2009-2010 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) president Dr. Ira Cheifetz has said some disappointing and upsetting words in his recent inauguration speech on October 15, 2009 in Toronto, Canada. We have known empirically for many years that untreated third molars are likely to cause problems. Now we have the evidence-based data to back us up. The Third Molar Clinical Trials, undertaken jointly by the AAOMS and the OMS Foundation, has shown a correlation between third molars, their associated biofilm, and systemic disease. Despite the reams of evidence reported by this ongoing study, the American Public Health Association recently released a policy statement that notes, “. . . the removal of ‘asymptomatic’ third molars is unnecessary and is a drain on the resources of the health care system”. How do we respond to this challenge? Recognizing the effect … Read more
An article recently posted by Popular Science http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-08/do-animals-have-wisdom-teeth suggests that animals have room for wisdom teeth. An evolutionary biologist named Leslea Hlusko of the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that the shape of your jaw is partially determined by what you eat when you are growing up. Since unlike animals, humans cook all the meat they eat usually and do not just tear it off raw, jaws have become smaller in size. The article also suggests that if you eat a lot of raw carrots and other tubers as a child this may help to make the jaw larger when you get older and thus better accomedate your wisdom teeth so the wisdom teeth do not have to be removed.
I found an interesting article today on how the “Culture of research led to changes in extraction of wisdom teeth.” The article addressed wisdom teeth removal surgery in the United Kingdom (UK) and how this has changed over time. An interesting tidbit is there were 130,000 surgical extraction procedures conducted in England and Wales in 1995. By 2002, this number had fallen to less than 60,000. The reason was because of research and learning from evidence. There is no benefit to extracting healthy impacted wisdom teeth since the procedure caries the risk of damage to facial nerves. It is unfortunate that a similar policy has not been implemented in the United States. On a lighter note, another website discusses deranged dentist names. It is not exactly clear were some of the readers are from, however, some of them are amusing. … Read more
The following is a video provided by PBHS Inc,. which is the same company featured in the previous post. While they may engage in practices that promote oral surgeons to all use nearly the exact same content about dentistry, oral surgery, wisdom teeth, and other procedures on their websites, they also do provide decent content. This video talks about the process of getting your wisdom teeth out. Of course they fail to mention that your oral surgeon or one you are considering does not have to mention legally all of the possible complications that could arise from the surgery. Only the more prevalent complications and life-threatening ones are essential and must be mentioned before any procedure such as wisdom teeth removal.
I recently came across a press release promoting a book entitled “The Parent’s Guide to Wisdom Teeth.” If you are a parent and thinking about the surgery for a child, I would NOT recommend purchasing this book. The main conclusion offered by this book is found on the book’s website… “It is far better to assume a lower degree of surgical risk, paying the cost “up front” (which is likely to be less in terms of money and time) at an earlier age than to gamble on a more risky, difficult and uncomfortable experience later in life when problems arise” I would say that it is better to wait until problem’s arise before removing wisdom teeth due to the risks and potential lasting complications of wisdom teeth removal surgery. If a complication arises wouldn’t it be better to only deal … Read more