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Root canal and illness

(38 Posts)
MelbyG Fri 04-Oct-19 08:30:56

I had a root canal back in June and soon after that I became ill. Odd symptoms which included debilitating nausea, weight loss, just very unwell. I asked the dentist at the time if my symptoms were related but he said no. I also asked my doctor who said that illness relating to a root canal would be very obvious and much more drastic. The doctors starting looking into it and after seeing various specialists, thinking it could be anything from blood cancer to gastro problems, results from my tests all came back normal and it was inconclusive. Symptoms came and went for several weeks and during this time I found out the root canal had failed, was put on antibiotics and then a few days ago had root canal retreatment. There is not much pain in my tooth but I now feel awful again with stomach upset and chills. I'm going back in to see the dentist again today. This has been going on for so long now and I feel that the infection in my tooth has been the cause of my overall ill health although no one seems keen to pinpoint that as the issue. I suppose the only way of knowing is if the tooth gets pulled and I start to feel better but the dentist is keen to do all he can to save the tooth. I understand why but the last few months have been so debilitating - I've had to take a lot of time off work and am so fed up of feeling rotten. The confusion in all of this is that I am also going in to the menopause and my tooth problems have coincided with missing periods and so I can' t work out if some of my nausea etc. is menopause related or tooth related. I'm also not sure if my dentist is reluctant to say that my symptoms could all be down to my tooth problem in case it's an admission of liability. Has anyone out there had similar issues with root canals/infected teeth leaving them unwell or any dentists who can be honest about patients who may have had ongoing symptoms as a result of an infected tooth.

OP’s posts: |
Ash39 Fri 04-Oct-19 09:00:37

I'm a dentist. I think it's extremely unlikely the root canal treatment ( or failure of it) is the cause of your health problems. If it was we wouldn't be doing them on patients several times a day up and down the country. It's a very localised procedure and it sounds like your dentist has done all he can

MelbyG Fri 04-Oct-19 09:10:27

Thanks for your response. Much appreciated. I've had a successful root canal before so I appreciate that normally the process is safe and reliable. I don't blame the dentist at all for it failing and understand that they've done the best they can but I'm wondering if there are rare instances when an underlying infection that is persistent has a systemic effect on the rest of the body. I guess the only thing to do is see the process through until the end. If the dentist now recommends seeing an endodontist for further treatment would this be worth it or at this stage is it likely to fail as well? Part of me just wants to get the tooth out but if, as you say, it's unlikely to be the cause of my problems, I don't want to rush this decision.

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Phimma Fri 04-Oct-19 09:33:39

Root canal treatment gave me 2 years of facial pain, agony at times. Because the tooth is dead, antibiotics are useless. It's routinely done but so many people don't realise it can have consequences detrimental to their health. I have an article backing this up which I will dig out when I get home.

So yes I do think the root canal treatment was the cause.

MelbyG Fri 04-Oct-19 09:43:39

Did you end up having the tooth out Phimma? And was that the end of your problems? I know there's been a lot of controversy with negative and ill informed press about root canals and I know for the most part they are successful but as with everything, there must be people who don't respond to treatment. I wonder about a constant infection being present in your body. I feel like my body is fighting something all the time and I am normally someone who has no health issues.

OP’s posts: |
Phimma Fri 04-Oct-19 10:00:13

Yes I had the tooth out eventually. Immediately I lost the awful pain!

It had cost me 2k trying to keep that tooth!!

MelbyG Fri 04-Oct-19 10:04:50

Yes, that's the other thing. It's a lot of money to sort it out. Did you get an implant or not bother?

OP’s posts: |
SallyWD Fri 04-Oct-19 10:10:30

I have no idea if it's linked but I really don't like root canal. It has never solved the problem for me (just prolonged the misery) and I've ended up having teeth removed which was a blessed relief.

BlueCornsihPixie Fri 04-Oct-19 12:24:54

The root canal wouldn't cause you to be unwell like that no. A root canal could fail, and the root filled tooth cause an infection in your jaw, you'd get swelling, so an abscess. This could make you feel unwell if you had an abscess but your bloods would show signs of infection, and there'd be obvious signs of infection in the area, like swelling and a painful tooth. It's not just going to make you feel unwell

If you've had two failed root canals your welcome to have the tooth extracted, that's a perfectly valid decision, it's your tooth. But I think it's unlikely that your general health will improve.

Phimmas sounds like a failed root canal that lead to toothache. That's not being ill from a root canal. There was potentially some vital pulp left or the root canal got infected, both suggest the root canal needed redoing or the tooth extracting, antibiotics can work on failed root canals. It's not a mystery illness caused by a root canal.

BlueCornsihPixie Fri 04-Oct-19 12:32:12

If the dentist recommends seeing an endodontist that's your call

A successful root canal won't make you unwell, it's literally just a bit of rubber filling in your tooth.

A failed one can lead to infection, as I said above. The cause is the tooth though not the root canal

So if you want to save the tooth, I see no reason why you shouldn't see an endodontist if it's something you can afford. At the same time as I said above having it extracted is also a valid choice.

Rachelover60 Fri 04-Oct-19 12:53:34

Have root canal fillings removed, people who have suffered tend to feel better straight away. It's not worth trying them imo, I would rather lose a tooth than have root canal.

MelbyG Fri 04-Oct-19 16:28:49

Thanks all for your comments.The dentist today has encouraged me to stick it out for another work to see if the retreatment has worked so we'll see how it goes. Appreciate that feeling generally unwell from a root canal seems strange but I've gone from being a completely healthy person with no issues at all to being quite ill for a few months with no other clear explanation or possible diagnosis. It strikes me that that if the tooth is infected and doesn't respond to treatment then immunity is low and the body is constantly fighting an infection, leaving the door open to other health complications. So, although not directly related to the root canal, my symptoms may have been exacerbated by the tooth problems.

OP’s posts: |
Phimma Fri 04-Oct-19 16:49:55

Here is the article I mentioned earlier.

Phimma Fri 04-Oct-19 16:51:39

I didn't get an implant - it was a lower 7 tooth.

loutypips Fri 04-Oct-19 17:00:54

I've just been to the dentist today and need a root canal in my lower molar (the one next to the back one).
I thought about having it removed as read that they only last about ten years and don't want to go through that all over again.
Glad I read this as I was umming and arrring what to do. Think extraction is best.

BlueCornsihPixie Fri 04-Oct-19 17:04:37

Phimma that article is based on Dr Prices studies, which were in the 1920s, and have been disproven countless times since then. Its total bs

MelbyG Fri 04-Oct-19 17:09:12

Don't let me put you off loutypips - I've had one very successful root canal which has lasted 20 years and has never given me any trouble and I'm definitely of the view that if all goes well it's much better to keep hold of the tooth if you can. I just think I've been unlucky this time around but all may yet come good if this retreatment works. It's not a cheap option to do the root canal however but worth a go....

OP’s posts: |
MelbyG Fri 04-Oct-19 17:15:12

and yes, Phimma I think Dr Price is regarded as similar to the vaccine/autism debate but I have found a lot of divisive opinion on root canals. As far as I can work out, not enough credible research has been done connecting dental work/root canals with overall health and developing symptoms so any connection is conjecture. The problem as I see it is that dentists deal with teeth and that's it. If there are any complications that affect health in other ways, you're a bit high and dry.

OP’s posts: |
Windygate Fri 04-Oct-19 17:25:54

@Ash39 that's exactly what the dentist told my father. He went on to develop sepsis and died.

MelbyG Fri 04-Oct-19 17:49:49

I'm so sorry Windygate. What happened?

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loutypips Fri 04-Oct-19 18:08:34

I keep getting infections so I think that having it out would be best. Taking antibiotics isn't great for me as I have inflammatory bowel disease and I have to be so careful that I don't go into a flare.

Ash39 Fri 04-Oct-19 18:29:58

I'm really sorry for your loss Windygate. That's so personal and sad, and I don't mean for a second to be dismissive.
However there are 35,000 dentists registered in the U.K. The average amount of root canal procedures completed weekly in this country is probably in the region of 250,000 per week. With a success rate of 85/90%.

Genuinely if there was such a high correlation of problems associated with root canal treatment then we wouldn't be doing them.

The alternative to root canal treatment is repeatedly giving antibiotics ( and risking atb resistance), or extraction, which comes with its own issues such as surgical complications, expensive replacements such as implants or bridges.
Dentists aren't perfect. At the end of the day we are only trying to help you save your teeth.
I think if a person was to contract sepsis and die from a dentally related sepsis, that would be a very tragic but also a very rare occurrence, and there would possibly be secondary underlying factors also such as low immunity/diabetes perhaps.

The Dr Price studies are discredited. The root canal/systemic health myth was recently resurrected I think via a recent Netflix documentary which has now been removed due to incorrect information.

To the OP I guess the way to find out would be to have your tooth removed. Before you do that is it worth getting blood tests done to check if you have a chronic infection? This is what I would do before I'd consider extraction.

Phimma Fri 04-Oct-19 20:54:24

Perhaps disproven so how do you explain how after so long in pain, once the tooth was extracted, I had no pain?

AnneKipanki Fri 04-Oct-19 21:01:40

Your immune system has a great influence on how well a root treatment will work.
Every one is different.
It maybe that you are one of those people whose immune systems can't cope wit a root treatment and is detecting the tooth as a "foreign body ".

usernom123123 Fri 04-Oct-19 21:03:53

Your root canal failed that's why the pain disappeared once the tooth was extracted.
There may have been retained vital pulp left somewhere in that tooth's root canal network, there may be residual infection or perhaps inaccessible accessory canals. It is not always possible to successfully root treat every tooth that warrants it.

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