The Prophylactic Extraction of Wisdom Teeth: A Public Health Hazard

The Prophylactic Extraction of Third Molars: A Public Health Hazard

Jay W. Friedman, DDS, MPH
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Ten million third molars (wisdom teeth) are extracted from approximately 5 million people in the United States each year at an annual cost of over $3 billion.

In addition, more than 11 million patient days of “standard discomfort or disability”—pain, swelling, bruising, and malaise—result postoperatively, and more than 11000 people suffer permanent paresthesia—numbness of the lip, tongue, and cheek—as a consequence of nerve injury during the surgery. At least two thirds of these extractions, associated costs, and injuries are unnecessary, constituting a silent epidemic of iatrogenic injury that afflicts tens of thousands of people with lifelong discomfort and disability.

Avoidance of prophylactic extraction of third molars can prevent this public health hazard.


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eah says October 22, 2013

I had it done, like millions of others no doubt. When I was 19 I think. I don’t remember much except how great the demerol high was — I heard everything that went on, but it was like I was floating above it all. Afterward when I read demerol was the controlled substance most often abused by doctors I was not surprised.

Ted says September 8, 2016

Hey BD,
Have you heard of livionex? Here’s a presentation on the science behind new dental gel that is multiple times more effective against plaque, gingivitis, bleeding, also improves remineralization etc. The charts start at around 16:30. They say it is because they attack the bond which holds plaque to teeth, later on he talks about calcium and iron and their relation to inflammation in tissues.
I think this is very interesting, although that toothpaste ain’t cheap (20 bucks)

    P. D. Mangan says September 8, 2016

    Thanks, Ted, I had not heard of that, and it looks like I may have to try it.

    I see its active ingredient is EDTA, which is a cheap, safe, OTC chemical sometimes used as a food preservative. I think you could make it yourself.

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