linked root canals to immune suppression and chronic fatigue. Many patients report frequent colds, flu and body aches after having a root canal done. This is likely due to the immune system being overloaded with the task of fighting bacteria leaking from the tooth. The constant release of toxins also places strain on the liver and kidneys to flush them out, which can cause ongoing exhaustion.
Digestive problems like gas, bloating and IBS can manifest from the toxins of a bad root canal affecting gut bacteria balance. The bloodstream carries compounds from the infected tooth throughout the body, including to the digestive system. This allows harmful bacteria to proliferate, suppressing populations of healthy bacteria. Probiotic foods and supplements may help reverse this imbalance.
Interestingly, many people notice shifts in mood and cognition after having a root canal. Research suggests this may be due to inflammation reaching the brain. Toxins from bacteria promote systemic inflammation, including around the brain area, and can impair oxygen flow to the brain. This inflammation is thought to trigger issues like brain fog, anxiety and depression.
Holistic Dentist Assessment
If experiencing any of the above symptoms after a root canal, it’s wise to visit a holistic or biological dentist for an assessment. They can conduct special tests to check for the presence of infection and toxicity in and around the affected tooth. If toxicity is found, they may recommend additional cleaning of the canal, antibiotic ozone therapy, or removal of the root canal filling to fully clean out bacteria.
Nutrition and Detoxification
Certain supplements and foods can help the body purge toxins from a problematic root canal. These include vitamin C, glutathione, medicinal mushrooms, and anti-inflammatory herbs. Eating a clean, anti-inflammatory diet is also beneficial. Saunas, massage, and lymphatic movement can help detoxify as well. Removing the amalgam filling may also halt toxicity.
Root Canal Removal
In some cases where a root canal is clearly infected, a biological dentist may recommend canal removal and tooth extraction altogether. This complete removal of the tooth eliminates the underlying problem. It allows the area to fully heal, with no chance of lingering or recurrent infection. Implants can be placed after several months to replace the missing tooth.
Ongoing issues like pain, congestion, fatigue and digestive problems after a root canal may signal lingering toxicity from hidden bacteria. Seeing a holistic dentist for evaluation and seeking detoxifying treatments can help reverse the tooth damage. In extreme cases, removal of the problematic tooth altogether provides definitive relief. Addressing toxic root canal symptoms promptly improves overall health.