An Index to Assess Surgical Difficulty of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

An interesting article titled “Development of a New Index to Assess the Difficulty Level of Surgical Removal of Impacted Mandibular Third Molars in an Asian Population,” written by Zhang et al. appears in the 2019 edition of the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. The article discusses development of an index to determine the surgical difficulty of impacted lower wisdom teeth. The authors discuss how historically the Pell and Gregory classification and the Winter classification provide a simple judgment on the difficulty level of tooth extraction. They also discuss the Pederson scoring system which assesses the difficulty of extracting impacted wisdom teeth using three factors using the position of the wisdom tooth, the relative depth, and the relation with the ramus. The Pederson scoring system calculates a score from 3 to 10 based on these three factors and then assigns … Read more

Wisdom Teeth and Mandibular Angle and Condyle Fractures

An interesting article titled “The relationship between the lower third molar (M3) and mandibular angle/condyle fractures – a systematic review” written by Akadiri et al. appears in Oral Surgery in 2017 (vol. 10, pp. e7-e16). The article seeks to determine mandibular angle/condyle fractures risk when an impacted wisdom tooth is present or not. In some studies the the presence of impacted wisdom teeth has been associated with increased risk of mandibular angle fractures which those who suggest prophylactic removal of wisdom teeth like to use as a valid reason. However in other studies there has been show an increased risk for mandibular condyle fracture after removing a wisdom tooth. The authors performed a systematic literature review and explored articles from 1970 to 2015. Articles included in the review meet a set of author defined criteria including using Kelly and Harrigan’s … Read more

The Defensive Patients Guide to Wisdom Teeth Removal

Medical doctors are often accused of practicing what is known as defensive medicine. With defensive medicine, a doctor will deviate from the normal practice of medicine in order to perform a medical treatment or run a diagnostic test in order to reduce potential exposure to a malpractice lawsuit. This leads to treatments and tests that are not clinically necessary and is often said to be a cause of overtesting and overtreatment. Defensive medicine is discussed as serving to protect the physician from a lawsuit by the patient. What is not discussed is the idea that a patient can also practice defensive medicine to protect the patient from losing a legitimate lawsuit against the physician. Applying this concept to wisdom teeth surgery, the following is suggested for a patient to help protect themselves from losing a legitimate lawsuit against a physician, … Read more

Risks of Keeping Wisdom Teeth: Infected Wisdom Tooth Removal Leads to Sepsis

Recently a case of a 25 year old woman from England who developed an infected wisdom tooth has been reported. The woman had the infected wisdom tooth removed in December 2018 after repeated infections had developed. Unfortunately the surgery was eventful and the woman developed complications. Two days after the extraction the woman was not able to hold down any food nor any water. She was urged to go to a hospital by a doctor and spent four days at a hospital. While at the hospital she went into septic shock and was diagnosed with sepsis. She was given intravenous antibiotics and liquids. It was believed that when the wisdom tooth was removed the infection that was present went into her bloodstream. When she was released from the hospital the woman was given six different medications to take. Roughly six … Read more

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Utilizing New Methods To Reach Patients for Wisdom Teeth Management

According to the March/April 2019 and May/June 2019 editions of AAOMS Today, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) is utilizing new methods to reach patients for wisdom teeth management. AAOMS is utilizing methods taking advantage of public service announcements (PSA) at airports, on radio, and on television (TV). AAOMS is also utilizing new infographics on websites and social media. According to page 22 in the March/April 2019 issue of AAOMS Today, in mid 2018 AAOMS launched airport PSAs with signage saying “Pain or no pain, your wisdom teeth should be checked every year.” In addition a picture of either a young woman or young man is featured along with the AAOMS logo, the tagline of AAOMS stating “Oral and maxillofacial surgeons: The experts in face, mouth and jaw surgery”, and also telling patients to find a surgeon … Read more