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What Happened When My Root-Canal Teeth Were Pulled

Robyn Openshaw - Updated: March 21, 2024 - - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Photo of woman with mouth open and dentist with surgical tools from "What Happened When My Root-Canal Teeth Were Pulled" by Green Smoothie Girl

When I had two root canal teeth extracted by my biological dentist, I paid a few hundred dollars for an analysis of what bacteria were found in these "dead" teeth. I want to tell you what I learned when got my results back from the lab in Colorado.

Weighing a Root Canal VS Extraction

In this article:


Why My Root Canal Failed

My holistic dentist had told me previously that both of my root-canal teeth were failing.1 Since then, I’ve talked to half a dozen other dentists and people who have extensive experience with root canals about why root canals fail.

Dental Damage from Earlier Years

You would think that with all the good health habits I have, I would have better luck with my teeth. I confess to being more than a little disappointed that a bone graft and so much dental work would be required, notwithstanding my earlier years of eating lots of candy, ice cream, and diet soda.

All Root Canals Fail Years Later

But did you know that the EXPECTED time that a root canal lasts is a max of ten years? That’s right—endodontists KNOW that their procedure has a very limited life.

My brother Dave was in an ATV accident where his teeth planted in the steering wheel and killed ten of them. He had root canals on all of them, and guess what happened ten years later?

Yep, they were all failing.

Signs of Root Canal Infection

Woman holding jaw in pain from "What Happened When My Root-Canal Teeth Were Pulled" by Green Smoothie Girl

Sensitivity, blisters on the gum, pain, and even rashes can indicated a failed root canal.

But what about those first ten years? Are those pleomorphic organisms trapped in an anaerobic environment, in a dead organ, really contained during that time? Answer: no, they’re not! “Failing” just means that there are visible, discernible signs of rampant infection and decay. Teeth don't get that way overnight! When a root canal infection is obvious, you can be sure the problem has existed for quite some time.

Failed Root Canal Symptoms

In my case, the signs of infection were mild tooth sensitivity and a blister on the gums covering the tooth. I also had a raging, itchy rash on my trunk and arms that came and went for 2.5 months, until I realized it was related to my teeth.

Sick & Tired? Dental Work May be the Culprit

What Happens to the Root Canaled Tooth?

Have you ever thought about the fact that the tooth is an organ? Biological dentists know this. Each tooth is part of an interconnected meridian in the body. When you decide to keep a dead tooth in your mouth through a root canal, you are truly fossilizing a dead organism in your living mouth. How can we think this won’t cause problems?!

Bacteria Found in the Samples

My test results came back saying that 10 bacteria were detected in the tooth sample. None of them were in the “active” concentration, where the microorganism is alive and well and not being effectively attacked by my immune system.

But two were in the “bright” concentration, which means “heavy concentration of the microorganism.”

The two most worrying bacteria were:

Photo of female scientist looking into microscope from "What Happened When My Root-Canal Teeth Were Pulled"

Getting your tooth tested with a bacteria sample can show if your root canal is infected.

Different Bacteria in the Body

I didn't panic about this. The fact is, everybody has candida (a parasitic fungi like yeast), everybody has cancer, most people probably have strep and even MRSA micro-organisms too. Everybody has many yeasts, molds, fungi, viruses, bacteria, and the toxic waste byproducts of those critters in their blood and guts and organs.

Believe it or not, candida can actually have valid functions in the human body. In proportion, when we're talking about tiny amounts in a teeming, healthy ecosystem, it’s not a problem.

When Should You Worry About the Bacteria?

The problem is when those baddies get out of hand, when the good guys in the body, like macrophages and healthy microorganisms, are overcome (by antibiotics! GMO-frankenfoods! sugar-feeding yeast and fungus!) and the baddies get out of control.

Killing tissues/organs such as your teeth, then trapping the bacteria in the teeth, deprived of oxygen, makes the baddies become super-psychos. That’s a gross oversimplification, but a google search on those two bacteria reveal that my own two breeds of baddies cause heart attacks, impaired immune response, and infections!2


After the Root Canal Tooth Extraction

It was weird to be missing two teeth for a while, but I was glad to be rid of the super-psychos.

The dentist offered me an antibiotic the day of my surgery, since he knew the baddies were out and running around. I said no thanks, that I wanted to help my body manage it. And it did. Every time I think of this, I send a gratitude message inward, thanking my body for heroic immune function during a rough patch!

What was the experience like if you’ve ever had a root canal? If you could choose, would you have a root canal or have the tooth extracted? Share your story in the comments section below.

Up Next: How To Find A Good Biological Dentist: 10 Questions To Ask

Photograph of Robyn Openshaw, founder of Green Smoothie GirlRobyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that help support the GSG mission without costing you extra. I recommend only companies and products that I use myself.

Photo of woman with mouth open and dentist with surgical tools with post's text from "What Happened When My Root-Canal Teeth Were Pulled" by Green Smoothie Girl


  1. Zehnder, Matthias, and Georgios N Belibasakis. “On the Dynamics of Root Canal Infections-What We Understand and What We Don't.” Virulence, Taylor & Francis, 2015,
  2. Georgalas, C., Kanagalingam, J., Zainal, A., Ahmed, H., Singh, A., & Patel, K. S. (2002). The Association between Periodontal Disease and Peritonsillar Infection: A Prospective Study. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery126(1), 91–94.


Editor's note: This post was originally published on November 23, 2012 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

Posted in: Dental Health, Detox, Health Concerns, Holistic Care

18 thoughts on “What Happened When My Root-Canal Teeth Were Pulled”

Leave a Comment
  1. Lisa says:

    How much does it cost approximately to have a failed root canal tooth removed by a holistic biological dentist? Do most dental insurances cover some of the cost?

    1. Carol says:

      It can run 6k-7k if an implant is done for cosmetic reasons–i.e. if the tooth is visible. That’s per tooth incl’g initial evaluation, cone scan, tooth extraction w/perio ligament, w/ozone treatment, bone graft, collection/apply patients blood to help heal (PRF), and a temporary retainer for cosmetic until implant, post-op eval, implant placement, implant post op, porcelain/ceramic crown. That was estimate in NC @ holistic dentist. After eval, I was given a complete treatment plan and cost before agreeing to anything. To remove the amalgam and crown it, the est last yr was $2188,

  2. Ally says:

    I had a root canal 4 years ago, the procedure was never right from the start in my opinion. I always had facial and neck/head pain and my sinuses would play up, the tooth turned black, however I went back a few times only to be told they can’t see an infection on the xray that is until recently. I had an abcess, fever, vomiting and severe tooth pain, facial and neck pain sure enough it was that tooth. I’ll never have a root canal again, it was 4 years from hell, now I feel so much better and all the pain in those areas left once the tooth was out 🙂

  3. Laura says:

    Home from having 2 side by side root canal teeth extracted. 1 was super old and the other just done last year!!!
    Should of listened to my instincts and never had it root canaled. Ever again
    Definitely was experiencing immune issues including eczema ( horrible) and I was never an eczema sufferer and all sorts of other misc stuff including sinus pressure, ear ache, headache on that side etc starting in January off and on. Then on and off pain in tooth
    My regular dentist has outdated x-ray equipment. Went to oral surgeon ( who I went to previously for a separate extraction ( not a root canal tooth) he’s not a biological oral surgeon but awesome. Took full scan of teeth and what do you know? Full blown infection in one ( which means it’s been there for YEARS! And the other was just starting and he said was definitely on the road to deteriorating. I clearly saw it on x-ray Whole process took 15 minutes!! Home recovering
    SO happy that’s done. Yes 1st day or 2 not fun but stay ahead of pain all should be good!

  4. Jill says:

    This is long but I hope it helps someone. Had an injury to my bottom front tooth 12 years ago and had a root canal. Dentist said he was going to put in a post just in case I needed a crown down the road but right now it was fine as it was. The tooth has been fine all these years, not even much sensitivity and only slight color change. I go to dentist every six months like clockwork for xrays and cleaning and no infection ever showed up. As a matter of fact I was just there two months ago and everything was ‘fine’.

    Well two weeks ago I had another injury to the that area, (ugh only me) both injuries were from other people’s carelessness, just wrong place wrong time :-), it hurt, but the tooth still looked fine. I see an oral surgeon the next morning because I’m in pain, he tells me that there is a hairline fracture you couldn’t even see with the eye running down the center of the tooth and a ‘pocket of infection’ at its base. I would have to take a week of AmoxClav to get rid of the infection, then come back and he would clean it out and do a second root canal.

    For the last ten years I have had so many medical issues come up HBP, sinus infections so bad they wanted to do surgery, cellulitis in one eye/side of my face which required a week in hospital where they ran a zillion tests even on my brain, infectious disease doctor, Eye Dr, Nuro etc. but no one even mentioned the possibility of teeth, they found nothing, it resolved with heavy duty IV antibiotics so I never had an official diagnoses

    As well, my ANA has been through the roof, yet again rheumatologist ran test for lupus, Lyme disease, arthritis etc. took xrays of my swollen joints and all come back negative, imaging doesn’t even show fluid around my joints so why the heck are they so swollen. They wanted to put me on arthritis medication even though it came back negative just to see if it would help my swollen joints and full body joint pain. I refused, why would I take medication for arthritis when the test showed I didn’t have arthritis it didn’t make any sense to me.

    I decided to change my diet after spending thousands of dollars seeing a holistic doctor and getting vitamin drips and a zillion Supplements just to get some energy. Then I had a heart problem, T-wave on EKG, ischemia, scary stuff! I didn’t eat any carbs hoping that would help with the inflammation and I ended up becoming vegan because wellness Dr thought it might be meat and dairy causing my systemic inflammation. My hands were so swollen that a surgeon wanted to remove an old ucl anchor I had years ago with the thought I was having an allergic reaction to it.

    That lead me to the allergist where I find I’m allergic to so many foods, some medications as well as adhesive, latex, sulphur, and so severely allergic to metal that the Dr said she had to stop the test early because it was literally melting my skin away and she said she had never seen that for thirty years in practice. So now I am concerned that I should have all metal removed from my body and I’m thinking about this post. The dentists said, don’t be crazy, its titanium, most people aren’t allergic to that. What they don’t tell you is that all metal, even titanium, has trace amounts of other metals, Its just the science of nature you can’t avoid it.

    More testing showed that my creatine level was through the roof, actually it was so high my doctor thought the test was a mistake she said we need to redo it because if you are at that level you would not even be able to walk into my office never mind Drive a car here, turned out second results were the same! She was stunned. My iron level was also through the roof so I had to do blood letting to lower the number. My calcium level was through the roof. They tested both my liver and kidneys, both were low functioning.

    It was insanity, I was healthy, had two children naturally, was a competitive athlete who always worked out, ate healthy, did yoga, pilates, didn’t smoke or drink etc. now I was exhausted walking up the stairs and all my organs were having issues and the joint pain was bad enough that I had just scheduled an appointment to go back to the rheumatologist and go on the agreed medication‘s. Actually my appointment was missed because I was dealing with this tooth last week.

    So I was back home with my antibiotics for two days and going to see the oral surgeon again in ten days to have the infection taken care of, my thought was just get the tooth out of me, he said no it’s better to try to save it because the tooth was small and they may not have an implant small enough, sounded ridiculous to me, I wanted it out.

    Well turned out I didn’t get a choice because within a day, my face turned red and swelled and the pain was so excruciating I ended up in the emergency room. Turned out the fracture (which their xray showed was also in the jaw bone not just tooth) allowed air to get to the festering infection and it spread like wildfire even though I was on high dose Amoxclav. This infection was there for years eating away at my jawbone! They diagnosed cellulitis of the face as the red, painful infection was spreading from my eyes down my neck, I was having difficulty swallowing and ot felt like the skin on my chin was going to burst open it was so swollen. IV Demerol, Dilaudid, and Percocet did nothing to touch the pain. They immediately put me on IV antibiotics and we awaited the blood work to ensure I wasn’t sepsis so they could determine surgery plan. Thank goodness I was not yet sepsis so they did emergency surgery to remove the tooth and clean out the infection. It was strep infection.

    5 days in the hospital on antibiotics and the cellulitis went away, minimal pain in tooth area. I will now have to wait three months for a zirconia implant and getting a temp today.

    I have been home just a week and my joint pain is MINOR, actually only in two fingers! My creatine level is NORMAL as is my iron and calcium levels! I have more energy than I have in ten years and I’m still recovering. My back doesn’t hurt, I can walk down the stairs in the morning with no pain in my feet!

    I don’t know what the future with show as far as my organs, ANA and other issues but I’m hopeful this was the answer to my problems.. I do hope they will heal and will post a follow up here when I am retested in December. I do know that I will never get a root canal again and nor will my family members. I will also never have any metal in my body again. Wishing you all health and healing!

    1. Sharonah says:

      Wow Jill!
      Would love to hear an update to your situation.

  5. Ron says:

    30 years with my root canals and they are both as healthy as the day they were done. I have had some minor maintenance work done.
    Sorry about your experience, but mine has been just the opposite. Most dentists are tooth-pullers anyways, I look for a repairman. Losing a tooth should only ever be a last resort.
    Find a good dentist.

    1. Carol says:

      I’m glad you’ve had good success with your root canals. I also had good success with one that was done somewhere in the early 1980’s. My health problems started when I hit 60 yrs old which was almost 5 yrs ago. Though looking back, I never had a strong immune system and I was suffering from fatigue for years before that. Don’t have time to go thru all the symptoms but some include vertigo, hearing loss, dizziness, brain issues (focus, memory), extreme fatigue, tinnitus, shortness of breath, anxiety and insomnia. I’ve been working w/a Functional Med Doc for 1 1/2 yrs and had a Holistic Dentist pull out my root canalled tooth last Nov. We’re trying to get my vit D level up to 70 before doing the implant. Then after that, I’ll have the 1 amalgam filling out of my molar. My Dentist used the exact same procedure as Robyn describes, but, he wasn’t willing to do any bacterial testing on the tooth, but, he did use ozone. I also skipped the antibiotics. Because of my weakened immune system it took 5 weeks before the throbbing was no longer affecting my sleep at night post-surgery. I was still having some very minor throbbing until just this past week when I started experimenting with Earthing. I noticed the throbbing stopped after just a couple of days and my energy level is increasing. I believe the Earthing is helping with blood flow and lowering my inflammation. I’m on my 2nd detox in 1 1/2 yrs. Trying to do an anti-inflammatory diet and the 1st morning after Earthing, I felt different. My insomnia hasn’t gone away yet, but, I’ve heard others say it took them a week or so to achieve restful sleep after beginning Earthing. I was up all night last night and finally crashed at 1pm today and woke so soundly I thought it was 7am when I woke up–found out it was only 7pm. I attribute the sound sleep to being grounded. When I woke up my tinnitus was barely noticeable. It’s gone up just a little since being on the computer for a few hours, but, not as bad as it has been for over a year.

  6. Gregg Cobb says:

    I assume most of your information on root canals came from dentists and endodontists rather than actual people, like me, with root canals that have been in my mouth for over 30 years without incident or symptoms.
    I did finally have two pulled as they were poking into my mastoid sinus and might be the reason for my nasal congestion. But, who do you turn to for a second opinion on the other 3 root canal teeth. Again, no symptoms. Forget the meridians and bacterial infestation. Holistic dentists can’t even get the rest of the dentists to stop using mercury amalgams.
    So what I’m saying is anyone that does implants will say yes, jerk those teeth out. Anyone that buys into all cavitations have dangerous bacteria within will be happy to charge me $1000 per tooth or cavitation for all the juju medicine I can handle- ozone, vitamin C drip, acupressure.
    Hard to find a dentist who will look past his or her rose colored glasses (regardless of which way they see mercury, fluoride and root canals) to look at a patient’s individual situation.

    1. Carol says:

      I heard just this past year that the ADA no longer recommends amalgam fillings. I don’t have the source, but, it was a news article. Could do a search.

  7. Daniel Fulton says:

    5 stars
    I just had a long failing root canal pulled and I feel better than I have in many years. I literally can’t remember feeling this good. Obviously, it was long overdue, but I honestly hadn’t the slightest idea what had been happening to me for so many years. It’s hard to describe but I feel like I have my old happy, energetic self back.

    Initial, upon the extraction, I was quite sick for about 3 days–major body aches, crippling fatigue, very slight fever. After the third day, however, I woke-up early and felt like a new person. I am so grateful to have gotten my life back. I have energy and positive outlook that I’ve tried everything to improve for years upon years to with very little if any success. To suddenly be relieved from the hidden, unrelenting infection from a root canal, it feels like nothing short of a miracle. I have literally cried with joy over this. And I only had one root canal. I can only imagine the suffering and insanity resulting from this misguided procedure.

    1. Alena says:

      That’s so amazing! Did you have it pulled by a biological dentist or a regular one? And did they do a regular extraction or did they shave down 2mm of the bone?

  8. Stephanie King says:

    5 stars
    I came across this article as I am researching as much as I can before getting an infected root canal pulled in a few weeks. It’s so great to read about others whose health issues have subsided after they got them removed! I’ve had trouble with mine since I got it 6 years ago and I decided after a consultation with a holistic dentist that it’s time for it to go! hoping to see some symptom relief in my gut issues which have gotten worse since I had it done (it is on the meridian for the large intestine)

  9. Susan says:

    Great information…thank you, all!
    I have a failed root canal on #3, upper molar. A cyst formed on the gum about a month ago which I popped and drained, which helped. The dentist referred me to an endodontist to have the crown removed and re-canaled.
    I feel that the infection is still there. Although the thought of antibiotics to clear it up sounds appealing, is it possible to have an antibiotic injection into the gum/tooth instead of oral antibiotics? It seems reasonable. Any thoughts, or suggestions?
    Thanks – Susan

  10. Amber says:

    Looking into having my 20 year old root canal removed down the line to reduce heavy metals. It’s a molar. How many of you did an implant after or is it possible to just leave a gap? Trying to weigh the costs and benefits of it all.

    1. Teresa says:

      Hi Amber, I just had a super old root canal molar today. I am planning on getting an implant later next year.

      1. Teresa says:


      2. Stacey says:

        How did your recovery go? Mine is about 25 years old

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