Wisdom Teeth Advice and New Dental Schools

A new article in the New York Times titled “Wisdom of Having that Tooth Removed” written by Roni Caryn Rabin published September 5, 2011, is an interesting articles for those considering whether or not to have healthy wisdom teeth extracted. The article is located at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/health/06consumer.html

The article explores some of the issues regarding whether or not you should or not have have healthy wisdom teeth extracted.

The article discusses how the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) held a press conference back in October of 2010, http://www.aaoms.org/docs/media/third_molars/key_findings.pdf (dead 10/14/19), in which one of the key findings was

“Retained, asymptomatic wisdom teeth are eventually extracted between 25% and almost 70% of the time.”

The author of the New York Times article questioned AAOMS on this statement which appeared on their website. The response from AAOMS was

“Yet when asked, the association was not able to produce the evidence for these figures.”

The author concludes

“As for my daughter Emma, we have opted for watchful waiting. She went off to college last month, wisdom teeth and all.”

An interesting article by the American Dental Association (ADA) titled “Special Report: An in-depth look at new dental schools” by Karen Fox published September 5, 2011, located at http://www.ada.org/news/6173.aspx (dead 10/14/19) explores new dental schools which are now opening in the U.S. This is partly driven due to new academic health centers which believe dental school is essential to their mission.

The ADA is concerned about the opening of these new dental schools as additional dentists can potentially bring down the overall average salaries of dentists.

The ADA is concerned with the extremely high costs of dental education as those who graduate from dental school from public schools paid an average of $124,397 for their education while those in private schools paid $223,788. These high costs can affect how a dentist practices. The ADA is also concerned with the research that may not be conducted by these new dental schools. The ADA is further concerned that many of these new dentists will work in more affluent areas and not serve those most in need of dental care in undeserved areas. The ADA maintains that it can not control the supply and demand of dentists, although I do not entirely agree.

“But it’s up to the governing board of an institution of higher education to decide to open or close a dental school. “The ADA has no role in the creation of new dental schools. A professional organization cannot control supply and demand,” said Dr. Brain T. Kennedy … chair of the ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure.”

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