Root canal surgery and allergies – Six things you need to know

After my own recent root canal surgery I have learnt a great deal about the possible pit falls for those with allergies or sensitivities. My dentist was really helpful and looked into every aspect of the surgery and used alternatives to the things that could have made me very ill. So here’s what you need to know.
Gutta percha tooth filler contains rubber latex

  1. Ask about the rubber dam. This is used to protect your mouth from the heated equipment that is needed to finish off the root filling. My dentist bought a special non-latex dam just for me.
  2. Gutta percha is made from natural rubber latex. This is what’s used to fill the cavity once the root has been drilled and nerves removed. Again, there are other alternatives so check these out with your dentist before considering this surgery if you have a latex allergy.
  3. The sealant – This can also cause people problems. Find out what it is and what the possible allergy implications might be and discuss alternatives with your dentist.
  4. Ask about disinfectant – Dentists use Chlorhexidine as an antiseptic to disinfect the root before filling to ensure all trace of bacteria and infection are cleared up. Chlorhexadine is found in Corsodyl mouthwash so is considered fairly harmless but it has begun to cause allergic reactions in some peple. My dentist has seen a lady have an allergic reaction to it. Ask if a simple bleach solution can be used instead. Not ever so appealing but preferable to an allergic reaction on the dentist’s chair.
  5. Latex allergy – If you have a latex allergy ask the dentist and assistant to wear non-latex vinyl gloves. It is possible to get some very good quality non-latex gloves now which many professionals are choosing to use over the latex because there is less chance of irritation for both their patients and their staff. My dentist now only buys the non-latex gloves so I know I’ll be safe from the latex.
  6. Nickel and other allergies – If you are allergic to anything else that is used at the dentists it’s a good idea to book the first appointment of the day so that everything is clean and there is no chance of cross contamination.

Ask lots of questions and if your dentists doesn’t listen or ignores your concerns, don’t get it done. It’s an expensive proceedure so you need to be sure about it before going ahead. However if you have a tooth abscess you’ll be in so much pain you won’t care, not something I’d like to go through again in a hurry.

The treatment itself is not painful, or I didn’t find it so. It is very long winded though and requires quite a few long spells laying back on the dentists chair with your mouth wide open. It’s uncomfortable but I’m so glad it’s over now.

I have had a flushed face since having this proceedure but I’m hoping it will go down with time. It isn’t as itchy and painful as most of my normal allergic reactions, just feels slightly different, wrong, and warm.

It’s a pretty invasive treatment so if you’re body is sensitive the chances are it could put the balance out for a bit. Boost your immune system before having the treatment, during and after. Especially if you need to take anti-biotics to clear up any infection.

My tooth still feels sensitive to the touch and my face is still very red three days after. Have I just spent an offensive amount of money on some useless dentistry? Just a moment of googling this subject is enough to put anyone off ever having root canal work done. I really hope it sorts itself out, otherwise I will be questioning my dentist about why this wasn’t made clear to me in the first place.

The tooth in question is on the top jaw at the back so an extraction would not be the end of the world but does sound like an equally horrendous option. But if you STILL find eating on one side of your mouth uncomfortable what on earth is the point?

Are there any other dangers from root canal surgery?

I would suggest not googling this after having it done, as I have, because you’ll probably wish you hadn’t. I found this website article called Root Canal cover up exposted which is particularly terrifying, which basically talks about the tiny nerve canals that are left in the tooth after the surgery is done which can mean that the patient will still suffer with pain and infection even afterwards because a dead tooth is full of bacteria. Lovely! It does seem wrong to keep something dead inside your mouth just for vanity reasons. It appears the only real solution is extraction.

I wonder whether these website speading doom and gloom about root canal is just scare mongering or whether there is any truth in what they say.

Dentists seem to be loathe to ever extract a tooth and I can see that keeping ones own teeth has its advantages, but when a tooth has died, the nerves have gone necrotic and it no longer has a blood supply, why go through a very expensive treatment that ultimately could make you very sick and not solve the problem anyway?

Is it really a good idea to keep a dead tooth in your mouth? It’s dead. Dead things rot and decay. Don’t they?

My dentist swears it is very normal proceedure and that I should have no problems after a week. SHOULD! That little word rings in my ears. Has anyone else had root canal surgery and is suffering afterwards? Anyone had the gutta purcha filler (thank goodness I found out about this) and suddenly developed problems immediately afterwards?

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. http://www.whatallergy.com was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She runs a support group for the Anaphylaxis Campaign and also writes regularly for Exchange, The National Eczema Society quarterly magazine.

Comments

  1. Good luck Ruth – and no, I am not going to tell you any horror stories about root canal fillings – merely tell you that I have put a link to your blog up in the Latex allergy section of Foods Matter! http://www.foodsmatter.com/allergy_intolerance/latex/index_latex_allergy.html

  2. Sophie Whiting says:

    hi ruth
    i, too, wish you luck. many people seem fine after rc treatment. i wasn’t one of them. i think if your immunity is a bit rubbish you might suffer. i had rc last may and became quite ill. my tooth never settled down and hurt when i ate certains foods or drank hot or cold drinks. i was in bed on and off for months. i began do some research and found the kind of articles you obviously did! after a few months i developed breathing difficulties and bought salt inhalers/ a humidifier etc. etc. i actually felt awful. so i decided to have the tooth removed and began getting better straight away. i still get migraines from perfumes etc. but the awareness of most breaths has gone and i’m not exhausted and in bed most of the time these days.
    all the very best
    sophie

  3. Sophie Whiting says:
  4. Hi Ruth

    Just to add, I have a friend who is allergic to local anaesthetics and this caused severe breathing problems at the dentist. She has now had allergy tests and a treatment plan put in place.

    • Hi Michelle, I do get a very odd sensation from anaesthetic, runs in the family apparently. After an op on my shoulder the anaesthetic made me really sick and I had some kind of mild allergic reaction. Never thought it cd be that. And of course with the blooming root canal I’ve had about three doses in just a few weeks. Lovely! Could very well be that so I will speak to my allergy doc in may. Thanks again.

  5. Oh dear! I must stop googling this. A video about root canal dangers http://www.healthiertalk.com/shocking-consequences-root-canals

  6. I just had a root canal, but I was aware of the opposition. I just could not tell if it was valid or not. After my root canal, the energy seemed to drain from my body. My tooth was not even infected before, but the pulp was inflamed. Anyway, my immune system is usually great, but like I said, I’ve felt a little off in the few days since the RC. Even ended up in the ER yesterday. I’ll most likely get my RC taken out within the year. I’m normally very energetic, and despite what my dentist calls a “lack of literature” proving that RCs are harmful, I have to listen to my body. My body says something is not right.

    • Mine, which was put in middle of last year, does not feel right. The tooth is still sensitive and it feels like it did before it all went wrong before, with suspicious pains which come and go. I can feel it all the time and I’m really not happy with it at all. Not sure if it’s affected my general health, I’m OK, but it cost so much to get done though I can’t face another visit to the dentists but I hope to get mine removed at some point when I can afford it. It’s not right.

  7. I have had 8 root canals and five have failed and one is still iffy. I was in pain for months with all of them while the dentist/ endodontist tried to figure out why they were not working. The first bad one was pulled and replaced with an implant. The rest were pulled and nothing done. Who can afford 4 imolants and bone grafts and a sinus lift. We r talking$30,000. I am now facing another fractured tooth that is throbbing all day. Dentidt wants to do root canal. I said no. I will now be missing my 4 back teeth on top and 1 molar on bottom. I will never get another root canal.

    • Thanks Jo, wise advice, sounds like they were definitely not great for you. Mine seems to have calmed down for now. But I am still wary about it, and not sure I’d have another. I’m still planning on getting my metal fillings removed so that’s my next step.

  8. Hi Ruth, like you I had a root canal done recently (about a year ago for me) and then watched a documentary on the horrors of root canals, because a year later, I am getting mild pain under the root canal filled tooth, as if there is pressure and inflammation there. This inflammation coincided with headaches, blurred vision and swollen glands in my neck on the same side. So, I am getting my root canal removed today! I do believe that it is impossible to remove all the bacteria and root pulp, and have read and researched a lot into the chronic systemic problems caused by root canals. In the past year, my asthma has worsened considerably and I’ve had to see a cardiologist because my resting heart rate increased to 105 and there was a virus in my heart! I believe the root canal was the source of this, as confirmed by 3 different, highly accurate bio-resonance testing systems. I hope this inspires you to get your out! All the best whatever you decide! Rhoda

    • Well Rhoda, I don’t know but my allergies have got WAY worse since having mine done. Coincidence? Who knows. I plan to get all the mercury fillings and dratted root canal out too. I wanted the tooth pulled in the first place there was so little of the blooming thing left anyway. I do not care if I get gaps between my teeth… cost a fortune too. Makes you sick huh? Literally! Do let me know if your health improves once it’s out.

  9. I did 2 RCs 7 years back. One has always been a failure. Can’t chew with that side because it starts paining in a day or two. Right now it’s irritating inside. I feel like plucking out that tooth with my bare hands and giving it a good scratch with sandpaper! It’s really itching inside. Any holistic dentist in India who can extract this RC properly?

    • Hi Manoj, I’ve only had one and I can still feel it over a year later. Not painful, just an itch. I want it out… never wanted it in the first place. Take the tooth out, that’s what I say. I am planning on having my amalgam fillings replaced when I can afford it too. Soon I hope.

  10. I have severe allergies and just had root canal treatment a year and a half ago, I have not been well since and getting worse I have just been told I have enlarged red blood cells and that can be down to allergies. is there such a thing as alergy free posts I can have desperate.thank you for any reply in advance.

    • s whiting says:

      hi linda
      i’m not sure what you are asking… sorry you feel so desperate. can you rephrase the above? thanks,
      sophie

    • Further to your comment here Linda, my posts, do you mean implants? I haven’t ever considered having these done so I’d have to find out. I’ll do some research. Hope you get some relief soon and let us know if you have your root canal removed.

  11. s whiting says:

    Let us know, Linda. I’ve had 5!

  12. I have had massive immune system issues after my root canals when I was 19… I’m 33 now and allergic to modern life apparently… and food… and drugs among other things. Have taken prednisone off and on almost constantly since I was 21… I recovered at one point but had another root canal! So it started right over again. I didn’t know that was my problem with the first ones. They’re still always infected and hurting and very problematic… but the immune system issues and lack of cash make it impossible to do anything for it! :/ sucks.

    • I know, it’s such a horrible situation. Just because so many people can them with no problems the dentists keep on telling us they are OK. But what are they doing to everyone else? What silent, slow ticking time bombs are we putting into our mouths?

  13. s whiting says:

    S.M. Just have them removed and then save up for titanium implants.

    • I’d probably be more likely to turn into a unicorn than that happen!! :p
      I can’t work from my illness and live on about $5500 a year… I can’t even afford to get the one that’s been broken for 6 years pulled. I live in Quebec and it’s French here, I only speak english, so I get no healthcare and when I had the root canals done I had zero communication with the dentist. (great fun) I have such severe sinus problems and polyps. I don’t freeze at all. The root canal was done without freezing at all!! no attempt to freeze it after the first appointment.
      I can’t have metal anything even on me. I reject everything. Also degenerating bone from all the prednisone. I would never attempt any kind of implant.
      I do wish I could get the broken one out though… it hurts. It’s put me in a real situation health-wise. After the root canals I developed an irregular heartbeat, lung problems, gallbladder problems, stomach issues, and I even get blisters in my eyeball if I’m near the computer much now… that one is crazy! I hope the broken one falls out!! hahaaa…
      In the meantime I am trying to afford basic supplements and need to try pinecone extract. Allera … look it up people. It is interesting. :)

  14. s whiting says:

    You must do all you can to have your root canals removed. I felt better the day after I had mine taken out – I was having trouble breathing prior to that which is something I’d never previously had a problem with. Go and speak to a few dentists in person. You can find a way. There are student dentists too though I know that’s not a brilliant option. Stop taking the prednisone too. Titanium implants are not metal.

  15. s whiting says:

    Sorry, it is a coated metal!

    Titanium metal is coated with an oxide layer that usually renders it inactive.

  16. I do obviously know how important it is to not have these root canals, but I have no car and there are no student dentists here that speak english to start with. I haven’t been out since Feb. 3rd. Long time!

    I am taking the prednisone because I’ll die if I stop. My adrenal glands have messed up. My tumors get so big that I could lose my eyesight and it keeps them smaller. I hate the stuff but it’s not like I take it for fun. I can’t eat, sleep, breathe, digest food, see or move without it at times.
    I can be off it when I’m not around town water… but I live in town now. The infections get severe and I can’t take antibiotics at all, not even for two days… it’s way too complicated and throw in Lupus… I can’t really explain it all here, other than I’m not getting any medical treatment for anything simply because the english are seriously mistreated here and lack of resources. I hope I can move elsewhere someday, but it’s expensive. I was never helped when I repeatedly sought out medical assistance. I was a guinea pig for a new dentist and they did lots of things to me that they didn’t tell me about. I don’t even really know how many root canals I have other than the ones that hurt or are obvious… she didn’t speak english. It’s so wrong, the whole thing, because I had medical issues that are important that they needed to know about and they laughed at me when I tried to tell them and ignored it.
    I can’t save up any $$ for teeth. I can’t really eat/live etc.
    If I could get something I’d much rather have a *flipper* piece that’s removable… but I have issues with everything. When I was little all the seams on my clothes made my skin bleed. Princess and the Pea style. :p
    The sun helps a lot, I’m usually better in the summer. I have a big allergy to chlorine and ammonia which they add in massive amounts to the water here to treat it… so that is probably almost entirely why I need the prednisone. If the water is turned on, I get a nosebleed and polyps and severe water retention and inability to digest food… so I really need to move… to a house with a well… but that’s almost impossible to find in my very small price range. So I am working on a lot of stuff.
    I have weird luck.
    I don’t have relatives or friends, there really isn’t anyone that can help me out. The friends I did have, I haven’t seen in about 12 years. The 2 relatives I have, I wish I could help…

    When I did have well water, I felt good… first time in years that I felt even ok-ish… but then the town switched to evil rotten water, and I got worse than ever.

    Sorry it got so long!! I know reading all this is annoying.
    I’ll have to wait, and if I ever win the lottery or manage to have a home business that makes some money… for sure, I’ll get them out… I have small holes in all the front ones again, and those will show before long. :( I’ve wanted them out since I was 22.

    Either I’ll manage or I won’t.
    :)

  17. s whiting says:

    All of the above sounds like a complete nightmare. Have you watcher Terry Wahls’s Ted talk Minding your Mitochondria on Youtube? Her book is called The Wahls Protocol, it might be worth having a look at both.

    Buy one of those water filtration systems. You can get them online and they’re not massively expensive – or a water purifier for travellers.

    There must be some English speaking dentisits! Draft an email explaining all of the above and send it to loads of practices – you never know who might respond and what they might offer. I know you’re probably not in the mood for a salesy approach but I think it’s worth a shot….

  18. Thanks for sharing this! It is good to know that there are so many different options when it comes to the root canal procedure. It is also great that dentists have so much equipment to ensure that everyone who needs a root canal can get it. Fortunately for me, I don’t have any allergies, so I don’t even have to worry about stuff like this when I need a procedure!

  19. I do know of one english one in Qc. but I owe them $65. :p It was that much to walk in and ask if they could pull a tooth!! (3 years ago.)
    Quebec healthcare isn’t legal in english only. New crazy laws and a lot of english hate here the last couple of years. A crazy woman was trying to make Qc. a country of it’s own and pretty much Nazi-Germany all the english… the hate doesn’t go back in the bag so easily now that she’s gone. That and Medical people can’t make any money here and all the ones that can speak english head for other parts of canada where they aren’t forced to send their kids to french school.
    I needed a CT scan because they wanted to do surgery in my head… without even figuring out what caused the problems first… they wanted the surgery in 2-3weeks… I couldn’t get a CT scan until 2 years later. They called me 2 years later and said they had a space for me then… I told them to nevermind it. That is the state of healthcare here… pretty much nonexistant. We’ve even had ambulance drivers refuse to speak english to hurt kids and won’t take info. from english… Not always, but it happens now… it’s scary.

    I’ve never drank town water for sure. I tried some in montreal through a brita years ago, I was stuck there at someone’s place…. and got birth-control pill side effects severely!! turns out the water is full of hormones as well. Nice!

    I can’t even be in the house when someone else takes a shower. If I turn on the faucet I get a nosebleed. Makes washing dishes easy! :p

    I have a cheap Reverse Osmosis unit on one faucet for drinking water. (Of course does nothing for ammonia gas in the household) Just makes it so I can have safe water.
    Before that I only got my water at my mothers… (good well water, no hormones)

    In all the things I’ve learned and studied, it appears that all the stress on the immune system and exposure to hormones and plastic-related estrogen mimickers, has made me TH2 dominant, and if I can get that to level out, th1/th2 balance, it could make a big difference. Probably most people with root canals end up TH2 dominant from the drain on the immune system.

    I think I have to wait until I can move out of the province to really get anything done with the teeth. There is no way you can really get better or make any money in such a stifled place. But I am hopeful. As long as we’re alive, we can get better.
    :)

    I the part about zinc in root canals and rubber because that attracts mold. I’m super allergic to mold. Never was before… I used to have an ozone water generator, and I rinsed my mouth with it daily. Without it, my root canal tooth turns black around all the weird crack things in it… one whole part of it is indented, and different colour/transparency, and that is the part that goes black… It went black every time I stopped using the ozone thing… then it broke of course! lol…. but it’s interesting either way.

    Definitely want them out the first time I get the chance…

  20. Checking out the video now.

  21. Watched,
    I already only eat fruit and vegetables, but I’m allergic to fish and have reactions to meat because they’re fed soy… seaweed allergy too… but I take supplements for most things. I’ve made such a good anti-inflammatory pill cup that it cures peoples nasal polyps and sinus infection with just a couple of doses! (other people)
    Enzymes are so important! make a big difference.
    I grow my own food quite a bit. I don’t eat very well, but I never consume processed foods, sugar crap and everything I make is made of real food. :)
    Hopefully will be off town water as soon as I can find a cheap house to rent that isn’t full of mold and falling down.

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