Cavitations & Root Canals
Laura Lee Interview with George Meinig, DDS & Dr. M. LaMarche
The following is an interview from the Laura Lee Show on radio that has been edited of news and commercials. For a complete listing of over 200 interviews on cassette as well as selected videos and books, write to Laura Lee, P.O. Box 3010, Bellevue, Washington 98009, or call the hotline at 1-800-243-1438 for the newest listings.
Laura Lee: ...tonight [we have] two gentlemen who are experts in their field in some of the newest research, actually it's old research, but it's just getting the attention today that it deserves. And that is problems with root canals; apparently there are bacteria that can be harbored in root canals no matter how perfectly they're done. These bacteria mutate and become toxin factories, they can get out into the bloodstream and cause degenerative diseases or make them worse. Also cavitation is a new term you're going to learn tonight and that is the space left in the jawbone when a tooth is extracted. If an infected tooth or simply a wisdom tooth that needs to come out to make space, problems can arise with dead tissue in the jawbone and you're going to learn tonight what you can do about these conditions. We have with us Dr. George Meinig, the author of Root Canal Cover-up. It's a book that details this work from the 1920's done by Dr. Westin Price. Research that has been done recently and confirmed. He's a specialist in root canals and a dentist. We also have with us Dr. Michael LaMarche. He's a dentist that is in practice today specializing in mercury removal. He has worked closely with Dr. Hal Huggins who's a leading researcher into mercury toxicity and silver dental amalgams and also Dr. LaMarche is one of 13 dentists selected nationwide selected for research into cavitations. And we're going to find out some very important and useful information tonight...
Dr. Meinig: And it's important for you to know that because I'm going to be saying some things critical about root canal treatment today. And the reason is that I practiced some 47 years and in all of that time I never heard about a 25-year research program that was conducted by Dr. Westin Price in the early 1900's and actually before then and it was finally published in 1923. His work was all well documented in two volumes of 1174 pages and in 25 articles that appear in the medical and dental literature. Now what he reported and what he found with the tests which involved some 5,000 animals over the 25 year period was root canal distilled teeth, no matter how good they looked, or how free they were from symptoms, always remained infected. Now that's a shocker, and it's one that many dentists don't want to believe because many of the things that we do as an endodontist involve large areas of bone loss at the end of a root of the tooth and when you do the root canal filling you see that bone fills in with new bone and how could that dentist and that patient ever think that there could still be infection in that tooth? And the problem is that the infection occurs in what is known as the dentin of the tooth. The dentin involves 95% of all of the tooth substance and surprisingly, although it's almost as hard as enamel when it's cut with a drill it makes a shrill noise just like if you were cutting stone, and you would think it was a very hard solid substance. Surprisingly it's composed of little tiny tubules, and those tubules are so small that if we took our smallest front tooth and stretched it out - stretched those tubules out end to end - it would stretch out for a distance of 3 miles. Now what happens is when you get a cavity in a tooth and the decay gets into the dentin of the tooth the bacteria that are involved in the decay process get into those tubules. I should tell you that initially those tubules carry a fluid and that that fluid carries nutriments and the nutriments in those dentin tubules keep the tooth alive and healthy. And those nutriments come from the nerve and the blood vessels that come into the root canal of the tooth. And so fundamentally what happens when you get a deep cavity and it exposes the nerve of the tooth, those bacteria get into all of those dentin tubules and they remain in there causing infection and eventually they can escape and that's a story in itself. They can escape in what's known as the lateral canals and there toxins can actually escape directly through the root surface into what's called the peridontal membrane or ligament. This is a hard fibrous tissue which holds the tooth in the bony socket, and when the infection gets into there it transfers easily into the bony socket and from there the bacteria and the bacterial toxins can get into the surrounding bone and the blood supply of that surrounding bone. And now this acts much like cancer cells, you know cancer cells metastasize and that means that they travel around the body in the bloodstream and they get to another tissue, gland or organ and they set up a new cancer. Well these bacteria from infected dentin tubules also travel around and metastasize in the same way and they can get into the various tissue. Those bacteria are kind of like people, you know, if they get to like Seattle or Reno or someplace they decide that's where they're going to have their home, well the bacteria traveling around the body, they may get to the liver, the kidneys or the heart or the eyes or some other tissue and they set up an infection in that area. So this is exactly what happens and why the degenerative diseases occur from these teeth.
Dr. Meinig: ...Now if there are some people, and Dr. Price found that 258 of his patients met that requirement [good health], he found they could stand root canals for many years without any difficulty until they had a severe accident, until they got a case of the flu, they had some severe stress to them, and now their immune system which was able to cope with these bacteria and these toxins of the bacteria now had too much to do and they could no longer cope and this person would develop a disease in their liver, their kidneys, their eyes, their brain, their whatever, just the same as a cancer metastasizing around this would happen to them in degenerative disease situation...
Dr. Meinig: Before I mention that I should say that all of this is really dealing with the theory of local infection...Most of this was started by Dr. Billings in the first decade of this century and by 1914 his research had showed that 95% of all local infections came from teeth and from tonsils. The others came from a few other sources like infected sinuses, fingernails, toenails, appendices and so on. But what happened is that of course Dr. Price learned about all of this work and he had done a root canal filling for a woman who developed a severe arthritic condition. She was so bad that she was bedridden most of the time and her hands were so swollen with arthritis that she could hardly feed herself. And when he heard about all of this focal infection work by Billings he realized that maybe this root fill that he did that looked so fine on the X-rays was part of her problem in causing this arthritis. And so like all research programs in which researchers get involved, there's usually one that sets of the tone and this case happened to be the one that captured everybody's imagination. There were a lot of others, but this one did, and the reason was that he finally convinced her that she should have that tooth removed and she came into his office, had the tooth removed aseptically incidentally, because if he contaminates the tooth when he's taking it out with the saliva and other things then that's a problem of introducing other bacteria into the situation.
Dr. Meinig: So he did that and he secured a laboratory animal and in this case it was a rabbit and he put a little local anesthetic under the skin of the back of the rabbit. He made a small buttonhole incision into the skin of the rabbit and he put that extracted root canal filled tooth into that incision. He put a couple of little stitches in there to hold the tooth, to keep it from popping out again and he returned the animal to a spacious cage that had plenty of good food and awaited development. Well it didn't take long, two days later that rabbit developed the same arthritis in its limbs that the patient had and in ten days it passed away from the infection from that root filled tooth. Well now this was somewhat of a confirmation for Dr. Price that people who had root canal filled teeth and had illnesses that the medical profession was having difficulty in solving - that maybe these root filled teeth were causing those problems, and so whenever he had people who were going from doctor to doctor and not finding out what was wrong with them, he would then advise them to have any root filled teeth out and he would implant the tooth under the skin of the rabbit or they used numbers of other animals, but rabbits proved to be a little more dramatic, but the same thing happened whether it was a dog or a rat or a chipmunk or whatever they used, these same diseases would occur. Well the surprising thing was when the patient with a heart condition came in and had a root filled tooth and wasn't getting anywhere with his treatment and they took that root filled tooth and implanted it under the skin of a rabbit, by golly, that rabbit got a heart condition and usually passed away within a few days. If the person had kidney trouble, well the rabbit got kidney trouble. And if the person had trouble with their eyes, well the rabbit got trouble with the eyes. As a matter of fact the eyes reacted so severely that even minor problems with the patient's eyes would cause the rabbit to go blindusually in two to three days. And so there were a lot of different situations and almost any disease that you might think of they eventually transferred from a patient through the root filled tooth into another laboratory animal.
Laura Lee: So what's the theory with the focal infection? Why is it there's the connection with the infected tooth and that problem area in another part of the body?
Dr. Meinig: Well, the reason that this is a focal infection is because the infection came from the tooth and traveled from the tooth to the heart or the kidneys or the lungs or some area of the body and it set up a new infection.
Laura Lee: Right, but certain bacteria that is human transferred to an animal, say rabbit, that same bacteria will not just accidentally go attack the liver, it will attack the eyes.
Dr. Meinig: Yes.
Laura Lee: And we are back, hi. Dr. George Meinig and Dr. Michael LaMarche are with us in studio tonight. The topic, root canals and the problem with bacteria that get trapped inside the microtubules of the tooth, of an infected tooth, can migrate throughout the body, they can infect an organ, gland or tissue, they can damage the heart, kidneys, joints, eyes, brain. They can even endanger pregnant women. These infections were first discovered by a 25 year root canal research program carried out by the American Dental Association. Dr. Meinig says this research was secretly covered up. It's been re-examined and redone recently and here's the story.
Laura Lee: ...Also, let's go back to the research that Dr. Westin Price had done you were saying you were going to explain another aspect of it.
Dr. Meinig: Well, we were talking about the fact that he didn't know about double-blind studies and what he did instead. He knew that he could introduce his own thinking into what he was doing and so he repeated a lot of things. For instance he had a patient who had kidney trouble and had a root filled tooth. He removed that tooth, put it under the skin of a rabbit, the rabbit got kidney trouble and died within a few days. He took the tooth out of that rabbit, surgically of course, and washed it in soap and water, disinfected it with a disinfectant and put it under the skin of another rabbit and that rabbit got kidney trouble and passed away. He then took that tooth out of that rabbit and put it in another rabbit and he repeated that 30 times.
Laura Lee: The same tooth?
Dr. Meinig: That's right. The same root filled tooth. Now the reason he did that was that he had to prove to himself and to the world that this infection was able to be transferred and the only way he knew it was to do more animals and it wasn't that he disliked rabbits, in fact he took very good care of his rabbits, but this was one way he could do something about it. Now one of the things that happens with these root filled teeth is that when they are removed it is very often that periodontal membrane that is infected and the surrounding bony socket remains in the jaw and sometimes healing gets rid of that but many times it doesn't. And what happens then is an infection that occurs in the jawbone and I think we should turn this over to Dr. LaMarche because he's going to be telling you something about that phase of things.
Laura Lee: And the term cavitation. Dr. LaMarche...
Dr. LaMarche: Well cavitation actually is a cavity within the bone which was formerly occupied by a tooth. I think it's important that our listeners know that our office is one of 30 in the United States, Canada and Europe that have been selected to participate in a research group called the North American NICO Research Group. NICO is an acronym - Neuralgia Inducing Cavitational Osteonecrosis. Which is another word for dead bone, actually it literally means a cavity within the jaw that is lined with dead bone that causes pain. Our research group was formed by Dr. Jerry Eboco who is an oral pathologist in West Virginia, and he began researching this extensively in I believe early '90s. Papers have been written on it since the '80s, and more recently he's been pursuing this and he gathered together a group of dentists so that we could make the connection between trigeminal neuralgia, typical facial pain, chronic migraine headaches and cavitations. And what we have found in addition to this is when cavitations are removed, not only do we find that these trigeminal neuralgia's or this pain is relieved, but we find that patients also realize other improvements within their systemic health.
Laura Lee: How do you remove a cavitation, what do you mean by that? Remove the dead bone?
Dr. LaMarche: Well, cavitations do not show up extremely well on X-ray, but when they are located and maybe a little bit later we can describe how we locate them, but a cavitation is...an incision is made in the gum tissue over where a tooth was formerly located, a large enough area or flap is laid so that the gum is removed from the bone and we are allowed to penetrate the cortical plate or the bone overlying the cavitation. The dental instrument, in this case a drill, will actually fall through the bone and into this cavity. Before we clean it out, however, we go in with an instrument called a curette and scrape it very thoroughly and we submit this sample to the pathologist.
Laura Lee: What kind of lab results do you often get?
Dr. LaMarche: Well, I would say that probably 98% and even larger than 98% what we find is what's called ischemic osteonecrosis, it's bone death due to poor perfusion of oxygen or blood supply to a local area. The cavitations are lined with dead bone, the body's response to that is to...
Laura Lee: Seal it off!
Dr. LaMarche: Seal it off, it does that with fat, we will find fat in there.. Ultimately the fat becomes calcified so we see what's called calcific fat necrosis. We will sometimes see chronic inflammatory cells, however that is not the hallmark of this disease, as a matter of fact we see few inflammatory cells - many times we'll see bacteria colonies, toxide filaments, within these specimens. I think another very interesting thing that we have learned from this through our biopsying is that the pathologist will identify what he terms fibrin sludging. That is the fibrin will actually start pooling.
Laura Lee: What is fibrin?
Dr. LaMarche: It is the part of the clotting factor and there is some proteins - C proteins, S proteins...
Laura Lee: From blood that was in there when the tooth was pulled?
Dr. LaMarche: Exactly. What happens is the blood initially comes into the site but because of the body's inability to break down the clot or because of the body's ability to make a very tenacious clot - one has either what's called thrombopheha or hypofibrinolysis.
Laura Lee: Whichever it is, it doesn't sound nice.
Dr. LaMarche: Either one of them, one of them is a very tenacious clot or an inability to break the clot down, consequently nothing gets in, nothing gets out, we have bone death.
Laura Lee: Why does it happen in the jaw bone 98% of the time? If someone breaks their leg bone, that bone heals up nicely in most instances. Why does the body have more trouble with the jaw bone tooth extractions than say other parts of the body?
Dr. LaMarche: That's a very good question. I believe that when a bone is broken and two pieces are put together that's a different kind of...
Laura Lee: There's no space left.
Dr. LaMarche: Exactly, however what has been done in the Jewish Hospital in Cincinatti, a Dr. Glick, MD has made a direct correlation between the head of the femur, people fracturing the head of the femur, that osteonecrosis or bone death is identical to that which we find in the jaws.
Laura Lee: Because that's a more solid part of the bone, a denser part of the bone? What is it about that site?
Dr. LaMarche: I would say that probably it has more to do with the circulation to the area. Again, osteonecrosis as we see it is defined as ischemic osteonecrosis and ischemic implies that it is a lack of perfusion of blood to the site.
Laura Lee: In both cases it's a lack of oxygen that leads to the mutation of the bacteria, they go from being aerobic to being anaerobic bacteria in root canal instances. And here you find a lack of oxygen to the site so there is a common factor. How often do you find where you take out an infected tooth, say a root canal tooth, either it's infected and you say I don't want to put a root canal in, let's pull it and do other options, or it's a root canal infected tooth that you pull - probably you're going to have necrotic tissue arising because it's so full of bacteria, or that compared to say a wisdom tooth that needs to be pulled for other reasons, it's not infected or impacted - it just needs to get taken out.
Dr. LaMarche: That's what we're now recommending no matter why you have to take a tooth out - even if it isn't infected, then a protocol needs to be followed and that protocol means that the dentist after he removes the tooth he also removes the periodontal ligament or membrane which is a fibrous tissue that holds the tooth in the socket, that's what keeps the tooth from failing out. That becomes infected and it's still attached very securely to the surrounding bony socket and so what we recommend is that the dentist go in with a slow moving drill and remove that periodontal membrane and about 1mm of the bony socket in order to prevent these infections from occurring. And strangely enough we find in many areas for instance, wisdom teeth when they're removed, even though they were healthy teeth - for some reason or another they very often develop a cavitation around them. Some 40% of all wisdom teeth extractions develop cavitations and the thing that should be done and what we're thinking is better to be done, is to remove that periodontal membrane at the time you remove the tooth and some of the surrounding bone in order to prevent this from happening...
Laura Lee: So, we're going to find out what to do, how to prevent problems and the first place is - nutrition can play a role. I know that you also did some extensive research with Dr. Price's theory that nutrition impacts the development of the jaw and the person, the personality. An extraordinary amount of research done that is being confirmed today.
Read the rest of this article from the August/September Issue. Order your subscription today to TOWNSEND LETTER for Doctors & Patients. Copyright(c) Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients
1998 All Rights Reserved
Phone 360-385-6021 / Fax 360-385-0699 / email@example.com
[ Back to Articles ] [ Top of page ]