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Dental health & when to stop ruling out physical causes?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Pemberley, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. Pemberley

    Pemberley Peer Supporter

    Hello, everyone – I am new to the forum, yet not new to TMS. I have some questions about how Dr. Sarno and other TMS experts always say to get checked out fully first before starting the TMS approach. I live far away from any TMS doctors or therapists, so I have had to rely on the traditional doctors in my area for a diagnosis. I have struggled with chronic back pain for 10 years. MRIs show a slightly herniated disc, which I now understand doesn’t cause the pain. All blood work and numerous other tests I had check out fine. On paper, I appear to be a healthy, 39-year-old woman – yet I feel 99.

    Has anyone looked into root canals as the cause of pain elsewhere in the body? I have included some links below about something that has made me very curious. Basically, according to holistic and biological dentistry, it’s possible that the root canal I had 15 years ago was never properly cleaned out, there’s an infection in the bone, and the tooth meridian corresponds with the places in my body where I have pain. The place where I had a root canal feels fine – it’s just that there “could be” bacteria thriving there that is causing a symptom elsewhere in the body. The argument swings between major dental associations who call it a myth – to holistic dentists who say that root canals release toxins into the body – to some dentists who say that some people (due to genetics, diet, etc.) can tolerate root canals better than others.

    Has anyone been down this path before developing full confidence in TMS? I ask because it appears that the tests for this aren’t conclusive. It doesn’t show up on an X-ray. (Plus, there are no holistic dentists near me, so I’m expecting it to be tough to find a regular dentist to look into this.)

    I first read The Mindbody Prescription nearly 4 years ago, and I believe it helped with my foot pain. Once in a while, I still get foot pain, but I am able to “talk to my brain” and it eventually goes away. But I haven’t made much progress in terms of back pain. I’ve done the SEP, Alan Gordon’s program, read other TMS books, reread Sarno (again and again and again…), done lots of journaling and did some Skype counseling. All of it has been worthwhile in getting to know myself, changing my reaction to stress, becoming more accepting of my personality traits, developing self-compassion, navigating difficult relationships within my family, becoming a better parent, making time to do things that I enjoy, etc. But here I am, still stuck…

    The reason that I’m back to looking into a physical cause is because I have a separate dental issue from the old root canal – it’s a cracked tooth, and a very eager dentist told me that I’d need a root canal (and another one told me that the crack is actually so small that I could “wait and see” since there is no decay in that tooth). In looking into what my options were, I came across this scary info on root canals causing all sorts of pain throughout the body. I thought I had really investigated it ALL and could attempt the TMS approach. I’m very angry that, once again, I feel like a ping-pong ball – back and forth, questioning whether it’s TMS or something physical.

    So I guess my main questions for the forum are:

    1) For those who have been diagnosed by TMS doctors, did the TMS doctors also look into your dental history?

    2) Have you looked into your root canals, and what made you decide that the cause of your pain was TMS instead?

    3) The success stories of people who removed old root canals and found it got rid of their back pain, fatigue, migraines, etc. – just another placebo? This is major surgery – not simply a matter of extracting the root canal. From what I understand, part of the bone has to be carved out.

    I hate to be obsessive about researching health matters online, but I think most of us get to this state because the traditional medical community has failed us. (And it was because of Dr. Google that I came across Dr. Sarno…)

    As I wait for my regular dentist to fit me into her schedule, I would appreciate any advice you could offer. Thank you!


    Tooth meridian chart:

    Success stories:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxUy0rUk7awQJViHeJGz3lA (RobertRowenMD)

    Article from biological dentistry perspective:
    http://biologicaldentalhealth.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-root-canals-dental-implants/ (What You Need to Know about Root Canals & Dental Implants - Gary M. Verigin, DDS, inc.)
    http://www.livingnetwork.co.za/dentalnetwork/root-canals/root_canals_and_cavitations/ (Root canals & cavitations « livingnetwork.co.za)
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/31/root-canal-teeth.aspx (Toxic Teeth: How a Root Canal Could Be Making You Sick)

    Journal article on bacteria:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3010028/ (Endodontic microbiology)
  2. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Pemberley,
    Had a root canal a couple of years ago, same time as when my TMS was bad. One of the symptoms was occasional tooth pains, not limited to the tooth that had the root canal. The dentist poked the tool through the root tip which caused an infection beneath that took months to develop. The root canal was done again (which is ludicrous, because you cannot flush away infections through a 1mm hole plus your body cannot remove it either because it is toxic, the only thing the body can do is encapsulate the infection and make it dormant) but finally the pain got so bad that a surgeon did an apex resection where they poke a hole in your jaw and cut off the tip of the root and flush away the infection, which was a huge relief.
    I still have tooth pains sometimes and I am sure it is TMS, especially because it always is accompanied by trigger points in my jaw and temporalis muscles. In my opinion that's a clear sign for TMS.
    I still occassionaly have other TMS symptoms, so the surgery didn't change anything other than that is was a huge relief for a particular pain. My real recovery lay in that through the years I became more and more certain that a whole heap of symptoms are TMS in my case.
    If there is an infection beneath your root tip, it should show up on the x-ray. If you want it removed, go for the apex resection or have it pulled. Apex resection is done within an hour with local anesthetics and the chance that it solves the local pain is much much bigger than doing a second root canal.
    hope my story helps you
  3. Pemberley

    Pemberley Peer Supporter

    Hi, Gigalos – Thank you! I appreciate your reply! I think what’s really bugging me is that this matter has thrown me back into the “trying to fix it” mindset – when really, I thought I had reached some sort of acceptance. I wasn’t actively looking for more physical causes to my back pain, and it’s amazing how quickly one can bounce back to some non-TMS glimmer of hope.

    When I first learned to manage my foot pain with TMS techniques, I also had this same horrible back pain and a few other symptoms (tendonitis issues in my hands/wrists/arms, allergies, eczema, etc.). Most of it started with the birth of my daughter – classic TMS onslaught, where it felt like all the “important” and most necessary parts of the body (that I needed to be strong for the job of taking care of a baby) were falling apart. The foot pain is the only one that I can say I had relief from the TMS approach. And that’s because it was so obvious to me – it truly was almost laughable when it would strike.

    No matter what, I definitely have reservations about ever getting any root canals in the future. You’re so right about it being ludicrous to fully flush away infections. Somewhere I read that, if you were to line up the tubules in a single tooth end to end, it would stretch for 3 miles!
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Pemberley,

    Your post brought back some painful memories of my time before I discovered the theory and treatment of TMS. I remember very well, hopefully researching every theory out there that might explain my symptoms and bring me some relief. Unfortunately, all that research led to dead ends--some very expensive. I never went down the road of root canals, but I think these theories come around in phases. I remember one in the 90's that was very popular was the idea that many disorders were caused by the mercury in dental fillings. I knew several people who went through all the pain and expense of having their fillings removed and replaced with non-mercury type fillings. And, yes, they felt better for awhile. Placebo effect is very powerful. Fortunately, I never put myself through that one. The only treatment that worked for me was using TMS healing strategies, and this recovery has lasted several years.

    There is no way that we can rule out every possibility of a physical cause. At some point you just have to believe it's TMS and commit to following a strategy. I think once you've had several well-respected doctors rule out serious physical causes like cancer, then just say you'll commit to treating your symptoms as TMS for 6-12 months and then re-evaluate.

    Wishing you the best with your decision.......
  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Pemberley,
    I want to support what Ellen said. I tried every alternative under the sun, spent 20K in one year, trying to relieve my foot pain. Only Dr. Sarno's work actually had any lasting effects. I have no direct experience with pain related to teeth, generating in another area. As Ellen said, good luck in your exploration and decisions. And welcome to the Forum.
    Andy B
  6. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Pemberley, I've been around the the TMS forums quite a while and read most all the books, and I've never seen any connection made between a root canal causing pain in a distant part of the body. My view is that it is total hogwash--but I'm only a tennis player and not a dentist. Prior to discovering TMS I tried almost every new age, holistic and shmoelistic treatment around and IMHO they are all BS perpetrated by quacks to take advantage of people desperate to rid themselves of pain. about 80% of conditions are TMS, so the odds are in ones favor that most things are TMS--ER medicine is very good though if it's a real condition or trauma related. Alternative "healers" can "cure" if the condition is TMS and they have a lot of charisma, resulting in a placebo cure which is very powerful. Most real conditions like sprains, tears and pulls caused by sports injuries heal in two to four weeks.
    Lavender and pspa like this.
  7. pspa

    pspa Well known member

    From my old reading, there is a small niche of people attributing anything and everything to old root canals. Just as there is a similar, perhaps larger, group of people attributing anything and everything to mercury fillings. I was, and remain, highly skeptical.

    Of course as Tom mentions even the biggest quacks can be successful sometimes via the placebo effect. After all, witch doctors and shamans cure people too. Indeed, it has been said that much of the history of medicine is about harnessing the placebo effect.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  8. Pemberley

    Pemberley Peer Supporter

    Hi, Ellen, Andy B, Tennis Tom and pspa – Thank you for your replies! Oh, Andy… 20K in one year! You all make really good points about being cautious before launching into dental trends. So true about the charisma of “healers” and the placebo cure. Some of the best relief I got, before learning about TMS, was from an acupuncturist and a physical therapist who were just really good at listening and talking through emotional problems while they gave their physical treatments.

    Unfortunately, I will have to do something about my cracked tooth. It hurts to bite on it, and I’ve been on the “wait and see” approach for a long time. As for my old root canal tooth, my plan is to have an X-ray taken (to see if it actually shows anything) and ask that they inject Novocaine around the old root canal tooth to see if momentarily alleviates back pain. These seem to be the only real tests for this issue, which are pretty harmless and are certainly better than just having a holistic dentist remove it and see “if” you feel better.

    I guess where I’m at is 4 years into applying the TMS approach and feeling stuck. If anything, the swaying toward a root canal issue gave me a momentary break from trying too hard at TMS healing. And that break felt good!
  9. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    TMS should not be about "trying too hard at TMS healing". To me that would be part of the "perfectionist" and "goodist" personality that helps create the TMS symptoms. You don't have to earn it. You just have to learn, accept, and have confidence in Dr. Sarno's TMS theory. No longer believing in the collective meme created by the industrial/medical/media complex that pain is structural and needs to be treated with drugs or therapies which equals money. You don't have to sweat the TMS healing, you just have to read a book for as little as 1 penny + $2.99 shipping used from Amazon--and have confidence, belief or faith (your choice as to semantics) in the theory that if it's TMS--the pain is real but benign, emanating from the mind and not the other way around.
  10. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    1. A cracked tooth IS a structural issue which you should take care of if it's obviously causing pain - although it's possible that it's TMS, because your brain is expecting pain there. I had a cracked front tooth for a long time which kept getting worse - although my very expensive restorative dentist was taking a "wait and see" attitude, because it wasn't causing me any pain, and in his opinion it wasn't in danger of shattering. But there came a point when the discoloration bothered me so much that I decided to have both teeth capped, and I am thrilled with the result, both aesthetically, and from never having to worry about it again.

    2. I currently have a molar which occasionally causes pain on biting, but visual examination, biting tests, hot/cold tests, and X-ray prove nothing, so we are again going the "wait and see" route until or unless something shows up on the X-ray. I'm willing to assume it's TMS that occurs if I mindlessly start clenching my jaw under stress.

    3. Old root canals and remote pain elsewhere??? That sounds like magical thinking and taking advantage of the placebo effect. Like so much back surgery - it might work for a while.
  11. Pemberley

    Pemberley Peer Supporter

    The root canal theory DOES sound like it’s too good to be true, and I will proceed with TMS in mind. For the cracked tooth, my dentist said that nerve pain can last 8 weeks. Mine lasted for 10 weeks, then was fine for many months. Now it’s back again, so here we go – determining whether or not the crack is worse or if TMS is kicking in. (And I clench my jaw too while I sleep, so certainly another indicator of TMS.)

    One of my favorite things I read (or it was in a video – can’t quite remember) is a quote from Alan Gordon, where he said something like, “You need to embrace the reality that your senses are lying to you.” I’ve seen it firsthand with the success with my foot pain, so I understand that.

    But I’ve certainly had issues that were most definitely not TMS. I used to have severe “dyshidrotic eczema” on my hands for several years. I’ve had minor eczema on various other parts of the body my whole life – nothing that wasn’t manageable, was in the classic eczema spots (such as the inner elbow), only appeared in the winter and I didn’t worry about it. This was something very different. It was so bad that I would have to wrap gauze and tape around several of my fingers all the time. It felt like bugs were biting under the skin. It was gross, ugly, embarrassing, painful, itchy and it significantly affected the quality of my life – basic self-care, taking care of my little girl, making meals, etc. I was tested for all sorts of fungus (never found), but it could look like that too – where the nails would start to look horrible. And the best my dermatologist could say was, “Huh. Still looks like eczema. Here’s another steroid cream.” So I started looking into all my products, wondering if I was having an allergic reaction to an ingredient. I don’t use that many products – basic shampoo, bar of soap, some moisturizer, toothpaste, etc. Pretty much all the same brands I’ve used for the last two decades. I narrowed it down to several ingredients, and one of them was “titanium dioxide.” After looking up old formulations of the products, I found that most of them had added titanium dioxide in the last few years when I started having this problem. It was also at its worst in the summer when I was using mineral sunscreens (those with the sticky whiteness to them, which is from zinc oxide or titanium).

    After stopping use of all products for one week, my hands were 75% better. After another few months, the problem was completely gone. A surprise bonus: My lips that I thought were just normally dry and “needed” lip balm, became soft and free of cracks even in the winter. Apparently, an allergy to titanium dioxide is rare, and none of the doctors I saw – dermatologists, allergists, naturopaths – could identify it.

    Yes, in the midst of all of it, I absolutely questioned whether it was TMS. But to this day, I don’t believe this was a placebo effect. My skin rejects titanium dioxide – just as if I had been rubbing poison ivy on my hands.

    So after all this, with my history that includes some issues that I know are TMS and a huge issue that seemed like it COULD be TMS but had a physical cause, I definitely felt like I had to ask the community about the root canal theory. With the amount of over-researching that most of us did before we came across Dr. Sarno, someone else here would have looked into it. So that’s strong evidence to me of the placebo effect in these dental testimonials.

    I read quite a bit around the forum before joining, and it’s such a comfort to see how you support each other – rooting for each other’s successes, providing different perspectives and approaches, offering a shoulder to cry on, even giving each other a quick kick in the pants, and coming back after you’ve healed to help others. Thanks for reading this long. :)
  12. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Nice post Pemberley, hopefully my input helped too. I would not dismiss dermatitis as not having a TMS connection. I just received a book called "SKIN DEEP : A Mind/Body Program for Healthy Skin" by Grossbart & Sherman, that on skimming looks totally complementary to TMS theory. I looked up your skin condition and it was cited on two pages, 66 and 182, as having emotional roots. This book looks like it is TMS for skin issues. I purchased it used on Amazon for about $5. You may want to look into it.
  13. Pemberley

    Pemberley Peer Supporter

    Yes, Tom – your input has helped too, thank you! That looks like a really interesting book you mentioned. After first reading Sarno and thinking back at the minor eczema issues I’ve had in the past, I can definitely see how it corresponded with stress when I was younger (mostly in elementary school and college). I just never felt that this other type of “eczema” was stress-related. It’s almost like the doctors diagnosed it that because they had no other terms for it – it just mostly looked like that type of eczema.

    I was recently watching some old Saturday Night Live skits, and I came across the one where Steve Martin played a medieval barber/doctor. I just love when Dan Aykryod walks in and says, “I’m here for my annual haircut and blood-letting!” And John Belushi, looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame says, “You worked on my back last year!” It’s good to laugh about it once in a while, but it’s so true – the importance of questioning unnecessary treatments, medications and surgeries. During that whole “eczema” ordeal, a doctor even offered me some scary pills “just in case” it was a fungus. When I looked up the meds, they seemed to have a high chance of completely messing with your liver and causing a whole lot of other problems. And the success rates weren’t that great…
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  14. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks Tom for this book idea. I have added it to my lists. Sounds good. Love to hear a post from you, when you get further into it. Or maybe if it is good, it could be added to Wiki stuff?
    Andy B
  15. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Here's a link to Amazon and the first review on the page, it reads like Sarno:

    https://www.amazon.com/Skin-Deep-Mind-Program-Healthy/dp/0929173112 (Skin Deep: A Mind/Body Program for Healthy Skin: Ted A. Grossbart, Carl Sherman: 9780929173115: Amazon.com: Books)

    By A Customer on March 12, 2001
    Format: Paperback

    "This is the best self-help book I've read. The healing exercies oulined by the authors are not in the least bit "new-agey" and etheral, but are parctical and down-to-earth. As a reader you are encouraged to dig deep into your own psyche to discover the sensitive issues behind your skin problem and you are emotionally supported every step of the way as if you were actually in the doctor's office. Anyone with the drive to acquire self-knowledge will gain valuable insights from reading this book. For me personally, the "animal test" and the sections on "what if it got better/what if it got worse" were particularly enlightening. This book should be a mandatory read for all doctors applying for board certification in dermatology."
  16. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Just an aside on dentists, I played tennis with a dentist today and he was about the stupidest person I've ever hit with. I hope he is better at dentistry then he is at tennis.

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