One thing I check is my patients’ fillings. For years, holistic dentists and integrative doctors have recommended avoiding mercury amalgams—based on the belief that neurotoxin can leech, potentially causing systemic issues for some people. (Note: If you do have these kind of fillings, be careful not to remove them the wrong way, look for someone on IAOMT who is SMART certified.)
If my patients are experiencing mystery symptoms, I also take note if they’ve had a root canal. I’ve found that my patients with infected root canals often suffer from difficulty with clarity of thought, brain fog, head and shoulder pain, tinnitus, visual disturbances, or fleeting tooth pain or numbness.
Root canals are typically done if there’s trauma to the tooth or the infection has breached the inner pulp of the tooth. The pulp chamber, smack dab in the center of the tooth, houses the living blood supply and nerves—along with an astonishing network of microscopic tubules that supply nutrients to the dentin (the layer just below the enamel). During the procedure, all the soft, living tissue of the pulp is removed so the the chamber and root can be filled. But we cannot clean, or fill, those miles of microtubules. In my experience, because these tubules are active, exchanging fluid, bacteria can infect them and continue to replicate—which can be problematic systematically. In these cases, I personally recommend ozone therapy, if it is an option for you.
What are other options besides a root canal? Pulling the tooth is one, however, it’s important to take great care in making these decisions. Keep in mind that a cone beam scan X-ray often misses the infection until the tooth is pulled, so I often recommend a CT scan. Ultimately, not everyone is the same, and each treatment plan should be individualized.
I also believe patients with neurodegenerative conditions should have a five minute oral exam, at a minimum. I have witnessed connections in my own patients to oral health and multiple sclerosis, for example. One of my MS patients had a cavitation problem, or a low grade simmering infection, after wisdom teeth removal.