Root Cause – the root of all evil?

The following text is from Dr K.U. Volz, for a direct link to his website, please click here:


The film “Root Cause” reports on the dangers of root-treated teeth and ischemic osteonecrosis during a ten-year personal search for the cause of the chronic fatigue, the filmmaker and producer and actor Ben Purser suffers from. Rarely before has this topic generated so much audience attention as through this movie and let the waves blow up that much on both sides, the supporters of the theory as well as the opponents.

You can currently find the movie on Amazon Prime, iTunes and Vimeo or click on this link  below to watch the documentary:  


Basically, we think it’s good that the topic Root Cause, which affects hundreds of millions of people around the world (in the US alone, around 25 million new root-canal treatments are being treated each year) is becoming a public focus and hopefully will lead to Dentists, immunologists, oncologists, cardiologists, orthopedists and internists coming together and dealing more intensively with this issue in the interest of the health of patients or humanity according to the official rules of medicine and science!


Root Cause – the root of all evil?

The movie “Root Cause” is a “must see”, although we see some weaknesses in the presentation: the film is based almost exclusively on expert reports, which report from third persons (their patients), but in the film are neither being shown nor interviewed so that the viewer must fully rely on the veracity of these reports. It would have been a simple matter, as we do in the SWISS BIOHEALTH CLINIC, to seriously document some cases and to include them in the film, just as in our testimonials: X-rays before and after treatment, patient before and after treatment, testimonial, vital signs eg: HRV and symptoms (we assess the symptoms of our patients at different stages of treatment using the validated “Medical Symptoms Questionnaire”). From this we can then at least meaningful present “individual fates”, such as that of Catherine Stewart.


“He who heals is right!”

Basically, medicine has underlaid this indisputable rule since time immemorial. Therefore, if consistent biological dentistry, as we have been performing it on our patients for more than 25 years, demonstrably has lead to improvements for nearly all patients, then this can not and must not be negated by medicine. Furthermore, every medical therapy development follows the order: “Observing – recognizing – acting – proving!”. Often, ignorance of this rationale for certain obvious findings lead to the requirement of randomized 5-year double-blind studies, ignoring the fact that “evidence” comes after “action.”

The thalidomide scandal

Let’s go back 60 years in time and remember the thalidomide scandal: Since the end of 1960, the Federal Republic observed a rapid increase in the malformation of newborn. In the first specialist publication, the doctor Hans-Rudolf Wiedemann reported in September 1961, [10] that 13 cases of limb malformations had been observed in the Krefeld City Children’s Hospital in the previous ten months. [3] But since he could not make out the cause, he assumed that this was due to a newly introduced “toxic factor” that was unknown. The public continued to speculate on possible damage from nuclear weapons tests, which delayed the Enlightenment. [4]
In 1961, the Hamburg doctor Widukind Lenz and the Australian gynecologist William McBride [11] independently examined and published the connection between thalidomide and the malformations. The publications were based on observed correlations between data on thalidomide taken by the mother and the damaged born child. After an anonymous letter “The World” published on Sunday, November 26, 1961 an article, whereupon Grünenthal the following day finally pulled thalidomide from the market. The company had already been informed by phone on November 15 by Lenz, however refused to withdraw the drug from the market by the 24th of November and threatened in the event of a ban on recourse claims.
On December 6, 1961 a further, more detailed article was published in the magazine ‚Der Spiegel‘. [13] On the discovery of the doctor Lenz and the recent publications it says: “Until Monday of last week, the German citizens knew nothing about the ‘malformation epidemic’. On this day, however, the West German newspaper readers were informed with thick, more (‘The World’: ‘Malformed by Sleeping Pills?’) or less tact (‘Picture’: ‘Malformations through Sleeping Pills?’) headlines, not about the extent of the misfortune , but about the supposed cause. The pediatrician and lecturer from the the Hamburg University Children’s Hospital Widukind Lenz have, so the newspapers reported, “sounded the alarm” and warned against the most commonly used sleeping aid.”
No one would seriously consider calling for 5-year studies in such a situation to reach a decision to apparently take toxic sleeping pills off the market? The observations of biological dentists go back well over 100 years and have already caused them to take action to remove root-treated teeth:

Weston Price

Weston Price was no less than the chairman of the research department of the American Dental Association and showed in his studies that his patients were not only healthier and symptom-free after the removal of the root-treated teeth, but also that over 80% of the sheeps and rabbits, into which he implanted these root-treated teeth developed the same symptoms as the donors!

Also the recently deceased second forefather of biological dentistry Hal Huggins repeated and confirmed the findings of Weston Price. In his writings (Huggins Hal A, Levy Thomas (1999), Uninformed Consent: The Hidden Dangers in Dental Care, Hampton Roads Pub Co. p.278 ISBN 1-57174-117-8.) He published together with the also in Root Cause Several times worded and famous celebrity cardiologist Thomas Levy, the dangers that can arise from dental materials and procedures.

I think it is safe to say, based on more than one hundred years of root canal treatment, that massive health problems can arise from the bacteria, endotoxins, mercaptans and thioethers, all of which are released from root-treated teeth. Thousands of biological dentists have responded (observing – recognizing – acting – proving) and implemented the knowledge gained from the observations. But what about the study situation?

Current study situation – Root Cause

For example, this brand new, international study, which is focused on Pubmed, shows that root-treated teeth clearly show carcinogenic activity (oxidative and nitrosative stress) and also contribute to depression:
Mol Neurobiol. 2018 Apr;55(4):2814-2827. doi: 10.1007/s12035-017-0545-z. Epub 2017 Apr 28.
Increased Root Canal Endotoxin Levels are Associated with Chronic Apical Periodontitis,
Increased Oxidative and Nitrosative Stress, Major Depression, Severity of Depression, and a Lowered Quality of Life.
Gomes C1Martinho FC2Barbosa DS3Antunes LS1Póvoa HCC4Baltus THL3Morelli NR3Vargas HO5Nunes SOV3Anderson G6Maes M7,8,9,10,11.
Author information
Evidence indicates that major depression is accompanied by increased translocation of gut commensal Gram-negative bacteria (leaky gut) and consequent activation of oxidative and nitrosative (O&NS) pathways. This present study examined the associations among chronic apical periodontitis (CAP), root canal endotoxin levels (lipopolysaccharides, LPS), O&NS pathways, depressive symptoms, and quality of life. Measurements included advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP), nitric oxide metabolites (NOx), lipid peroxides (LOOH), -sulfhydryl (SH) groups, total radical trapping antioxidant parameter (TRAP), and paraoxonase (PON)1 activity in participants with CAP, with and without depression, as well as healthy controls (no depression, no CAP). Root canal LPS levels were positively associated with CAP, clinical depression, severity of depression (as measured with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and the Beck Depression Inventory) and O&NS biomarkers, especially NOx and TRAP. CAP-related depression was accompanied by increased levels of NOx, LOOH, AOPP, and TRAP. In CAP participants, there was a strong correlation (r = 0.734, p < 0.001) between root canal LPS and the HDRS score. There were significant and positive associations between CAP or root canal endotoxin with the vegetative and physio-somatic symptoms of the HDRS as well as a significant inverse association between root canal endotoxin and quality of life with strong effects on psychological, environmental, and social domains. It is concluded that increased root canal LPS accompanying CAP may cause depression and a lowered quality of life, which may be partly explained by activated O&NS pathways, especially NOx thereby enhancing hypernitrosylation and thus neuroprogressive processes. Dental health and „leaky teeth“ may be intimately linked to the etiology and course of depression, while significantly impacting quality of life
Antioxidants; Chronic apical periodontitis; Depression; Endotoxin; Inflammation; LPS; Oxidative and nitrosative stress


This study from 2018 also establishes the link between root-treated teeth and systemic diseases:


DOI: 10.4172/2161-1122.1000476
Impact of Endodontically Treated Teeth on Systemic Diseases
Johann Lechner1* and Volker Von Baehr2
Department of Integrative Dentistry, Grünwalder Str. 10A, 81547, Munich, Germany
Department of Immunology and Allergology at the Institute of Medical Diagnostics in MVZ GbR, Nicolaistr 22, 12247, Berlin, Germany
* Corresponding Author Johann Lechner, Head of Clinical Integrative Dentistry Munich Gruenwalder Str. 10A, 81547 Muenchen, Germany,
Received Date: Mar 05, 2018 / Accepted Date: Mar 23, 2018 / Published Date: Mar 31, 2018
Background: This study compares the radiographic distribution of apical periodontitis (AP) in rootfilled and endodontically treated teeth among healthy controls and patients with systemic diseases; the incidence of AP was almost twice as high in the latter group.
Objective: The question arises as to whether the biogenic amines (mercaptan/thioether/hydrogen sulfide) originating from endodontically treated teeth have systemic, subtoxic and immunological effects. Method: In order to determine this, local hydrogen sulfide measurements of endodontically treated teeth were combined with the laboratory serum analyses of modified proteins to assess the relationship of these compounds with type IV immune reactions.
Results: It was found that 42.5% of the group with systemic diseases showed immunological disturbance as a result of root-filled teeth. Furthermore, the presence of AP was almost three times higher than in the control group (17.2% versus 5.9%, respectively).
Conclusion: In summary, the data demonstrates that local pathologies caused by endodontically treated teeth may increase immunological and systemic dysfunction.

Further studies on root cause

In fact, there are hundreds of studies that confirm the statements, which were stated in “Root Cause” – whereas we do not know of a medical study that unequivocally proves that the root-treated teeth have no impact on patient’s health.
J.F. Siqueira, et. al., Polymerase chain reaction-based analysis of microorganisms
associated with failed endodontic treatment. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral
Pathology, Oral Radiology and Endodontology 2004; Vol. 97: 85-94
J.F. Siqueira, et. al.; A Scanning Electron Microscopic Evaluation of In Vitro Dentinal
Tubules Penetration by selected Anaerobic Bacteria. Journal of Endodontics, June
1996; Vol. 22 (6)
N.M. Chugal, et. al., Endodontic infection: Some biologic and treatment factors
associated with outcome. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology
and Endodontology July 2003: Vol. 96 (1)
Richardson N, Mordan NJ, Figueiredo JA, Ng YL, Gulabivala K., Microflora in teeth
associated with apical periodontitis: a methodological observational study
comparing two protocols and three microscopy techniques. International
Endodontic Journal 2009 October; Vol. 42(10): 908-21
J.F. Siqueira, et. al., Bacteria in the apical root canal of teeth with primary apical
periodontitis. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology and
Endodontology May 2009; Vol. 107 (5): 721-726
Persson S., Edlund MB., Claesson, R., Carlsson J., The Formation of hydrogen sulfide
and methyl mercaptan by oral bacteria. Oral Microbiology and Immunology 1990
August; Vol. 5 (4): 195-201
Lechner, J., Mehrdimensionale Systemdiagnose des wurzelgefüllten Zahnes.
ZWR-Das Deutsche Zahnärzteblatt 2012; Vol. 121(12): 640-644
Nagaoka S., Miyazaki Y., Liu Hj., Iwamoto Y., Kitano M., Bacterial invasion into dentinal
tubules of human vital and non-vital teeth. Journal of Endodontics 1995 February;
Vol. 21 (2): 70-73
K.M. Lee et. al., Genetic polymorphisms of TGF-beta1 & TNF-beta and breast
cancer risk. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2005 March; Vol. 90 (2):149-55
Rau, T., Der Magen-Meridian und der Funktionskreis Magen – Milz – Pankreas.
SANUM-Post 2011; Vol. 94: 19-24
R. S. Brown, et. al., The anesthetic localization procedure is an aid in ruling out or
confirming suspected primary sources of oral or dental pain. JADA May 1995;
Vol. 126
Brisman DL., Brisman AS., Moses MS., Implant failure associated with asymptomatic
endodontically treated teeth. The Journal of American Dental Association
2001 February; Vol. 132 (2): 191-195
Coolidge E: A discussion of clinical results … Dent Cosmos 69:1280 (1927).
Tansy, M.F.: Acute and subchronic toxicity studies of rats exposed to vapors of
methyl mercaptan and other reduced-sulfur compounds. J Toxicol Environ Health 8:
71-88 (1981)
Piannotti, R. et al.: Desulfuration of cysteine and methionine by fusobacterium
nucleatum. J Dent Res 65: 913-917 (1986)
Hannah, R.S. et al.: Hydrogen sulfide exposure alters the amino acid content in
developing rat CNS. Neurosci Lett 99: 323-327 (1989)
Weiger R et al.: Periapical status, quality of root canal fillings and and estimated
endodontic treatment needs in an urban German population. Endodont Dent
Traumatol 13:69 (1997).
Murray CA, Saunders WP: Root canal treatment and general health: a review of the
literature. Int Endod J. 2000 Jan; 33(1): 1 – 18.
Kirkevang L et al.: Frequency and distribution of endodontycally treated teeth and
apical periodontitis … Int Endodont J 34:198 (2001).
Figdor, D. et al.: Starvation survival, growth and recovery of Enterococcus faecalis in
human serum. Oral Microbiol Immunol 18, 234 (2003).
Nair, P. N. R. : Pathogenesis of apical periodontitis and the causes of endodontic
failures. Critical Reviews in Oral Biology & Medicine; Nov2004, Vol. 15 Issue 6, p348
Ned Tijdschr Tandheelkd: Local and potential systemic consequences of endodontic
root infection. 2005 Nov;112(11):416-9.
Eckerbom, M. Et al.: A 20-year follow-up study of endodontic variables and apical
status in a Swedish population. Int Endod J 40, 940 (2007).
Graf, K.: Immunologisch relevante Belastungen aus zahnärztlichen Werkstoffen und
deren Wirkung. UMG 24, 2/2011, 23 – 26
Pasqualini, D. et al.: Association among oral health, apical periodontitis, CD14
polymorphisms, and coronary heart disease in middle-aged adults. J Endod 2012
Dec; 38(12): 1570 – 7
Van der Sluis, L.: Past and future of endodontics. ENDO (Lond Engl) 6 (2012).
Koch, M.: On implementation of an endodontic program. Swed Dent J Suppl 230,
9 (2013).
Gomes, M. et al.: Can Apical Periodontitis Modify Systemic Levels of Inflammatory
Markers? A Systematic Review and Metaanalysis. J Endod 39, 1205 (2013)
More information about the dangers of root-treated teeth / root cause and the technical limitations can be found here.
Since the risk to the patient’s health when leaving root-treated teeth is certainly greater and more severe than the removal, we see a “reversal of the burden of proof” among advocates of endodontology, and urge them to submit or initiate appropriate studies that will address and prove the alleged intactness of the organism after a root canal treatment.
Picture credits “Root Cause”: Play TV Pty Ltd Toowong