wisdom

Teens keep dying while getting wisdom teeth removed by overzealous oral surgeons

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: wisdom teeth, oral surgery, death risk

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(NaturalNews) It is a common procedure that roughly five million Americans undergo every single year, according to ABC News, but people need to understand the serious risks involved. Two teenagers recently died due to complications involved with having their wisdom teeth surgically extracted. Jenny Olenick, a 17-year-old girl from Maryland died while her surgery was taking place, and 14-year-old Ben Ellis from Georgia died just one day after his surgery.

In Olenick's case, her parents claim Dr. Domenick Coletti, the oral surgeon, and Dr. Krista Michelle Isaacs, the anesthesiologist, failed to properly monitor the girl after giving her anesthesia. Her heart rate and blood oxygen levels both quickly dropped to fatally low levels, according to reports, which led to her sudden death.

In Ellis' case, the boy was simply found dead the day after his surgery. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is reportedly still looking into his situation to determine the precise cause of death, but WSBTV 2 in Atlanta says Ellis appeared fine all throughout the day following his procedure. But after he took one penicillin tablet and one oxycodone tablet that evening, as instructed, his parents found him dead the following day (http://www.wsbtv.com/news/lifestyles/health/...).

Though a routine surgery for many Americans, wisdom tooth extraction carries with it very serious risks which, as illustrated in both of the aforementioned cases, include sudden death. More common risks include permanent nerve damage that can affect the tongue, lips, and cheeks. In fact, more than 11,000 people every year sustain such permanent nerve damage following wisdom tooth extraction, according to a 2007 report published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH).

"Third-molar surgery is a multibillion-dollar industry that generates significant income for the dental profession," said Jay Friedman, a California-based dental consultant, in the AJPH report concerning the $3 billion a year the dental industry generates from wisdom tooth extraction surgeries. "It is driven by misinformation and myths that have been exposed before but that continue to be promulgated by the profession."

One such myth, of course, is that wisdom tooth extraction is necessary to "prevent future problems and to ensure optimal healing," a claim that is still made by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Friedman says that more than two-thirds of all wisdom tooth extractions are medically unnecessary, and that most patients would be perfectly fine if they just left their wisdom teeth alone.

Sources for this article include:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/wisdom...

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