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It’s a common scenario. You wake with an acute toothache, or develop swelling inside your mouth or in your cheek. The dentist diagnoses inflammation and infection from deep decay or nerve damage from an old trauma incident. You are told that in order to keep the natural tooth, a root canal therapy is the only way to avoid extraction.


The part of a tooth you see, the crown, is covered with a hard layer of enamel. Beneath it is strong dentin which gives structure to the tooth. At the center of the tooth is a chamber housing soft, living tissues – blood vessels and pulp. They extend into the root canals. The roots, of course, go into the jaw bone to hold the tooth in place with added support from the periodontal ligament. In addition to the primary root canals, there are many microscopic tubules accessing the pulp chamber.

Root canal therapy removes damaged portions of tooth structure and removes the pulp in the root canals. The area is cleansed and sealed; then capped with a crown for strength and protection.

In essence, a dead tooth is left in your jaw.


Even when caustic cleansing chemicals are used, it is mechanically impossible to sanitize the inside of a tooth completely . Bacteria continue to live in the tubules and surround the periodontal ligament and roots. Starved of oxygen and their usual food sources, even otherwise benign bacteria morph into much more dangerous strains capable of attacking the heart, brain, joints, and other parts of the body.

Because the nerves have been removed, you no longer feel discomfort or other symptoms, but there could be a latent problem in your jaw.

If you are in peak condition, your immune system is probably able to combat these bacteria. However, if your body’s natural defenses are suppressed in any way, bacteria can take the opportunity to invade and cause disease.

Studies have shown links between the bacteria in root-treated teeth and:
  • Cancer, including breast cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Neurological diseases including MS and ALS
  • Lupus and other autoimmune diseases
  • Arthritis, and rheumatic and other joint disorders


No one wants to lose a tooth, but if you do not think that having root canal treatment makes sense then come and discuss the issue with your dentist. Biological dentists understand the mouth-body connection as they undergo specialized training in safe extraction techniques, including removal of the periodontal ligament where bacteria thrive, and will talk with you about other options, like a fixed bridge, partial denture, or dental implant, to restore your smile without compromising your health.

Dr. Titania Tong
Dr. Titania has over 30 years of experience. She was born in Hong Kong, but grew up in England, where she completed her undergraduate education and received her degree in dentistry from Guy's Hospital Dental School at the University of London. She practiced general dentistry in London for a period of four years, and then returned to Hong Kong in 1987, where she spent the next decade working in a large group practice before establishing her own dental clinic in 1999.

Dr. Titania Tong is committed to the overall health of her patients and operates an amalgam-free dental practice. She practices amalgam safe removal using the SMART technique.

Dr. Tong practices holistic dentistry, while also focusing on cosmetic work and offers a wide range of dental services for the whole family.

© Copyright 2021 Dr. Titania Tong. All rights reserved.

852 2810 1801
13B, Oriental Crystal Commercial Building, 46 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong