Tooth restoration techniques
( Safer and Healthier Alternatives to Root Canals and Other
Common, Yet Harmful, Tooth Restoration Techniques)
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Root canal treated teeth tend to harbor harmful microbes.
Their toxic metabolic waste products can attack your immune system and
contribute to many chronic diseases
If you suffer from any chronic disease, a “dental
revision” may help in your recovery
Dental revision involves removing toxic stressors of oral
origin, such as dead teeth, dead jawbone, metal tooth restorations, and
Dental implants slow energy flow along meridians. As with
root canals, your associated organs, glands, or anatomical structures
may functionally decline as a result
Pro’s and con’s of alternative restoration options are
discussed, including safer materials and the ramifications of various
By Carol Vander Stoep, RDH, BSDH, OMT
Viper venom is an efficient killer. Its
swirls of toxic proteins multitask. Some paralyze the nervous system of the
victim by blocking nerve-to-muscle messages. Others can misdirect messenger
hormones, dissolve tissues, or make blood so sticky the resulting clots stop
the heart, or thin it to the point that the victim quickly bleeds out.
Just as surely, dead or dying human teeth can harbor
similarly lethal agents working on at least as many levels throughout your
body. The sophisticated multi-level attack of oral microbes, their metabolic
waste products, and their interaction with dental materials can similarly
give rise to an immune system crash, which can manifest in a multitude of
disguises. Is a root canal procedure a gamble you really want to take?
Economics versus Health: There Is Always a Price
The complexity of interactions and time
delay before oral toxins express noticeable symptoms, compared to
fast-acting snake venom, work well for the institution of dentistry and
dental insurance companies, but it does not bode well for you.
Institutions are by nature invested in the status quo. The
insurance industry's business model is no different from most other business
models – it values their bottom line over your health. We are left on our
own to tease out root causes of disease.
It is only after the scare of cancer, the exhaustion of
chronic fatigue, a nervous system derailment causing Parkinson's tremors,
Multiple Sclerosis (MS), or Bell's Palsy, or even autoimmune issues such as
lupus or ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), that some people make the difficult
decision to consider a "dental revision" to help their body recover.
A dental revision is no less than removing all possible toxic
stressors of oral origin – dead teeth, dead jawbone, heavy metals like
mercury, nickel, and chromium, gum disease therapy, and often, removing
meridian blockers like implants.
A dental revision may seem like a drastic and expensive step,
but what is the cost of poor health to which these contribute? You can
escape to clean mountain air or the ocean's cleansing waves, but you can
never escape your internal environment.
The two lab
reports in this file1 are
but two examples of DNA sequenced microbial profiles found in the jawbone
socket of an extracted root canal treated tooth, and in cavitations. The
root canal treated tooth showed no clinical or physical signs of failing.
These interesting lab reports also connect the pathogens with their waste
products' target tissues.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is an embalming procedure
dentists perform on a tooth. Root canals are designed to keep a dead tooth
mechanically functioning in a live body.
Teeth die as a result of trauma (including sometimes, the
trauma of a high speed drill creating too much heat or sucking the organic
material from the microscopic tubules that assist in keeping it alive), or
from microbial invasion from deep decay or gum disease into the pulp that
nourishes each tooth. The following video offers key considerations about
It is no longer a huge secret that root canals crank out
microbial metabolic toxins. Even some root canal specialists (endodontists)
are starting to "own" it. For instance, they acknowledge that "condensing
osteitis" around a root-canal treated tooth is common.
As the video above mentions, condensing osteitis is a
thickening of the bone around a dead tooth as your body tries to wall off
the infective toxins seeping from it. On the other hand, the American
Association of Endodontists (AAE) position statement2 on
the matter (2012) states that:
"…the practice of recommending the extraction of
endodontically treated teeth for the prevention of NICO [painful jawbone
death due to poor blood supply], or any other disease, is unethical and
should be reported immediately to the appropriate state board of
And yet, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal
of Evidence Based Dental Practice:3
"[A] recent evidence-based review of the outcomes of both treatment
modalities noted that if evidence-based principles are applied to the
data available for both treatment modalities, few implant or endodontic
outcome studies can be classified as being high in the evidence
Is a Root Canal Right for Your Situation?
No doubt about it, losing a tooth can be emotionally charged.
I think it is one reason dentists work so hard to perfect tooth embalming
procedures. The decision tree for considering tooth replacement is complex,
and the solutions all involve compromise. There are a lot of hop off places
for people to enter into De Nile.
Examine your own health status, priorities and philosophies
and go with your best
"I have three root canals? What do I do now? Are all root canals toxic? "Probably.
Eventually. Yet people have varying abilities to sustain the stress of
toxins – and of course that ability varies over time.
Some biological doctors may recommend a root canal if a
patient has a strong immune system, great genetics, and superior lifestyle.
They suggest if one's immune system crashes it can always be extracted
later. But we are besieged by so many unavoidable immune system challenges
in today's world; I'm personally moving further and further away from the
idea of assaulting my immune system with avoidable challenges.
Proper Diagnosis Is Key for Failing Root Canals and Cavitations
Since health effects of root canals and
cavitations are similar, and one can arise from the other, I'll digress to
talk about cavitations for a moment. The existence of cavitations, also
known as ischemic osteonecrosis (death of bone due to lack of adequate blood
supply) when there is no pain present, and NICO when there is pain, seems to
equate to a religious belief. Do cavitations exist or don't they?
The preferred answer might depend on if you have skin in the
game. Root canal specialists, state dental boards, and insurance companies
cast aspersions on their existence, and (as noted above) even threaten to
take away a dentist's credentials should they acknowledge cavitations and
recommend surgically treating the dead bone or extracting a root canal
treated tooth to prevent them. Like the huge disservice of the domestic
cooking oil manufacturers' vilification of tropical fats decades ago, the
stance of these special interests may equally hurt public health.
Part of the problem is that diagnosis is difficult. Typical
dental x-rays can no more accurately diagnose cavitations than they can
accurately diagnose subtle root canal pathology. They show only the most
obvious cavitations. CT scans are excellent if all metals are absent from
the mouth, but they are expensive and come with the added price tag of high
There is no definitive way to judge how infected a root canal
treated tooth or cavitation is, but a traditional camera-imaged thermogram,
which many also use to detect early stage breast cancer, can offer some
guidance. Thermographic images display infrared heat emissions, with each
color gradation indicating different heat emissions. High-heat emissions are
suggestive of inflammation, which may indicate root canal toxicity or a
cavitation—even if you're asymptomatic. You can read more about the use of
thermography on PositiveHealth.com's website.4
A new type of system, the AlfaSight™
9000, offers a more comprehensive and precise thermograph than the more
widely known digital-imaging camera thermography mentioned above. This more
objective thermometry system delivers a functional physiologic assessment of
your body's bio-regulation system and offers insights into underlying
dysfunction that both precedes and provokes developing disease processes.
Infrared measurements of skin temperature at over 100 points
on your body including your head, torso, and back, taken both before and
after exposure to a cool ambient room temperature assess how your body
regulates temperature stress via the autonomic nervous system. Connected
organs, glands, and other tissues influence the capillary blood vessel bed
beneath each skin point location. Changes indicate either clear or blocked
Scientific evidence shows that internal physiological
abnormalities and dysfunction affect skin surface temperatures and that,
therefore, skin temperatures and behavioral responses can reveal information
about associated organ function. Medical clinics worldwide have studied,
correlated, and validated over 40 temperature patterns that define
regulation incapacities, called signature recognitions. Alfa
Thermodiagnostics' AlfaSight™ 9000 captures these signature patterns and
provides a vivid integrative, computerized summary report5 that
illustrates a system-wide overview and detailed dental, breast, and prostate
Other Diagnostic Tools
as seismologists use acoustic energy to look for oil and obstetricians
image fetuses with ultrasound, some dentists use a Cavitat to explore 3D
images of cavitations in jawbone. As with first generation Thermography,
it requires a skilled clinician and there is room for error. In the
process of gaining FDA approval, tests using the Cavitat showed that 94
percent of old extraction sites were positive for bone lesions. Perhaps
not surprisingly, Aetna Insurance discredited cavitations and the
Cavitat. As Dr. Wes Shankland states
in an open letter:
"Aetna Insurance Company contacted other insurance
companies and reported that jaw bone cavitations did not exist.
Aetna Insurance Company also informed others that the Cavitat was
inaccurate and those who used this device were 'quacks.'"
Such negative and inaccurate publicity literally ruined
Cavitat sales. With no other recourse, Cavitat Medical Technologies made
a decision to file a federal lawsuit, in Denver, against Aetna Insurance
Company. Aetna lost and was ordered to pay a serious judgment, but the
damage was done.
EAV (Electro Acupuncture according to Voll). An
EKG measures electrical flow through your heart. Expressed as a graph,
it pinpoints heart damage, since current does not flow through dead
tissues. EAV works the same way. The EAV test uses an ohmmeter to
measure energy flow along meridians at acupuncture points. If you
understand meridians and you've signed on to "Healing is Voltage," "The
Body Electric" and understand the science behind "Earthing", you know
low-functioning organs are low in negative ions.
This state hinders electron flow along your body's energy
meridians. Dr. WA Tiller, Professor Emeritus of Materials Science at
Stanford University, set out to discredit the EAV, but became an
advocate as his research verified organ degeneration correlated with low
conductance. In fact, it was Dr. Tiller who mapped the Meridian Tooth
correlates each tooth with its associated organs, glands, and anatomical
structures on the same meridian. Infected or diseased teeth, as well as
dental implants, block electrical conductivity on meridians and so can
alter the health of other organs located on the same meridian and vice
The Dark Side of Implants
Perhaps you have decided you must
extract your root canal treated teeth to maintain or regain health—against
the clear position stated by the American Association of Endodontists above.
You chose a biological dentist who can help you avoid cavitations, and
boosted your immune system. How should you replace the space? Interestingly,
the more complex and biologically incompatible the option, the more costly
it is. Costs vary widely, as do longevity estimates.
Implants are essentially an artificial root screwed into your
jawbone, topped with an artificial tooth or used as an anchor for a bridge
or partial denture. Implants are displacing root canals because they look,
feel, and function very much like a natural tooth, and do not interfere with
normal oral activities.
They help maintain bone that normally dissolves over time after a tooth is
extracted. They can last a long time, and do not require grinding down
adjacent teeth, as a fixed bridge would require. But you have to remember
success is not measured only by tooth function, but function within your
body as a whole.
Here are a few important aspects of dental implants you must
seriously consider before making the decision to go forward with this major
investment. Dead tissues do not conduct energy, implants therefore, whether
titanium or zirconium, slow energy flow along meridians. Your body must
constantly compensate for this. As with root canals, your associated organs,
glands, or anatomical structures may functionally decline.
Most people with a dental implant have other metallic dental
repairs present, which only exacerbates energetic chaos. In fact, the
implant screw and replacement tooth are usually different metals. These two
dissimilar metals within an electrolyte (saliva) effectively turn your mouth
into a battery. Additionally, if you still have gold, mercury, copper, tin,
silver filings, or nickel-based crowns in your mouth, these will also
contribute to the galvanic currents being generated.
What You Need to Know About Titanium Implants
Most implants used today are made of
titanium. So when your mouth is functioning as a battery due to the
dissimilar metals present, there are resulting chaotic galvanic currents
that continuously drive ions from the titanium or its alloys, which include
small amounts of vanadium or aluminum. These metallic ions are then
transported around your body, around the clock, where they bind to proteins
and can wreak havoc with your health. Some people are more susceptible to
the resulting inflammatory, allergy, and autoimmune problems than others.
There is a blood test7 to
help determine this sensitivity.
Though you're exposed to fluoride through many avenues, tap
drinking water and dental products remain your most significant sources. If
you drink tap water or use fluoridated toothpaste, it is important to know
that fluoride accelerates titanium corrosion in the extreme (up to 500
microg/(cm2 x d)). Low pH values (acidity in the mouth or a dry mouth)
accelerate this effect profoundly.8Of
course, corrosion of the other metals also accelerates ion release.
Previous research9 has
amounts of tin released by the enhanced corrosion of amalgam [in the
presence of titanium] might contribute measurably to the daily intake of
this element; the corrosion current generated reached values known to
cause taste sensations. If the buffer systems of adjacent tissues… are
not able to cope with the high pH generated around the titanium, local
tissue damage may ensue; this relationship is liable to be overlooked,
as it leaves no evidence in the form of corrosion products."
While most people do not notice galvanic currents, others
experience unexplained nerve shocks, ulcerations, a salty or metallic taste
or a burning sensation in their mouth. Noticeable or not, oral galvanic
currents are commonly as high as 100 micro-amps, yet your brain operates on
7 to 9 nano-amps—a current more than 1,000 times weaker. Given your brain's
proximity to your mouth, biological dentists are concerned the constant high
and chaotic electrical activity may misdirect brain impulses. These currents
can contribute to insomnia, brain fog, ear-ringing, epilepsy, and dizziness.
The possibility that titanium implants may act as antennas
that direct microwaves from your cell phone and cellular transmission towers
into your body also deserves study. As Dr. Douglas Swartzendruber, a
professor at the University of Colorado has said:"Anything
implanted in bone will create an autoimmune response. The only difference is
the length of time it takes."
Titanium implants are certainly known to suppress important
immune cells such as your T-cells, white blood cells critical to immune
system function, and create oxidative stress as measured by rH2 values (a
measurement of oxidation-reduction potential under a specific pH). Diseases
associated with implants are not all that different from those associated
with root canals, and include a number of different autoimmune and
neurological disorders, such as:
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Other complications of implanted titanium include occasional
facial eczema as your skin tries to detoxify the titanium ions. Dental
implants also have no fibrous "seal" to prevent microbial invasion. If you
make the decision to get a dental implant, it's wise to use floss
impregnated with ozonated oil around the neck of each implant daily.
Alternatives to Titanium Implants
Zirconium implants are a newer
innovation in dentistry and many biological dentists now use them. These
implants bypass some of the problems of titanium mentioned above. They still
block energy flow, but at least they are electrically neutral, eliminating
the potential to interfere with your brain impulses. The implant itself also
does not contribute to electrical galvanic currents being generated in your
mouth. But you still need to be careful as the artificial tooth that is
ultimately screwed onto the zirconium implant may have a metal base.
Zirconium implants also release ions, but at a much slower rate than
These implants seem to last quite a long time. One systematic
review showed that over the 10-30 year period studied, there was only a 1.3
percent to five percent loss of implanted teeth in clinically
well-maintained mouths. For those with less optimal maintenance, it was more
like a 14-20 percent loss of implanted teeth over that time. Don't even
think about smoking though! Endodontic literature has a very different slant
on the benefits of implants, of course.
Traditional Bridges Can Be Costly and Relatively Impermanent
First off, bridges don't last all that
long. The average bridge lasts eight years, with a range of five to 15
years. For this reason, "permanent bridges" are no longer considered
"permanent." A traditional bridge is comprised of several units – the
artificial teeth and the abutments. Abutments are the crowns (caps) made to
cover the anchor teeth. The bridge is permanently bonded in place to span a
gap that replaces at least one missing tooth. Broken down or completely
intact, the abutment teeth to each side of the gap are aggressively cut away
to accept the covering crown.
Or should I say smothering crown? In my video above, I used
an analogy of a healthy tooth being like a fountain. A crown stifles the
natural nutritive, cleansing, hydrating flow of lymph. It can no longer
"breathe." Why do this to two good teeth that need no dental work for the
sake of one (or two) missing teeth? Some biological doctors think these
should be removed periodically so the underlying teeth can be cleaned up.
If one of the supporting crowned teeth breaks or develops
decay or nerve damage, the bridge and its three or more crowns must be
removed and replaced. As a hygienist, I can tell you that most people are
terrible about cleaning around the abutment teeth and under the artificial
tooth. Margins are very susceptible to decay. Again, I advise my clients to
use ozonated oil around all crown margins as an extra degree of caution.
Good personal care is one key to longevity. And once again, avoid smoking!
I am no fan of crowns as I explained in a previous
Dr. Mercola. The more a tooth is destroyed during restoration, the less able
it is to withstand chewing forces. Also, forces which once could transfer
through the organic, flexible bulk of the tooth to the root now must travel
along the outside of a stiff crown to concentrate at the gum margin – hardly
a recipe for longevity of either the underlying tooth or the crown itself.
Biomimetic Considerations to Take into Account
Biomimetic means mimicking nature. In
choosing dental materials, a dentist must weigh the ability of the body's
immune system to ignore dental materials after recognition, called
biocompatibility, with the beauty and function patients demand. They must
find materials that match the flexibility of teeth so they can absorb daily
chewing and clenching stresses. Materials should expand and contract at the
same rate as teeth do when exposed to oral temperature fluctuations and they
must resist wear and fracture.
Porcelain crowns are about four times harder than natural
teeth and accelerate wear on opposing teeth. They fracture far more easily
than zirconia based ceramic crowns, which are biocompatible, beautiful, and
strong. These benefits come at the cost of stiffness. Zirconia based ceramic
crowns are poor shock absorbers, which can be hard on your jaw joint and the
bones that anchor your teeth. A new material, poly-ceramic DiamondCrown,
comes closer to meeting all these requirements, and is biocompatible for
about 80 percent of people tested. More biocompatible and biomimetic dental
materials will emerge as these principals are more widely recognized.
Other Points to Consider
Your cranial (head) bones rhythmically
move. Their gentle movements are thought to help drain your sinuses, aid
nasal breathing, and influence your nervous system via movement of
cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid that bathes your brain and nerves in your
This rhythmic pumping of cranial bones is particularly
important at night because it helps the glymphatic system flush waste
products from your brain that have built up during the day. Think of the
glymphatic system as your brain's garbage truck; glial cells create high
pressure channels for cerebrospinal fluid that dilate and flow during sleep
as blood pumps through arteries and as cranial bones "breathe." They close
during wakefulness. When movement is restricted, migraines or a build-up of
the amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimers can occur. The glymphatic
system may be one of the most important reasons you sleep.
TMJ (jaw joint) specialists, osteopaths and craniosacral
therapists recognize the need to maintain cranial bone motion. These
clinicians suggest that no fixed dentistry, whether "permanent" bridgework
or metal partial, should cross the midline of the upper or lower jaw.
If you choose to have a permanent bridge, avoid porcelain
fused to metal, since these metals contain nickel. Some dentists will assure
you that they would never use a nickel-based metal; they use stainless
steel! But stainless steel contains at least 10 percent chromium, vanadium,
and nickel and/or manganese. I recommend going metal-free!
Fixed bridges were once considered premium care, since they,
like implants, look, feel and function much like permanent teeth. In my
experience, both require about the same amount of extra personal and
clinical care. Incidentally, dentists will occasionally recommend a
cantilever bridge, anchoring a false tooth to just one neighbor instead of
two. These are less costly, but can certainly torque the anchor tooth, which
it cannot always withstand.
Resin Bonded Bridge—A Less Costly Alternative, But Just as
Resin bonded bridges (Maryland bridges)
are a minimally invasive option for replacing missing teeth in certain
situations. They are generally only considered for anterior tooth
replacement. Design, materials, skill, and patient selection largely dictate
longevity and satisfaction. Fortunately, design and materials have
significantly evolved. Unlike traditional bridges, resin bonded bridges
require much less reduction of supporting teeth. Instead, the dentist
slightly reduces the backs of the neighboring teeth onto which "wings"
attached to the artificial tooth are bonded.
Materials can be all resin, porcelain, porcelain bonded to
metal, or zirconium. Most doctors still fabricate these bridges with a wing
to either side of the artificial tooth, though the literature seems to
suggest it is better to just have one – to cantilever the missing tooth off
one supporting tooth. Interestingly, this is because it is recognized that
cranial bones and teeth move and that the anchoring teeth do not move
equally. This puts stress on the bonds, which can lead to failure. Also,
since it is unlikely that both bonds would break at the same time, the
debonding often goes unnoticed, allowing decay to set in under the debonded
Resin bonded bridges are a good option for adolescents with
missing teeth, when the bridge is well designed. Most replacement options
cannot be considered until you have finished maturing physically. These
bridges help maintain space and are fairly easy to care for.
If you have teeth that have loosened due to gum disease, some
would add another advantage of resin bonded bridges – they help splint
loosened teeth together. This is true, but unless your gums are disease-free
and cleaned on a daily basis at home, it might be time to remove them
because in this case, it might be extremely difficult to self-cleanse daily
at home. We are not just looking at longevity of the teeth, but longevity of
The downside of resin bonded bridges is that they're somewhat
fragile. If made with metals, the usual caveats apply: mixed metals lead to
galvanic currents and a panoply of problems already addressed. Again, 100
percent zirconium would avoid this. Remember, biological dentists try to be
metal free and avoid metal-based crowns and bridges. It isn't just the
galvanic currents these set up, but the release of
nickel/chromium/manganese/vanadium ions. A better restoration option might
be the Carlson Bridge – a resin bonded bridge that requires no drilling into
adjacent teeth. Placed in one appointment, these economical, prefabricated,
"winged" replacement teeth can last many years. An advantage is that the
bond to adjacent teeth is less rigid, so cranial bones can shift as they
Partials—Your Least Expensive Option
Going back in time, removable partials
were all dentistry offered to replace missing teeth. Our current culture
values looking young, so partials – associated with our grandparents – are a
difficult aesthetic choice. They may however be the choice that offers the
best chance for aging well.
Partials are designed based on how many teeth need replacing. Metal
frameworks were once the norm, but the future lies in non-metal dental
repairs. New materials:
Are less obvious
Avoid the adverse properties of metal restorations
Are able to distribute chewing forces over a greater area
compared to metal framework partials, and are therefore more comfortable
Relines are less frequent
According to the Clifford Biocompatibility Test, Flexite
and Valplast (light, flexible, yet strong nylon resins) are
biocompatible for 99 percent of the population. Lucitone FRS is a very
similar biocompatible nylon resin. None of these use a heavy metal
(cadmium) as a pink colorant as some other dental materials do. Many
patients choose a clear framework to avoid any possible reaction to the
colorant. Nylon materials can draw in water and with it, odors and
stain, though good hygiene can mitigate this problem.
VisiClear is another nylon-free biocompatible partial
For best aesthetics, biocompatibility, and biomimetic
function, choose DiamondCrown or zirconia teeth in your partial rather than
the default acrylic teeth most often used. If you must add another tooth to
any of the above partials, that is possible, too. The lab simply reuses the
artificial teeth, the most valuable component, and remakes the framework
with the new tooth!
Biocomp Labs10 and
the Clifford Consulting and Research Lab11 offer
individualized dental materials testing, recommended especially for those
with multiple chemical sensitivities or anyone who needs dental work and
feels their health could be challenged by the wide range of dental materials
Most patients tell me they consider these newer partials to be comfortable
and aesthetically unnoticeable, though they are annoyed that foods tend to
trap under them. People with spider partials tell me they often take them
out to eat, but wear them the rest of the time to maintain the space until
dentistry offers them more biocompatible "fixed" choices.
At least one reader will likely comment that if only people
adopted a certain lifestyle, these kinds of advanced dentistry would be
unnecessary. I couldn't agree more.
The reality is that most people's mouths are in deplorable shape. I try not
to spend much time thinking about the rescue dentistry presented here. Most
of my advocacy work centers around changing how we approach dentistry so
your children or their children can avoid these compromising options.
Ultimately, the answers to better oral and general health start in infancy
and include a radically different model of dentistry and definition of
health. The answers are out there now (see Mouth
along with a few clinicians who are well versed in these strategies. Seek
them out, and if you can't find someone who does the kind of dentistry you
want in your area, be ready to ask them to learn it.
Resources to Help You Find a Biological Dentist
If you are seriously considering any of
the dental procedures done above, it is best to have them performed by a
biological dentist. The following organizations can help you to find a
mercury-free, biological dentist that would best serve your needs:
About the Author
Carol Vander Stoep, RDH, BSDH, OMT, is an advocate for change in dentistry.
She believes mid-level providers – dental hygienists with expanded training
– must be empowered to go beyond their serious limitations in the United
States. Training a core of motivated hygienists at a clinic in Belize, her
intent is to help bring an advanced model of Minimally Invasive Preventive
Dentistry and posture-guided early facial development to India and China
based on the model of "Barefoot Doctors." A clinical hygienist, orofacial
myofunctional therapist, lecturer, and writer, she brought many of these
concepts together in her book "Mouth Matters: How Your Mouth Ages Your Body
and What YOU Can do About It.