We have been taught from an early age that the health of our teeth is very important. It has been instilled in us that regular brushing, flossing and trips to the dentist for cleanings, exams and x-rays are necessary. Many of us have experienced fillings, wisdom teeth extractions, root canals and have required a night guard for clenching and/or grinding our teeth in our sleep. There have been recent discoveries of additional issues that may be affecting our health that are not always caught by our regular dental checkups, such as cavitations, root canals, and mercury fillings.
A cavitation is an area of unhealed bone, often accompanied by pockets of infected tissue and gangrene1, typically located in the jaw bone. This infection can originate from impacted wisdom teeth, incompletely extracted wisdom (and other) teeth, failed root canals, failed dental implants, and devitalized teeth (from deep fillings, crowns or physical trauma2. The primary cause of these jawbone cavitations in the extraction sites is due to failure of a conventional dentist or oral surgeon to remove all of the periodontal ligaments when pulling a tooth. These remaining periodontal ligament pieces later act as a barrier to the creation of new blood vessels and, therefore, to the regrowth of new bone. Most people with a cavitation don’t realize it as they are often silent and rarely show signs of swelling or pain. Untreated cavitations can lead to systemic infections that appear to have no connection to your mouth. A study published in 1993 using culture samples of human dental plaque showed that streptococci were the most resistant organisms that could be cultured on the medium and that these strains could adapt to relatively high mercury concentrations3. Often, when there is a cavitation, a link can be discovered to having dental work done, like a root canal, and the onset of declining health symptoms such as fatigue, pain, headaches, Lyme Disease onset, and more.
Root canals may be able to aesthetically save a tooth but in the long run can be as harmful as not treating the tooth. A tooth that needs to have a root canal is referred to as a “dead tooth”. While dentists take care to remove as much of the infectious debris in the pulp of the tooth, the filling of the tooth cuts off the blood supply making fluid no longer able to circulate through the tooth1. There is a risk of developing an infection from the infected tissues left behind. The roots of each tooth descend into your jawbone and have many tubules that act like a highway for friendly microbes to come and go. Without oxygen the formerly friendly organisms morph into highly toxic pathogens which hide out in the tubules where they are unusually safe from sterilization and your own body's immune defenses2. In the case of a root canal, bacteria are given the opportunity to flush into your blood stream every time you bite down1.
Silver (amalgam, mercury) fillings can break down and be absorbed by our bodies, causing Heavy Metal Toxicity. Mercury is lipophilic, meaning that it concentrates in fatty tissues, especially in the brain, which is made mostly of fat. Therefore blood levels are not able to accurately measure the mass of mercury in the body, due to this burden. The symptoms and diseases these exposures have caused are varied and can mimic many other conditions. Nervous system toxicity can cause erethism (“mad hatter syndrome”) with symptoms of shyness; laughing, crying, and dramatic mood swings for no apparent reason; nervousness, insomnia, memory problems, and the inability to concentrate.
Other symptoms may include encephalopathy (non-specific brain malfunction), Lyme Disease, Neurological Disorders, Autoimmune diseases, Thyroid disorders including Hashimotos, nerve damage, Parkinsonian symptoms, tremor, ataxia (loss of balance), impaired hearing, tunnel vision, dysarthria (slurred speech), headache, migraines, fatigue, impaired sexual function, and depression. Kidney toxicity leads to proteinuria (protein in the urine) and acute renal failure. Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and colitis. Skin toxicity causes allergic dermatitis, chelitis (cracked corners of the mouth), gingivitis (gum disease), stomatitis (sores in the mucous membranes of the mouth) and excessive salivation.
The treatment plan for each patient is individual and will be based on clinical findings and patient needs. We often use Autonomic Response Testing (ART), BioMeridian testing, Ionic Foot Baths and a combination of Chinese herbs, supplements, and other treatments that may be needed to strengthen the immune system and help the body to detoxify mercury. We are never advocates of quick treatment, and during removal of mercury and infection, it will require some time. We recommend seeing a biological dentist that can assist you with safe silver (amalgam mercury) removal, and diagnose cavitations with 3-D x-rays. We will assist you along with the biological dentist to make sure your body is prepared pre and post procedures.
Listen to Dr. Risk's shows on dental health (more shows can be found here):
(1)Mercola, J. (2012, February 18). Dangers of Root Canaled Teeth. Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/18/dangers-of-root-canaled-teeth.aspx
(2) Williams, L. (2012 January 31). Appropriate Pre- and Post- Extraction Protocols When Surgical Intervention is Necessary. Retrieved from http://www.westonaprice.org/holistic-healthcare/dental-cavitation-surgery/
(3) Lyttle, H.A., Bowden, G.H. (1993, September 9). The Resistance and Adaptation of Selected Oral Bacteria to Mercury and its Impact on their Growth. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7689600