Last week I went to my regular, traditional dentist and she told me that my sore tooth is caused by an infection and I need a root canal. A friend of mine suggested that I contact her dentist — who is a holistic dentist — for another opinion. He suggested that I have my tooth pulled then replaced with a dental implant. So now I don’t know which way to go with this. Is losing a tooth better than having a root canal? I’d love some advice in making this decision.
Lynn, Springfield, IL
I completely understand why you’re looking for some helpful advice with this; I would have a tough time trying to make a choice between these two differing professional opinions as well. What you’ll actually find is that this is not an uncommon problem when seeking help from dentists who differ greatly in their opinions. As you can imagine, holistic dentists and traditional dentist base their viewpoints on vastly different philosophies.
Holistic dentists are concerned with your whole body. Therefore their treatment advice will stem from this belief. If you have an infection in your tooth, Holistic dentists take into account the possibility of it spreading to other parts of your system, causing you more health problems. If he recommended that you remove the tooth, it may be because he doesn’t necessarily trust that a root canal will be enough. Many holistic dentists believe that you can never really rid the infection from the pulp of your tooth because infection can hide within the surface of your tooth. To be certain the infection is gone, it’s likely the dentist suggested you go ahead and pull the tooth.
Traditional dentists, however, adhere closely to the methods they’ve been taught in dental school and what they’re currently learning in dental workshops and continuing education courses. Traditional dentists believe that they can get rid of the infection by removing the pulp, cleaning out the tooth chamber, and then tightly sealing it up. Add in a nice dose of antibiotics, and it’s a great chance of preventing further infection. And if it all doesn’t work the first time, they’ll repeat the process.
So what you have here are two, distinct methodologies in tackling the same problem. Both methods have proved to work. So if neither choice is wrong, which do you choose, right? Well, I’d say there’s a nice compromise to be found. There are some dentists who are choosing to try a fairly new method of treating infection. They sterilize the whole tooth not only the canal. By allowing the sterilizing agent to remain on the tooth for as long as a month so, the agent has time to really seep into the grooves of the tooth. If you think you might want to try the newer method, your next step is to do some research and find a dentist who is successfully performing the treatment.
Hope this helps.
This blog is sponsored by Buffalo dentist Warren M. Krutchick, DDS.