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Paige Woods, DDS: It’s another big topic in dentistry and again, I think I had two patients yesterday alone who came into the office and one said, “My brother told me I had to get all these root canals out. They’re causing cancer or they’re going to cause cancer,” and another said, “ever since I got it done, I felt horrible. I’ve been sick and I just need to find out if this is the cause.”

Paige Woods, DDS: So it is a common topic in my practice. So again, just like the restorations and giving options, my job is to educate the patients and go through what I have seen and based on their mouth, the teeth that they have, their condition, come up with a plan that’s best for them.

Paige Woods, DDS: Today we have options as far as with the root canals. Let’s say that the tooth is in the front and there is no abscess and the patient does not have some kind of systemic manifestations along that meridian, my recommendation will be to observe it. If the patient is adamant and they just do not want it in their mouth then, of course, I am going to help. Come up with other ideas as far as in plants or doing a porcelain bridge. I’m absolutely fine with doing that but again at the end of the day, each patient is an individual. No two patients are alike. No two patients have the same systemic conditions.

Paige Woods, DDS: Fortunately we do have biocompatible options as far as re treating the root canals. If it is a valuable tooth. If the patient only has one molar and its root canal treated and the need that tooth for chewing effectively, then absolutely, in my opinion, that is an option that is on the table and with the biocompatible materials, unlike traditional root canal materials, this material, when it comes in contact with moisture is hydrophilic. Which means it actually expands.

Paige Woods, DDS: So the traditional materials are hydrophobic. Over time it starts to shrink so it created a void where bacteria are able to go up into those canals and cause that tooth to be re-infected. Some holistic dentist absolutely will say “get the tooth, the root canal treated tooth out immediately”. Me on the other hand, I like to weigh all of the options based on the patient and all of his concerns.

Paige Woods, DDS: For instance, if a patient has an abscess on one of their pre-molars and they also had a lump in their breast along the same routine. I’m not gonna mess with that tooth and have it retreated. Its gonna come out and we’re gonna talk about placing a bridge there absolutely.

Paige Woods, DDS: I’m not anti-root canals, if it’s needed and we are able to retreat it with biocompatible materials then I will do that. But again it comes down to, the patient needs to come, I’ll evaluate them. We’ll have a discussion. I will talk to them about all of their options and we’ll come up with a plan together.

Interviewer: So you look at the whole body versus just the individual tooth in making the decision. Is that right?

Paige Woods, DDS: Absolutely. Yea there are no two patients alike and if a patient is having a systemic manifestation along the same meridian that the root canal treated tooth or an infected tooth is on, I’m gonna address that differently.

Interviewer: Let’s say that it is in the best interest of the patient to remove the tooth, what next? How do we decide what to do? What are the options?

Paige Woods, DDS: Well that’s a really great question. We have a lot of really great options. If I have two healthy teeth, say I remove a tooth and there are two healthy teeth on the other side then my number one decision is going to be to do an implant or porcelain bridge. If the tooth we’re extracting is along a meridian where they have been having some cystic manifestations then my first reaction will not be to put a titanium implant there.

Paige Woods, DDS: So I will be an advocate for a bridge but if the patient doesn’t have a tooth to hold the bridge, then we’re gonna have to start considering other options as far as something that is removable but either way we do have options.