Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Subscribe to the Magazine for free
Subscribe for free to keep reading! If you are already subscribed, enter your email address to log back in.
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Are you a healthcare practitioner?
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

A Root Cause Medicine Approach to Root Canals

Medically reviewed by 
A Root Cause Medicine Approach to Root Canals

Root canal treatments have become a common solution in dentistry for addressing tooth decay and infection. As one of the primary methods for preserving natural teeth, root canals play a significant role in maintaining oral health

However, there is growing interest in exploring alternative perspectives on root canal therapy. In this article, we aim to explore a root cause medicine perspective on root canal therapy and explore integrative treatments that address the underlying causes of dental issues (41).


What Are Root Canals?

A root canal, also known as endodontic therapy, is a dental procedure aimed at treating a dental infection or damage within the pulp of a tooth. Root canals are designed to eliminate deep infections within the tooth and are necessary when a tooth becomes cracked from injury or there is a deep cavity from a previous filling. 

The procedure requires anesthesia and is not painful. However, patients may feel discomfort for a few days after the procedure. During a root canal procedure, the dentist removes the pulp inside the tooth, disinfects, and shapes the root canal by placing a filling to seal the space inside the tooth (41).

Concerns with Traditional Root Canal Therapy

Traditional root canal therapy, while practiced worldwide, has raised concerns regarding long-term consequences. The primary concerns with traditional root canal therapy are the risk of developing a chronic infection, the potential toxicity of the materials used, and the systemic health impacts of leaving dead tissues in the body. 

Many alternative health practitioners hypothesize that leaving a dead tooth inside of the mouth can result in chronic bacterial toxicity due to the necrotic tissue left behind. Root canal-treated teeth can harbor bacteria, viruses, and fungi, with the toxins they produce causing systemic health implications. 

One study involved isolating bacteria from root canal teeth and observing the systemic health effects on experimental animals. The study showed that many systemic health issues developed due to lingering infection (32).

The Top 3 Alternatives to Root Canals

While a root canal may be recommended as the best option, in many cases, there might be alternatives that a practitioner can consider for patients. Here are the top 3 alternatives:

1. Ozone Therapy 

Ozone therapy is an alternative treatment approach gaining attention in holistic dentistry. Ozone is composed of three oxygen molecules and acts as a potent oxidant and oxidizer. Ozone can kill a broad spectrum of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. 

In the context of root canals, ozone can be used to disinfect dental tissues, such as infected root canals and periodontal pockets. Ozone therapy has shown efficacy in wound healing, gingivitis, periodontitis, dental caries, and root canals (33).

2. Regenerative Procedures 

Pulp capping and revascularization are emerging regenerative dental procedures that aim to preserve and regenerate the tooth’s pulp rather than removing it entirely, as in traditional root canal therapy. The goal of pulp revascularization is to re-establish blood flow and allow the root to continue developing. Pulp revascularization is reserved for those with immature necrotic teeth, allowing the tooth to complete maturation and heal fully, rather than resorting to extraction (6).

3. Extraction and Biocompatible Implants 

In cases where tooth extraction is inevitable, you can choose biocompatible implants to avoid metal implants and the potential downsides of root canals. Traditionally, dental implants consist of titanium, which can potentially cause inflammation and irritation of the gums in patients with autoimmune diseases

Additionally, some patients experience metal allergies, making titanium implants problematic. Zirconia implants have been used as an alternative, which is composed of a ceramic-like substance. Zirconia implants are less likely to cause inflammation and allergic reactions in patients with metal sensitivities. Additionally, zirconia implants have been shown to develop less plaque than titanium implants (47).

How to Prevent the Need for a Root Canal 

Preventing the need for a root canal is always preferred. There are really two different paths to preventative oral care, and when combined, they can lead to healthy, happy smiles.  

1. Prevent From the Inside With Nutrition

Just like any other body part, it is absolutely necessary to eat sufficient nutrients to support the health of the teeth and gums.  

Adopting a low-sugar, high-fiber diet with prevalent omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to decrease the risk of developing gum disease. Specifically, eating a Mediterranean diet, which already includes plenty of omega-3s, can help prevent not only root canals but also cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. 

2. Prevent From the Outside With Oral Hygiene 

It is recommended to brush your teeth at least twice daily, floss once daily, use an anti-microbial mouthwash every day, and avoid smoking tobacco products to achieve optimal oral health (9, 29).

How to Support Healing After a Root Canal

Even with healthy oral hygiene and a nutritious diet, some individuals may find that they still need to have a root canal performed. When this is the case, the following practices can support healing and prevent further issues:

Post Root Canal Nutrient Support:

Certain nutrients and supplements can also play a significant role in supporting healing and preventing infection following dental procedures when they are needed. 

  • Vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis, which is needed for wound healing and tissue repair after dental procedures. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, which helps reduce inflammation. Studies show that consuming 90 mg per day for men and 75 mg per day for women leads to better periodontal health.
  • Vitamin D supplementation before surgery is essential to optimize surgical outcomes and support proper bone metabolism. In individuals undergoing periodontal surgery for severe chronic periodontitis, maintaining sufficient levels of vitamin D (serum 25(OH)D >20 ng/mL) beforehand has shown benefits. Post-surgery, these patients exhibited improved gum attachment to teeth and reduced depth of spaces between gums and teeth for as long as 12 months.
  • Lastly, Vitamin B12 supplementation (at 2.5 mg daily) has been shown to reduce pain and facial swelling after dental procedures (25, 30).

Post Root Canal Detoxification Practices: 

Root-cause approaches to detoxification can play a significant role in addressing concerns about the release of toxins from root canal teeth. 

  • Supporting the body’s detoxification pathways using NAC, milk thistle, glutathione, and curcumin have all been shown to enhance liver function and allow the body to release toxins more readily. Dosages should be individualized and discussed with healthcare practitioners.
  • Lifestyle changes such as exercise (specifically exercises that make you sweat!), proper hydration, and the use of infrared saunas are also supportive of eliminating toxins through urine and sweat (20, 43).

The Importance of Individualized Care

Individualized care is essential in root cause medicine, particularly when determining the most appropriate treatment for dental issues, such as whether to proceed with a root canal or consider alternative options. 

Considering individual biological and genetic factors such as social circumstances, environmental exposures, socioeconomic status, existing medical conditions, and general health status are important topics in decision-making regarding the best avenue for each patient. 

In root cause medicine, patients are active participants in the decision-making process regarding their health care. By considering patient preferences and values, physicians and dentists can develop individualized treatment plans and procedures that best fit each individual (7).


Key Takeaways

  • From a root cause perspective, it’s essential to consider alternative treatments when evaluating the decision to undergo root canal therapy.  
  • Alternatives such as ozone therapy, pulp capping, and revascularization, or biocompatible dental implants offer viable options that align with the principles of root cause medicine. 
  • By embracing a holistic approach to dental care, patients can address immediate dental issues while also addressing systemic health and overall well-being.
The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
Learn More
No items found.

Lab Tests in This Article

No items found.

1. Araújo, P. R. de S., Silva, L. B., Neto, A. P. dos S., Almeida de Arruda, J. A., Álvares, P. R., Sobral, A. P. V., Júnior, S. A., Leão, J. C., Braz da Silva, R., & Sampaio, G. C. (2017). Pulp Revascularization: A Literature Review. The Open Dentistry Journal, 10, 48–56.

2. Bertanga, B. (2024a, January 4). Understanding the Potential Benefits of Milk Thistle for Fatty Liver. Rupa Health.

3. Bertanga, B. (2024b, February 9). Nutrition and Oral Health: How Your Diet Impacts The Health of Your Mouth. Rupa Health.

4. Bertanga, B. (2024c, February 13). The Link Between Oral Health and Overall Well-Being. Rupa Health.

5. Bertanga, B. (2024d, March 15). The Impact Of Stress On The Oral Microbiome: Managing Its Effects. Rupa Health.

6. Bukhari, S., Kohli, M. R., Setzer, F., & Karabucak, B. (2016). Outcome of Revascularization Procedure: A Retrospective Case Series. Journal of Endodontics, 42(12), 1752–1759.

7. Camilla Böhme Kristensen, Koula Asimakopoulou, & Scambler, S. (2023). Enhancing patient-centred care in dentistry: a narrative review. British Medical Bulletin.

8. Christie, J. (2022, December 13). 95% of American’s Aren’t Getting Enough Fiber: How Many Grams Should We Be Consuming Per Day?

9. Cleveland Clinic. (2022, April 21). Oral Hygiene: Best Practices & Instructions for Good Routine. Cleveland Clinic.

10. Cloyd, J. (2023, October 2). A Functional Medicine Approach to Stress Management. Rupa Health.

11. Cloyd, J. (2024a, January 8). The Science of Hydration: How Water Intake Affects Overall Health. Rupa Health.

12. Cloyd, J. (2024b, January 15). Assessing Liver Function in Detoxification: When to Order Comprehensive Liver Panels. Rupa Health.

13. Cloyd, J. (2024c, March 20). Do You Know the Connection Between Gum Disease and Dementia? Rupa Health.

14. Cloyd, K. (2023, October 3). Functional Medicine Protocol for Autoimmune Diseases: Balancing the Immune System. Rupa Health.

15. Davey, J. A. (2023, October 16). Is Oral Hygiene Related To Better Brain Health? Rupa Health.

16. DePorto, T. (2023a, January 6). Omega 3’s: The Superfood Nutrient You Need To Know About. Rupa Health.

17. DePorto, T. (2023b, January 31). Glutathione Health Benefits: The Master Antioxidant. Rupa Health.

18. Elvis, A. M., & Ekta, J. S. (2011). Ozone therapy: A clinical review. Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine, 2(1), 66–70.

19. Garrison, K. (2024, February 6). The Cortisol-Aging Connection: Can Lowering Stress Hormones Slow Aging? Rupa Health.

20. Greenan, S. (2021, December 14). Signs of toxic overload and how to properly detox. Rupa Health.

21. Kalaichandran, A. (2024a, February 26). The Power of Microbiome Diversity: A Shield Against Pathogen Invasion. Rupa Health.

22. Kalaichandran, A. (2024b, March 19). Unveiling the Shadow: How Smoking Casts a Long-Term Impact on Immune Health. Rupa Health.

23. Khakham, C. (2023a, March 7). Top Medical Evidence Supporting Curcumin’s Health Benefits. Rupa Health.

24. Khakham, C. (2023b, July 10). Understanding Environmental Toxins and Their Impact on Health. Rupa Health.

25. Lau, B. Y., Johnston, B. D., Fritz, P. C., & Ward, W. E. (2013). Dietary Strategies to Optimize Wound Healing after Periodontal and Dental Implant Surgery: An Evidence-Based Review. The Open Dentistry Journal, 7(1), 36–46.

26. Maholy, N. (2023a, March 15). How Processed Sugar Affects Our Health. Rupa Health.

27. Maholy, N. (2023b, April 14). How to reduce stress through mind-body therapies. Rupa Health.

28. Malani, S. (2023, February 22). Inflammatory Markers 101: How To Interpret. Rupa Health.

29. Martinon, P., Fraticelli, L., Giboreau, A., Dussart, C., Bourgeois, D., & Carrouel, F. (2021). Nutrition as a Key Modifiable Factor for Periodontitis and Main Chronic Diseases. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 10(2), E197.

30. Moores, J. (2013). Vitamin C: a wound healing perspective. British Journal of Community Nursing, 18(Sup12), S6–S11.

31. Schünemann, F. H., Galárraga-Vinueza, M. E., Magini, R., Fredel, M., Silva, F., Souza, J. C. M., Zhang, Y., & Henriques, B. (2019). Zirconia surface modifications for implant dentistry. Materials Science and Engineering: C, 98, 1294–1305.

32. Stuart, N. (n.d.). Toxicities Associated with Asymptomatic Root Canal Treated Teeth. Retrieved March 24, 2024, from

33. Suh Y, Patel S, Kaitlyn R, Gandhi J, Joshi G, Smith NL, Khan SA. Clinical utility of ozone therapy in dental and oral medicine. Medical Gas Research. 2019;9(3):163.

34. Sweetnich, J. (2023a, April 13). What is NAC’s Role in The Body? Rupa Health.

35. Sweetnich, J. (2023b, April 26). Unlocking the Benefits of Vitamin B12: The Importance of Maintaining Optimal Levels. Rupa Health.

36. Sweetnich, J. (2023c, May 4). Getting to Know Vitamin D: From Testing to Supplementing and Meeting your RDA’s. Rupa Health.

37. Sweetnich, J. (2023d, May 9). How to make sure your patients are getting enough vitamin C in their diet: Understanding testing, rdas, and the benefits of supplementation. Rupa Health.

38. Sweetnich, J. (2023e, June 30). Top 5 Antioxidants That Can Improve Your Health and How To Test Your Patient’s Levels. Rupa Health.

39. Tolahunase, M., Sagar, R., & Dada, R. (2017). Impact of Yoga and Meditation on Cellular Aging in Apparently Healthy Individuals: A Prospective, Open-Label Single-Arm Exploratory Study. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2017, 1–9.

40. Weinberg, J. (2022, November 16). 4 Science Backed Health Benefits of The Mediterranean Diet. Rupa Health.

41. What is a Root Canal? | American Association of Endodontists. (2017). American Association of Endodontists.

42. Whitman, S. (2023, February 24). What is Functional Dentistry. Rupa Health.

43. Yoshimura, H. (2023a, August 1). A Comprehensive Guide to Nutrition and Supplements for Supporting Detoxification Pathways. Rupa Health.

44. Yoshimura, H. (2023b, August 9). Heavy Metals Test 101: Why Testing Heavy Metals is Important For A Root Cause Medicine Approach. Rupa Health.

45. Yoshimura, H. (2023c, November 7). The remarkable power of exercise on our health: A comprehensive overview. Rupa Health.

46. Yoshimura, H. (2024, March 14). The Relationship Between Oral Health and Systemic Disease. Rupa Health.

47. Zirconia vs Titanium Dental Implants: Which are Better? (n.d.).

Subscribe to the Magazine for free to keep reading!
Subscribe for free to keep reading, If you are already subscribed, enter your email address to log back in.
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Are you a healthcare practitioner?
Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.