Did you know that your teeth are the gateway to your body? Dr. Sonia Chopra wishes more people knew the positive impact of endodontics on their health. That’s why this was one of her primary TedX topics at her recent Tedx Talk.
Ballantyne Endodontics founder, Dr. Sonia Chopra, DDS, spoke at TEDxFarmingdale on Long Island in New York. Her presentation was titled, “Modern Day Root Canals: Saving Teeth Will Save Healthcare.” She spent over a year preparing for the talk she delivered in October 2021 to a highly engaged audience. It was an exciting, yet scary, opportunity to share her experience and passion for oral health.
As an endodontist, many of her patients see her while experiencing discomfort, and often a root canal can help them feel better and heal up quickly. Root canals have an undeserved bad reputation, even though a successful root canal relieves the patient from pain and restores natural balance. Root canals have come a long way in the last few decades, thanks to advancements in technology that improves outcomes and reduces recovery time.
Dr. Chopra’s TedX Topics Covered Oral and Whole-Body Health
Dr. Chopra aims to educate the general public about endodontics, oral health, and their amazing bodies. When people think of health and fitness, they often overlook the mouth. However, a healthy mouth is part of the foundation for physical, mental, and even social wellbeing.
“Your mouth is the gateway to your body, and your teeth bring in nourishment and hydration,” explained Dr. Chopra. “Losing teeth can affect your airway and lead to sleep apnea. And those pearly whites are what give you the confidence to attract a life partner, so you can live that long and healthy life with someone special. A healthy mouth is the first part of a healthy gut. And it’s how we communicate. It’s all through our mouths.”
Our bodies have an incredible ability to heal and even regenerate. People are often surprised to learn the bone around a tooth may repair itself after a successful root canal treatment where harmful bacteria are removed from the root system. Unnecessary extractions deny the body the opportunity to heal naturally. This is one reason why endodontists, like Dr. Chopra, are so passionate about saving natural teeth.
She recalled an example where a patient had experienced severe bone loss and infection. Dr. Chopra removed the bacteria and thoroughly cleaned the root system. Within one year after the treatment, this patient’s bone density surrounding the tooth was restored.
She pointed out that even the octopus in the popular Netflix documentary, My Octopus Teacher, took 100 days to regenerate an arm after a shark attack. The octopus is considered remarkable, but humans are no less amazing when it comes to our resilience and ability to heal. Growing bone is one of our superpowers!
The Cost of Ignoring Dental Health
Our superpower is only possible when we give our body the right treatment and environment to heal. Sadly, that isn’t always possible.
Did you know that every single tooth has a slightly different anatomy that varies from tooth to tooth, and person to person? Due to the complexities of everyone’s canals and internal tooth structure, dentists sometimes misdiagnose the cause of discomfort patients experience. Because of an array of nerves, different parts of your mouth are interconnected. As a result, referred pain (or pain that you experience in one part of your mouth, but is actually coming from somewhere else) can occur.
When a diagnosis occurs, here’s the worst-case scenario: You may invest in ineffective treatment or lose a tooth unnecessarily through extraction. You could also have to use some vacation days, sick days, or lose income. Then when the pain returns, you get referred to a specialist to reinvest in the same treatment (which hopefully does the trick this time!) and take even more time off work.
This frustrating cycle is familiar to many endodontists since patients often seek a root canal as a “last resort” when other treatments are unsuccessful. Through education and respect for the body, this cycle can be broken. While seeing an experienced specialist may seem expensive at first glance, not seeing one is even more costly for many people. A doctor like Dr. Chopra can help you receive the right treatment your body needs.
Once people fully understand their mouth and teeth, they may want to learn more. For example, many people learn first aid to be prepared for accidents and emergencies. Dental first aid is also crucial as decisive action can mean the difference between keeping a tooth and losing it. (And if you listen to Dr. Chopra’s speech, one of her Tedx topics is what to do when you knock out a tooth!)
An Example of Dental First Aid in Action
Did you know that 24% of all ER trauma cases involve dental injuries, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)? Yet, not a lot of people know what to do if they see someone lose a front tooth as the result of a traumatic accident. Parents learn infant CPR, and they know to put pressure on bleeding, and other first-aid basics. But they rarely learn what to do if their child falls and damages a tooth.
Let’s play a quick game. ANSWER THIS QUIZ!
What would you do if you saw a child have an accident and lose a front tooth while playing?
A: Quickly grab the tooth, then put it in a Ziplock bag?
B: Rinse the tooth in water, then go to the dentist or emergency room?
C: Put the tooth back in its place and head over to your dentist?
THE ANSWER: C is the best choice of the three. People make these decisions in a flash during a crisis, and believe it or not, reinserting the tooth is going to lead to the best outcome.
THE BEST OPTION: Gently hold the tooth by the crown (not touching the root) and gently ease it back into place, then immediately see your dentist. Keep your dental practice’s after-hours number on your phone, as well as any emergency dental clinics.
If the tooth is dirty, please don’t wash or rinse in water. If you really want to clean it off, you could rinse it in a bit of milk. Pour the milk in a very slow, gentle stream. “Then put that tooth right back in the socket and when you can reimplant that tooth in under 30 minutes,” Dr. Chopra advised in her TEDx Talk. “It’s almost like that tooth never left the body.”
About Dr. Sonia Chopra, DDS
As an experienced endodontist, Dr. Chopra understands the health benefits of saving natural teeth. However, she also knows firsthand the discomfort associated with failed dental treatments and extractions. Her passion for oral health and endodontics goes beyond her professional expertise.
“I was literally born to be a dentist,” said Dr. Chopra. She shared her journey from pain to wellness in more detail as one of her TEDx topics.
She was born with eight missing teeth, which led to oral health issues. Any dental procedure, you name it, she’s had it. But when she was 17 years old, a new issue cropped up, and she was in agony. Dentists struggled to diagnose the cause, and she even heard one suggest to her mother that the pain was “in her head.” As you can imagine, this was extremely invalidating to this young teenager.
After failed treatments, and after an oral surgeon extracted the wrong tooth–now leaving her with nine missing teeth–she eventually received care from an endodontist. The endodontist identified the root problem and provided effective treatment. “This doctor, he saved me, he ended my pain, and he told me it was okay to trust my body again. This experience is what led me to my career because I myself became an endodontist.”
Dr. Chopra has so much compassion for what patients go through when their dentist is unable to properly diagnose them. Back when she was a teenager, her parents spent over $10,000 between treatments, the extraction, and root canals–not to mention lots of frustration, worrying, invalidation, and suffering.
Fortunately, modern-day endodontics is extremely advanced, and endodontists are able to diagnose accurately and provide gentle treatment to help get you back to full oral health.
Become Empowered In Your Own Dental Health
If you want to become more informed about your own care, please explore Dr. Chopra’s ebook, written specifically for patients. Tooth Wisdom: The Empowered Patient’s Guide to Saving Your Smile will teach you what your teeth are really telling you about your health, how to make decisions about second opinions and treatment options, and how to keep your dental costs down. Get your copy today by clicking here.
The entire team at Ballantyne Endodontics shares Dr. Chopra’s passion for saving teeth and restoring wellness. They also share her respect for the body’s ability to heal with a little help from a skilled doctor. They feel privileged that Charlotte-area residents turn to them when they need endodontic care.
We invite you to reach out for your second opinion or endodontic treatment today.