Rogue Dentist’s Crusade

An interesting article appears recently over on Yahoo by Liz Goodwin, December 3, 2012, titled “Rouge dentist’s 30-year crusade against wisdom teeth removal extracts results,” located over at

The article discusses 86 year old (retired) dentist and public health advocate Jay Friedman. I have talked about Dr. Friedman before such as on this post

The article on Yahoo states

“Friedman has argued for more than 30 years that removing a young person’s healthy wisdom teeth — called “third molars” by professionals — is an unnecessary and irresponsible practice. …Many dentists and oral surgeons have dismissed him as a traitor and a zealot…”

The article discusses how oral surgeons have been angered by Dr. Friedman and have questioned his qualifications. Some say he is biased against wisdom teeth extractions because his aim is to save the insurance industry money.

The article mentions how recently the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) has adopted a new recommendation on wisdom teeth removal where  young patients’ wisdom teeth can be considered to be retained if they do not show signs of disease.

The article states

“Friedman calls the new AAOMS policy “a big sea change” from the days when retaining healthy wisdom teeth was not even an option, and happily takes credit for it. But he’s not satisfied. Though he agrees that any wisdom teeth that are causing problems should be removed, he thinks oral surgeons are overhyping the risks of retaining teeth that don’t show any symptoms.”

For more information consider seeing the post Advocacy White Paper on Third Molar Surgery by AAOMS where the new recommendation by AAOMS is addressed.

In the Yahoo article one other comment is made that is always provocative.

“One surgeon said he recently had to remove an infected wisdom tooth in a 93-year-old man, who should have had it out when he was a teenager, when the surgery would have entailed a quick recovery.”

Of course one should be grateful that he made it to 93. Further, how can we be sure that if he had the wisdom tooth extracted when he was a teenager that this surgery would have been uneventful.

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