In this podcast, Dr. Nammy Patel talks about holistic endodontics. She explains how holistic alternatives to traditional endodontic treatments improve your health and safeguard your mouth.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher, and I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health, and author of the bestselling books, Age With Style: Guide To A Youthful Smile & Healthy Living, and Total Wellness: Understanding the Link Between Your Teeth and Your Health.
Today, our topic is holistic endodontics. Welcome, Dr. Nammy.
Dr. Nammy Patel: Thank you. Thank you for having me, John.
The Definition of Endodontics
John: Sure. Dr. Nammy, what does endodontics mean?
Dr. Nammy: Endodontics means the nerve of the tooth, it’s inside the tooth. So endo, inside, endodontics is the tooth, right? So inside the tooth, it’s the inner nerve, and it’s specialists who deal with the inner nerve of the tooth.
Now, what kind of problems do we talk about when we say endodontics? It means usually a root canal. That is probably what you’ve heard of. And an endodontist is somebody who does root canals and makes sure that the inner nerve, if it is infected, the infection is removed and sealed with material, so that more infection cannot get into it.
Holistic Treatments for Endodontic Problems
John: Okay. So what are the treatments generally for endodontic problems? You mentioned root canals, and then are there some holistic alternatives to those?
Dr. Nammy: Absolutely. So one of the biggest and most important things with endodontic root canals is that they’re done properly. So in the past, there’s been a lot of information about root canals leading to cancer, leading to kidney problems, leading to heart problems, different meridians, and pain and all sorts of stuff.
Now, that was true back in the days, because root canals weren’t done or endodontics wasn’t done to current technology. And we also didn’t know any better. We could not clean out all the infection that was inside the tooth. Sometimes there was a little bit of infection left behind, because the canals are so small, tiny little blood vessels that we could not access and clean out.
Now, in the last 25, 30 years, a lot of technology has evolved. So we now know the bacteria that are resistant and we now can kill them off via lasers and use of ozone, iodine, and a lot of different modalities.
We now have a better grasp on all types of bacteria that exist, we now have a better way to get rid of them and eradicate them, and we now have a better way to seal them off. And that’s what we call holistic endodontics. Because if you’re going to do a root canal, you need to make sure that there are no bugs left behind underneath there, and that you don’t have an infection. And in holistic endodontics, that’s what is done using lasers to make sure that all the bacteria are eradicated.
Treatment for Cracked Tooth Syndrome
John: Okay. What is cracked tooth syndrome and how do you treat that?
Dr. Nammy: So a cracked tooth syndrome is when the tooth is cracked all the way into the nerve. Now, in a cracked tooth, it could be superficial. So if it’s superficial, we can put a cap or a crown on it, and it’s fine. If it’s into the nerve, sometimes we can save the tooth by doing a root canal.
Now, sometimes the tooth cracks beyond the nerve and splits into half, and that tooth is not saveable, and so it must be extracted. And we look at alternative therapy like implants or bridges or something along those lines.
What Is Root Amputation?
John: And what is root amputation? Is that different from a root canal and do you sometimes have to do that?
Dr. Nammy: Yeah, it is. So a root amputation of a root canal or a nerve or a tooth, a root amputation means that there’s bacteria that go in from the top of the tooth, and there’s some bacteria that go in from the bottom of the root.
Now, a root amputation means if there’s infection from the bottom, inside the tooth, the root of the tooth needs to be cut and sealed off so that bacteria cannot invade the inside of the tooth. The majority of the disease and decay that we hear of are going from the tops of the teeth, people who aren’t brushing teeth, have acid reflux, something along those lines, or chip or break a tooth, so that’s all happening at the surface level. Now, sometimes bacteria can be at the level at the root, and that’s when the root amputation is done.
Laser Treatments as Alternatives to Root Canals
John: Can you talk a little bit more about the laser treatments as an alternative to root canals?
Dr. Nammy: Absolutely. So laser treatments are very powerful. We have now done studies and we now know there’s snake-like bacteria that are stuck to the teeth and into the nerve, and they’re resistant. So when we tried cleaning them out, it’s hard to clean them out and they don’t come out. So when lasers are utilized, the lasers eradicate the bacteria because there’s a specific frequency that’s utilized in order to kill them off, and then they’re plugged with a rubber-like material, and that makes it more sustainable.
Contact Green Dentistry to Talk About Holistic Endodontics
John: All right, well that’s great information, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Dr. Nammy: My pleasure, John. Thank you.
John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com or call 415-433-0119.