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  #1  
Old 19 November 2013, 04:42 AM
Janie Westerkamp Janie Westerkamp is offline
 
 
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Default Are root canals dangerous?

There is a Facebook message going around about how dangerous root canals are and how they can cause extreme arthritis and cancer because they are dead teeth still in your mouth, any feedback?
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  #2  
Old 19 November 2013, 11:27 AM
Hummelcat Hummelcat is offline
 
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Default No.

All the scary info about links between root canals and cancer or arthritis or whatever are from websites that have less than stellar connections to logic, scientific studies, or sense.

If your badly infected tooth is NOT treated by a competent dental professional, infections can spread.

From Dental Disease.org; Root Canal Therapy, Overview:

Quote:
If an infection of the dental pulp is not treated with endodontic therapy, it will spread to the jaw bone and the connective tissues around the tooth. The infection will not only gradually destroy these tissues making them not longer able to hold the tooth in place, but it may also spread to other body organs. Except of tooth loss other serious complications may also occur, such as ludwigís angina, a life threatening swelling of the neck which may be caused by infected lower molars.

Root canal therapy can save the tooth, prevent complications and provide immediate relief from the severe tooth pain caused by the pulp inflammation.
Also see info at WebMD, Dental Health and Root Canals.

Once the infection has been competently treated (filling, root canal, crown, etc), and you follow good oral hygiene and make regular visits to your dentist and dental hygienist, that's it. You're good to go. Or chew.

If you feel safer having your teeth pulled, then you are left with a few options: leave one or more gaps where the tooth/teeth used to be, or have a tooth implantation (dead stuff?), or have a bridge built between the remaining teeth (dead stuff?), or get false teeth (dead stuff?) that you put in during the day and remove at night. There may be a few more that I am not up to speed on.

All the options except for leaving a toothless gap involve substitutes for "living" teeth. I have seen no no no reputable scientific studies that link dental care with cancer or arthritis. The use of the words "dead teeth" are just scare tactics for people who want you to pay money to them instead of to your dentist. The outer layer of the tooth is "dead", if you want to use that word. But we have them in our mouths until we die or until they get infected or until they get knocked out by accidents or rough sports. Teeth don't cause cancer or arthritis, whether they have living roots or not.

Hummel-IANAD-cat
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  #3  
Old 19 November 2013, 11:29 AM
Hummelcat Hummelcat is offline
 
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And welcome to Snopes!
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  #4  
Old 19 November 2013, 12:20 PM
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Lainie Lainie is online now
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hummelcat View Post
If you feel safer having your teeth pulled, then you are left with a few options: leave one or more gaps where the tooth/teeth used to be, or have a tooth implantation (dead stuff?), or have a bridge built between the remaining teeth (dead stuff?), or get false teeth (dead stuff?) that you put in during the day and remove at night. There may be a few more that I am not up to speed on.
And if you go with an implant, not only is there dead stuff in your mouth, but some of the dead stuff actually fuses with your bone.
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  #5  
Old 19 November 2013, 01:07 PM
Hummelcat Hummelcat is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
And if you go with an implant, not only is there dead stuff in your mouth, but some of the dead stuff actually fuses with your bone.
Ewww. I'd rather not imagine it. But it still won't cause cancer or arthritis.

Ahem. I hope I don't have to go that far. I've got fillings and crowns, but no implants or root canals. And no cancer or arthritis that I know of.
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  #6  
Old 19 November 2013, 01:32 PM
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I wouldn't consider an implant or a bridge or crown to be "dead stuff" as it was never alive. The part that fuses with your bone in an implant is titanium. Then you get a porcelain, steel and porcelain, or gold crown. None of those are things that were once alive.

Don't get me wrong -- I think the OP opinion is complete bunk -- but I do think there's a difference in how the word "dead" applies to a tooth with a root canal and to an implant made up of a titanium post and a crown.

ETA: You want to talk dead stuff, ask me about my bone graft after a cyst was removed from my jaw.
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  #7  
Old 19 November 2013, 02:10 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
I wouldn't consider an implant or a bridge or crown to be "dead stuff" as it was never alive. The part that fuses with your bone in an implant is titanium. Then you get a porcelain, steel and porcelain, or gold crown. None of those are things that were once alive.
ETA: You want to talk dead stuff, ask me about my bone graft after a cyst was removed from my jaw.
I think some of the posters above have mixed the words "implants" with "grafts". A graft is when a piece of bone (sometimes your own, sometimes processed cadaver bone, sometimes artificial bone) is inserted in the cavity of the jaw bone where there was infection. The graft is left to be naturally absorbed with the existing jaw bone to form a solid bone structure.

The implant involves drilling a pilot hole, using a small tap to create thread, and installing a metallic (most often, titanium) multi-piece screw/pivot. An artificial tooth is eventually fitted/abutted.

I've gone through that process in 2013. Should get an artificial tooth put in place sometime in early 2014, when the jaw bone has safely fused with the titanium implant.

OY
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  #8  
Old 19 November 2013, 02:21 PM
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Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
 
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I have had 9 root canals. I had 6 of them 40 years ago. If I have arthritis (which I don't think I do), it has nothing to do with my root canals. As for them causing dead teeth, well, duh. That's the point, to remove the dying nerves and blood vessels and preserve the bone and hard tissue (although, in my case the nerves were dead before we started).

Seaboe
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  #9  
Old 19 November 2013, 03:02 PM
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Avril Avril is offline
 
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I have had no root canals. But my mother had one that did cause a problem, albeit not one that is ever mentioned on the "OMG! DENTISTS ARE OUT TO GET YOU!" websites.

They did something to her jaw when they were putting the rod in her tooth and caused permanent damage, so that something pops when she chews. This has been going on for 25 years or so and will for the rest of her life. She says it took 20 years to get used to it.

For this reason, I have a terror of root canals. I suffered no permanent ill effects from having my wisdom teeth removed, which involves much of the same sort of stuff, jaw-wise, but I'm still phobic of the whole process.
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Old 19 November 2013, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hummelcat View Post
Ewww. I'd rather not imagine it. But it still won't cause cancer or arthritis.
Nope. I'm hoping not to have to do it, either. But I did have fun the other day describing the process to DD.

ETA: FTR, I wasn't confusing implants with grafts; I've discussed implants in detail with my dentist and I know how they work. I was using 'dead stuff' loosely, as the OP did.
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  #11  
Old 19 November 2013, 06:37 PM
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Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
They did something to her jaw when they were putting the rod in her tooth ...
That sounds really weird to me. None of my root canals have rods in them; they're filled with something very similar to what they use for the non-metal fillings. Weird.

My jaw popped like that (I could make it sound like an oil can) for a few months after I broke it, but as the bone recovered, it stopped.

Seaboe
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  #12  
Old 19 November 2013, 06:54 PM
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I missed that earlier. None of my root canals have rods in them, either.
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  #13  
Old 19 November 2013, 07:24 PM
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Mine either. My jaw pops and partially dislocates when I open it all the way because of a TMJ issue. (Freaks my dentist right out--she always says "you don't have to open that far!"--but that's just what it does.) I suppose some kind of maltreatment during a root canal could injure the TM joint in a similar way.
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  #14  
Old 19 November 2013, 07:31 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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The most common root canal material (the "filling" that goes in the root - NOT the tooth) is called gutta percha. It is applied by a heated distributor.

The "sticks" of gutta percha do look like rods, and sometimes look like a rod of material in X-rays.

Some good info about bone graft/implants here.

Be mindful of doing bone craft image searches... Some pics are not recommended for people with queasy stomachs...

OY

Last edited by overyonder; 19 November 2013 at 07:45 PM.
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  #15  
Old 19 November 2013, 08:19 PM
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IMS, they do use a metal probe to insure that the root of the tooth is all cleaned out during the process. It is possible that the temporary insertion of that probe is what Avril's mom is referring to.
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  #16  
Old 19 November 2013, 09:05 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
IMS, they do use a metal probe to insure that the root of the tooth is all cleaned out during the process. It is possible that the temporary insertion of that probe is what Avril's mom is referring to.
Good point. The removal/cleaning tool is simply called a file.

OY
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  #17  
Old 20 November 2013, 01:39 PM
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Sometimes, a small rod is inserted if believed to be necessary to hold the tooth in due to too much root damage, as I understand it. See this explanation:

Quote:
ENDODONTIC IMPLANT
This is a small metal rod, similar to a dental implant, which is inserted via the root canal into the root tip (known as the periapical bone structure).

The difference between this and a dental implant is that the implant is inserted into the jawbone whereas the endodontic implant is placed into the root canal.

POST AND CORE REPAIR
This is a procedure which is performed to save a diseased tooth, and helps to strengthen it as well. It is comprised of a small metal rod which is fixed into the root of the diseased tooth, followed by the insertion of the post into the root canal.

The core is the part which is seen above the gum and is used to attach a replacement crown to.
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  #18  
Old 20 November 2013, 07:28 PM
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Last year I had a cracked tooth that got a crown, but may have needed a root canal. My co-worker, who uses the same dentist, advised me about the "specialist" that I was referred to. When he had a root canal there, some years ago, his appointment was the first in the day. Upon cleaning out the tooth "socket", his dentist broke the instrument and a small piece of it remained deep in the socket. The dentist packed this up and sent him away - explaining that if he took the time to extract the instrument he'd be behind schedule the rest of the day. He was asked to return at the end of that day, or early the next day. This is definitely not a normal experience, but I imagine that infection, swelling, and injury to adjacent tissue is a legitimate concern for a root canal. As far as it being "dangerous", well, I have not heard of too many deaths resulting from dentistry. Anaesthesia during dentistry, and complications due to infection would be indirect risks of death (the risk of infection probably being lower with treatment, than without), so I wouldn't count those.
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Old 20 November 2013, 07:40 PM
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There's also danger to anyone who has a heart murmur because of the possibility of bacteria entering the bloodstream. But that's clearly not the kind of danger that the OP refers to.
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  #20  
Old 21 November 2013, 05:55 AM
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I don't think anyone has linked to the original article on supposed dangers of root canals. Here it is if anyone wants to see.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/ar...led-teeth.aspx
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