Patient Consultations for Wisdom Teeth Removal

In my last post on the Well Informed Patient I discuss how Dr. Thomas B. Dodson talks about “…a new brand of well-informed patient.” In that post I attempted to make that case that many patients are not being well informed at all when it comes to wisdom teeth extractions and is partially due to the current model of informed consent in the U.S but also failure to provide their patients with current scientific evidence and information. In this post I will look specifically at 2 examples of patients who have in the past few years visited oral surgeons to discuss the possibility of having wisdom teeth removed and/or had wisdom teeth removed. From their writing one can make the case that they may have benefited from being better informed and aware of the fact that no current evidence supports removing healthy impacted wisdom teeth. For example Kelly, had all 4 wisdom teeth removed in September 2010, in the Northern Virginia area of the United States. She writes on “I have permenant lingual nerve damage due to having all 4 wisdom teeth extracted in September 2010 by an Oral Surgeon. After the procedure, I noticed in the following weeks […]

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The Well Informed Patient

In a recent editorial in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial surgery (vol. 69. page 1263, 2011),  titled “Shouldn’t All Clinical Research Be Scientific?”, Dr. Thomas B. Dodson,  talks to his fellow oral surgeon colleagues and says “Not only do we face rapid advances in science and technology, but we have new accountability from economic, legal, and regulatory challenges, as well as a new brand of well-informed patient.” I personally would hope that the well-informed patient are patients who are being informed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons and dentists. However, I do not believe that is really the case here. One question to ask is why patients in the past were not well informed? The other and more pressing question to ask is why are these patients still not being properly informed today? (This also applies to other doctors and physicians as well). One of the reasons for this is due to the legal standard of informed consent in the U.S. as stated in “Toward The ‘Tipping Point’: Decision Aids and Informed Patient Choice” by Annette M. O’Connor et al., appearing in Health Affairs, pages 716-725, May/June 2007. “The [U.S.] states are largely divided between two categories of informed-consent standards: […]

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How does Flouride really Protect Teeth from Cavities?

A recent study that appeared in the journal Langmuir looked into the role of fluoride and their protection on teeth. The researchers who published the journal article found the protective shield fluoride forms on teeth is up to 100 times thinner than what was previously thought. It is well known that fluoride is found in toothpaste, mouthwash, and public drinking water in many areas in the world. The use of fluoride of course is to help prevent tooth decay which causes cavities to form. Researchers found the fluorapatite layer created by fluoride on the hard white substance covering teeth’s surface called enamel is only 6 nanometers thick. This layer is very small and over 10 times thinner than what was indicated in any prior studies. Hence the researchers raise questions about how a layer so thin can protect teeth from decay. Hence it is possible that fluoride may have another unrecognized effect on tooth enamel. It is worthy for researchers to explore how fluoride protects teeth from cavities as there is some controversy surrounding the fluoridation of drinking water. Previously I have discussed how large amounts of fluoride consumed can lead to fluorosis in young children. Source: Frank Müller, Christian […]

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17 Year Old Female Dies After Wisdom Teeth Removal

I was very saddened to recently hear about the death of a young 17 year old girl who was a junior in high school. The woman went into cardiac arrest while having her wisdom teeth removed. She was left in a coma and died 10 days later on April 6, 2011. She was involved in multiple choral programs and was hoping to be a professional singer. What really is upsetting to me about this is at the recent memorial service for her on April 17, 2011, her mother described the doctors calling this very unfortunate and premature death “freak.” One high school senior at the same school discussed how she was still planning to have her wisdom teeth extracted later in the week. The appropriate response should call into question the validity of extracting healthy wisdom teeth from young teenagers who are completely healthy when their removal can lead to very unfortunate complications and tragic events. Numerous other deaths have occurred to young teenagers and young adults while undergoing wisdom teeth surgery. I describe many of these here There is a lot of controversy surrounding the removal of healthy wisdom teeth and it is clear that there is no […]

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Allergic To Your Partner

Recently, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology which is headquartered in Arlington Heights, IL, had their annual scientific meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, in November 11, 2010 to November 16, 2010. They discussed some unfortunate allergies that some people experience. These allergies include kissing someone even hours after they have eaten a food or taken a medicine to which you are allergic to. According to Sami Bahna, M.D. “If you have food allergies, having an allergic reaction immediately after kissing someone who has eaten the food or taken oral medication that you are allergic to isn’t highly unusual. But some patients react after their partner has brushed his or her teeth or several hours after eating. It turns out that their partners’ saliva is excreting the allergen hours after the food or medicine has been absorbed by their body.” It is recommended that the non-allergic partner of someone with a kissing allergy avoids the food 16 to 24 hours before kissing. They should also be sure to brush their teeth before kissing as well. Unfortunately, some people are even allergic to their partner’s semen which can create problems during sex. In these cases desensitization and/or condoms are recommended. Source:  […]

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