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Does root canal therapy belong in the holistic dental practice?
One of the goals of holistic dentistry is to guard the general health and wellbeing of the individual patient. As such, the inclusion of root canal therapy in the holistic dental practice may seem ill-advised. A tooth treated with root canal therapy, according to multiple studies, has a great potential for harboring unhealthy pathogens like fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Due to the removal of the root and nerve, the treated tooth is also considered dead, as it no longer receives nutrients and blood. Why, then, would there be any benefit to this controversial procedure?
In the standard form of root canal therapy, there really is no benefit. This procedure involves the direct removal of damaged tooth material, or enamel and dentin. Once the canal is reached, the pulp tissue, root, nerve, and other vessels are removed. The canal is then irrigated with bleach and filled with gutta percha. Historically, and still by many dentists today, this process is thought to produce lasting, healthy effects. Those treated for subsequent infection or who experience other concerning health symptoms would say otherwise.
Ozone Makes a Difference
Ozone is a natural element used in various dental treatments. Made using advanced equipment, medical grade ozone acts just as it does in nature: as a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. The reason that most root canals fail is because bacteria and other pathogens linger in the vast network of tubes that branch off of the extracted tooth root. Just because the root has been removed does not mean bacteria cannot live in the area. The existing tubules are far too extensive to be fully sterilized by a liquid medicament.
Ozone achieves what other solutions can't: destruction of unhealthy microorganisms in the canals that extend far beyond the point of origin of infection. When oxygen (ozone is energized oxygen) is introduced into the canal in gas form, an oxidative reaction occurs, pulling the gas further into and through tubules. A similar reaction occurs when ozone gas is applied to the root canal itself. As canal fluids are dissolved by ozone, its effect spreads to the tooth's entire terminal, disinfection the area.
In root canal therapy, ozone penetrates the canal as well as accessory canals, dentinal tubules, and infected dentin material. No other solution has this capability. The action of ozone in the root canal and surrounding areas is far more powerful and far safer than caustic chlorine. It is also destroys pathogens thousands of times faster. Additionally, the negative charge of ozone interacts with positively charged infection in such a way that no harmful byproducts are produced.
In a 2004 Japanese study, ozonated water acted as quickly as 2.5 percent sodium hyphchlorite but did not produce the toxicity of the caustic solution. In this same study, it was observed that fibroblasts associated with the treatment area become more active after ozone treatment, indicating rapid healing.
Root canal therapy can be successful with the powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial action of ozone. This substance is not only effective but is also a safer, more biocompatible option for patients receiving this treatment.
Ozone may be used as:
- A pretreatment rinse
- As a file lubricant
- As a canal irrigant to remove the biofilm in small, hard-to-reach areas
- In gas form to insufflate canals and destroy unhealthy pathogens in lateral and accessory canals as well as dentinal tubules.
Dr. Phil Ra's smile studio in Upland, CA is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of our patients. Learn about ozone in root canal therapy as well as alternative treatment options when you call (909) 320-2727.