Today Dr. Rockey answers a question about root canals that we hear increasingly from patients and from our YouTube viewers – whether root canals are effective, if they’re good for you, and if they are necessary.

In this video Dana reviews several xray slides to show you illustrate several recent examples. In one extreme case, a patient contacted our office in a lot of pain. We took an x-ray and it was obvious right away that there was an issue. A large cavity inside the tooth was very close to the nerve, which is a vital, living tissue that pumps blood in and out of the area. When the bacteria from the decay actually get in to the pulp chamber and infects the tissue, that’s when we get inflammation and swelling. Our immune system kicks in to action to fix a problem, to fight infection.

As the immune system sends germ killers and other cells into the infected area to fix the problem we experience  swelling, which we refer to as inflammation. The technical term is “pulpits” – the inflammation of the dental pulp tissue.

Symptoms of an infected tooth can range from:

  • Zero (0) to some cold sensitivity
  • Lingering cold sensitivity to some heat sensitivity
  • Some cycling on and off a little bit of pain all the way to excruciating pain

The example shown in this video is a straight-forward case: large cavity into the nerve, we have problems, we’ve got to do something. Based on what we saw, that a bulk of the tooth is left, we would be able to put a restoration on the tooth, likely a crown. So, I would send this patient to a root canal specialist; they’re going to do a root canal and that should be all that this tooth and person needs.

In answer to the question, are root canals good for you and are they necessary:

First, in our practice, we don’t deal in generalities. We strongly believe that each patients and each tooth must be approached and treated on their own merits. Every person and situation is unique with their own medical history. We would treat someone with multiple artificial joints, or cardiovascular issues who would not do well with a large active infection around their teeth, differently than someone else. Given the example of the large infection shown earlier in the video, if that patient had artificial joints or cardiovascular issues, we might suggest that the tooth be removed in order to remove the infection. In the second example shown in the video where a greater portion of the tooth is viable, we might recommend another way of treating the infection other than a root canal.

As an integrative healthcare provider, we take a whole person view and consider past medical history of each person when making a diagnose and making recommendations on how to treat root causes. 

If you have questions or concerns, please contact our office at 949.642.4632 or send an email to Team @