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 that the left side of my tongue, bottom lip, and chin were still completely numb. I went back to the surgeon, and was told this was probably going to go away, and to come back in a month. November 2010, I went back completely upset because everything came back except the feeling in my tongue – absolutely no feeling on the top or bottom of the left side of my tongue. I bite it all the time, causing it to bleed, burn it on hot foods/drinks. I have no taste on that side, and at times I feel like I’m taking ‘funny’. It’s hard when I have to do presentations at work because I’m so worried about slurring my words.

…Not to mention – My dentist that referred me to this guy – told him I only needed ONE wisdom tooth removed at that time. The Oral Surgeon talked me into getting them all removed since I am ’26 years old, and they would need to come out eventually.‘”

Another example is by Lea S. who visited an oral surgeon in California, U.S. She writes on

“I recently moved from NY and got a new dentist, who wanted me to see an oral surgeon about my wisdom teeth (which my old oral surgeon in NY decided should stay in for the moment because the risks of removing them outweighed the potential risks of keeping them). I went in for a consultation with Dr Hoghooghi this morning because my dentist highly recommended him (as did yelp) but was immediately turned off by him.

When he greeted me he did not address me by name, and never used my name throughout the consultation. I felt like I wasn’t a person to him, I was just a patient. He sat down and told me I was going to have all 4 wisdom teeth out. At no point in the consultation did he ask me if I had any questions or concerns and he did not discuss any other options or even tell me why leaving them in for now would be so terrible.”


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