In my quest to conceive a child — I found the underlying cause of my fertility challenges & many other health problems. From root canal treated teeth to titanium teeth implants, to Maryland Bridges (containing a mixture of metals including nickel) — dentistry was largely to blame. After dental revision, I went on to get pregnant, natural conception at age 43, when I was told by the fertility clinic at age 37 that I needed IVF to conceive.
I was genetically missing 4 teeth from my adult set (thanks to my mom missing some on the upper teeth and my dad different ones on the lower teeth.) I played violin and viola many hours a day all through high school and never had any shoulder pains. My first Maryland bridges (metal plates attached to the surrounding teeth) were placed when I was 19,
4 years later at age 23, I had my first root canal treatment that I developed an immediate reaction to. The dentist apologized and sent me to an endodontist to have the root canal redone. I was horribly sick after that 2nd procedure. It got more and more difficult to play my instruments due to shoulder pain and numbness in my fingers. I was suddenly in so much pain from playing that I had to delay my final recital for my viola performance degree and drop out of the orchestra for a time to heal. I didn’t have pain in my mouth, therefore it never occurred to me that my dental work could be connected to the pain in my neck and shoulders.
When I was 30, the bridges for my bottom teeth had decay around them so they were replaced with titanium teeth implants. Each thing that was done in my mouth started a new string of problems, I had ankle and knee sprains that were not torn ligaments and took 1–2 years even with physical therapy to heal. I got sick often and had a sinus or ear infection at least once a year. I had no food allergies or sensitivities when I was a child, but after adding metals and toxins to my mouth, I started reacting to foods and the list kept getting longer. My immune system was on hyper-alert. I’m not sure what was harder, being a music teacher and performer that had to stop playing my instrument or being a childless woman that longed to be a mother. But, when we were trying to conceive for 3 years with no success, I started to wonder if this was connected in some way.
A few years went by and when a traditional dentist recommended I have another root canal, I had this feeling that maybe that wasn’t the right thing to do. I went to a holistic dentist for a second opinion and he said I should go ahead. After that second root canal things continued to get worse.
Maryland Bridge Removal
The good side of going to the holistic dentist was that he recommended I get rid of my remaining Maryland bridge. I found out that this bridge, that had been there for 17 years, had a mixture of metals that contained nickel. I knew I was allergic to nickel in jewelry and would never have consented to have it in my mouth, but I was never informed of the materials used. This holistic dentist removed the bridge and made a more permanent bridge that is fitted over the surrounding teeth, using cubic zirconia to achieve a metal-free alternative.
According to Hal Huggins in his book Uninformed Consent, [compared to mercury], “Nickel does even more genetic damage — Where mercury would probably kill the cell, nickel just makes the cell turn malignant. DNA damage can lead to reproductive toxicity. And nickel is well known to adversely react with the immune system. Specifically, nickel is immuno-suppressive.”
One month after I got the Maryland bridge removed, I had my first confirmed pregnancy after 3 long years of trying to conceive. I felt maybe things were looking up, but at 6 weeks we found out it was ectopic and after a shot of methotrexate and a difficult recovery, I was back to wondering what was going on.
Working with a Coach
5 months after the pregnancy loss, when we had now tried two more IUI cycles and it had been nearly 4 years of trying to conceive — I hit my breaking point. I already changed my job from full-time orchestra teaching to part-time to help manage stress. I started to learn to dance several styles of partner dance, so I was exercising regularly. I went to regular treatments of acupuncture, naturopathic, cranial-sacral, massage, physical therapy, chiropractic. I was sleeping 10 hours a night and taking naps regularly and never feeling rested. I had a terrible stabbing ache behind my left shoulder blade and it was difficult to stand up straight. I had ankle and knee sprains that took a year or more to heal. And, my shoulder pain had gotten more and more painful, to the point where I stopped playing my viola because the last few concerts I did, I barely made it through or had to sit out some of the songs for an orchestra concert. And I was embarrassed by the sound coming from my instrument, compared to how I used to be able to freely play.
Finding a spiritual coach was my turning point in my health journey. He started to work with me to unravel my feelings of inadequacy and failure that surrounded infertility. I didn’t understand why I could be working SO hard to make this happen and everyone around me seemed to get pregnant with no effort. There was a battle raging inside of me with my inner voice being suppressed. I kept asking practitioners what was wrong because I felt I had these pregnancy symptoms for 2 weeks and then not a positive pregnancy test (and they WERE the same symptoms I experienced at the start of my 6-week pregnancy and my full-term pregnancy.) I felt shamed by practitioners as they kept telling me those symptoms were all in my head, but the real truth was they didn’t have answers for me so it was easier to discount my symptoms. There were several things that going to a coach helped me with:
1. To know that I was not alone. To remember that my intuition was to be trusted.
2. I was able to find the right people after my mindset and connection to my intuition was restored.
3. I got other resources because he was part of a network of holistic providers.
4. I learned to stop taking responsibility for other people’s emotions. It allowed me to have more energy to take care of myself.
Root Canals and Periodontal Disease
I read in Randine Lewis’ book The Infertility Cure about auto-immune diseases and how they could cause recurrent miscarriage and implantation reactions. I knew that my mom had some of the same shoulder issues and chronic pain problems that I did. I also knew that she didn’t play viola (as everyone kept saying the shoulder problems were caused by playing viola, but when I wasn’t playing and it kept getting worse — that explanation didn’t make sense.)
About a week after my first coaching session I went to sleep pondering all the things that I felt related to my situation. The next morning, I heard a voice yelling at me “Get them out!” I sat bolt upright in bed.
It was 5 am. I went and found the tooth chart that my holistic dentist had given me when he replaced my Maryland Bridge the year before. He had given me a chart where it shows the meridians that connect each tooth to different systems in the body. (Interestingly enough, the metal bridge I had removed was partly over one of my front teeth that is related to “sterility”.)
My dentist circled my teeth implants and wrote “infection” by them, but he thought it was too much work to remove them and gave me a homeopathic injection to counteract the infection. But, now, with my dream — I was determined to figure out how to get my teeth implants taken out.
Once I had that dream I was convinced that this was the missing piece to my fertility puzzle. I called the dentist who placed the teeth implants and she wouldn’t remove them. I called 8–10 others in my area that placed implants, but they all said they wouldn’t remove them. I went back to a session with my coach the next week, and he said he had a card for a dentist that would do surgeries in a holistic manner. I was living on Bainbridge Island at the time (a half-hour ferry ride away from Seattle) and the dentist, Russ Borneman was in Anacortes, a 1.5–2-hour drive north of the city, but I was willing to make the journey for some answers and relief. At the first consultation, I had to stop 3 times along the way to go to the bathroom because I had that much constant battle with having to go pee all the time. It felt like someone was squeezing my bladder.
They did some tests and looked at my mouth and told me that not only were the teeth implants a problem, but the root canal treated teeth were even worse. Using a form of kinesiology, they assessed the imbalance for each tooth, to decide which one would be worked on first. The root canal from less than 2 years before turned out to be the most toxic. I asked pointedly if this could be the source of my infertility. They said it could be the source of my auto-immune symptoms and infertility. I was both relieved and overwhelmed after the first appointment when what I thought would be one surgery, turned out to be 4. Their philosophy was to only take one tooth or tooth implant out at a time so that my body could more easily recover from each step.
The most dramatic change I saw in my health was when I got my first root canal tooth taken out. Tears came streaming down my cheeks, I didn’t even know when or how they started to flow. My subconscious was so overjoyed to have this tooth out of my mouth that I couldn’t stop crying. I had already gotten up to pee several times while they were prepping me and trying to get ready to take out the tooth. With the tooth removed, relief filled me and my bladder started to relax. The poor dentist thought he did something wrong when he saw so many tears dripping down my face and I used hand signals to explain (with my mouth propped wide open) that they were tears of joy and relief.
Getting the second root canal removed also meant sawing into the cubic zirconia bridge I had just done the year before to replace the Maryland Bridge. They then explained that my current bridge was not going to bear the weight of two more teeth without the root canal in the middle. So, I had to get a separate partial denture made.
Root canals are a problem because they clean out the main chamber of the tooth, but there are tiny pores throughout your tooth that can not be cleaned. (If you put these little tubules end to end they would stretch out more than 3 miles long.) Leaving a dead tooth with an infection in your body can leach toxins into other tissues to create or accelerate disease.
From an article by Hal Huggins, on the dangers of root canals they confirmed, through DNA testing, the findings from nearly 100 years ago by Weston Price. When root canal teeth were extracted, they found bacteria in the root tips, including 53 different bacteria species in the samples. Of the bacteria that were seen in the largest number of the sample, the heart, nerves, kidney, brain and sinus cavities can be affected by these. They also discovered that the blood surrounding the root canal and the bone had even higher levels of bacterial toxins- up to 400% more than the tooth itself.
Periodontal disease (inflammation of the gums) can create a 3 fold increase in difficulty and time to conception. And it can increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight babies. Poor oral health (from cavities untreated or periodontal disease) in men is linked to lower sperm count.
The problem with periodontal disease is a low-grade infection in the mouth. Root canal treated teeth are going to produce an even bigger problem with their underlying infection causing agents.
An increase in inflammation interferes with fertility in multiple ways:
1) preventing ovulation
2) preventing implantation of the embryo
3) Compromising the ability to sustain a pregnancy
Before my dental revision, I was going for treatments to alternative practitioners simply to keep constant infections at bay. I only had relief for a few short hours or days after and then my body would go back to being out of alignment and extreme muscle tension. Now, with the source of infection being treated, I started to open. My muscles started to soften. I had more energy. I didn’t need as much sleep. After having the two root canal treated teeth out, I started to play my viola again. I could walk more upright. My brain fog started to clear and I could remember the new names of other people. I didn’t need as much sleep as before. I got sick less. I felt so much better, but during the same time period, I also went through a divorce.
Teeth Implant Removal
Even though I had a very strong dream that I must take out my teeth implants, my holistic dentist encouraged me to get the root canals removed first and wait for a little to see if things would calm down. A year later, when I still felt strongly that there was more to heal, I went back and did the other two surgeries, spaced a few months apart. The first of the two teeth implant removals was a bit comical. I didn’t find out until the surgery that this was the first implant removal my dentist had done. When they took off the capped tooth, they realized they didn’t have the right drill bit to remove the tooth implant which is screwed into the bone. It is common to remove ones that have “failed” where they are loose and therefore easy to get out, but mine was fully integrated into the bone (hence why no one else wanted to remove it). They tried a few different things with no success and then finally had to go find parts from a regular drill and finally got to unscrewing it out from the bone. Then they also performed a cleaning of the area to make sure to get the infection out.
In a research study done at Umeå University, they found that when titanium implants are screwed into the bone that they release small pieces of metal into the surrounding bone and tissue and that this can lead to an increase in inflammation. This can also create a synergistic effect when combined with existing inflammation in the mouth. Any time two or more metals are in the mouth, saliva acts as a conductor, creating an oral galvanism effect (which was happening in my mouth between my bridge and titanium implants). “The electric currents and ionic flow between the metals has been shown to irritate the main cranial nerve system — blocking the flow of major acupuncture meridians, which can in turn lead to greater dysfunction throughout the body.”
Every surgical removal brought more relief. After all the dental work was complete, I was at a dance event and sprained my ankle. I was expecting this big long recovery period and dreading it all. I stayed off my ankle, rested, used ice and my ankle swelling was completely gone in 2 weeks. I couldn’t believe the difference of how my body was able to handle things in an effective manner when it wasn’t stressed out by chronic inflammation.
After several years of being single and about 6 cycles of trying again, I went on to conceive naturally with my current husband when I was 43 years old. (The 6 cycles included 1 attempt with a sperm donor, another pause, and 5 months after moving to Sweden.) I do believe extreme stress from moving to a new culture, new language and new job were a factor in taking 5 months to conceive, as when I had a chance to spend time in more meditative practices and go to a swing dance event over Christmas break — that was the month that we conceived.
If you are trying to conceive again after dental revision, it’s important to wait at least 7 months. It definitely depends on your body and its ability to detox. There is a period to detox and then 3 months to create eggs and sperm. But, you should be able to see fertility signs get better, and pain during your period decrease as a sign that your body is more fertile. I also encourage you to pay attention to any other signs in your overall health. Your intuition is powerful when you use it.
If you need help finding a holistic dentist near you, check here: https://iaomt.org/for-patients/search/
For an interactive page with a tooth chart to see what systems are related to any teeth you may have dental work on, look here: