Wisdom tooth surgery, also known as third molar surgery is a multi-billion dollar industry that generates a large amount of income for the dental profession. Each year American dentists and oral surgeons reportedly pull 10 million wisdom teeth or third molars. Some researchers believe that about two thirds of these surgeries and their related costs are unnecessary.
Unfortunately, a large number of these surgeries have resulted in physician induced injuries and even death. Dentists, just like doctors, have an obligation to provide safe and prudent care in all of their treatment decisions. When they don't, dental malpractice may be the result.
In Maryland, Jenny Olenick, a 17 year old girl who was having third molar surgery died from complications which occurred during the procedure. Her death was attributed to Hypoxia. Hypoxia is described as a lack of oxygen to the body, in this case the brain. Jenny's blood oxygen level dropped during her surgery, and her oral surgeon, and anesthesiologist did not react in time to save her.
Sadly, this is an extreme example of a physician induced injury that can take place during and after wisdom tooth or third molar surgery. There are other more common injuries that have been attributed to wisdom tooth surgery. They include permanent nerve damage, and jaw and tooth fractures.
Wisdom teeth are also known as third molars that generally show up in young adults between the ages of 17 and 25. They are believed to have evolved for killing and eating uncooked prey, for that reason we really have no need for them today. Many American dental surgeons still recommend that young adults have their wisdom teeth removed, but there is little science to support the vast amount of third molar surgeries that take place.
American dentists and oral surgeons suggest that young adults have their wisdom teeth removed to remove the risk of infection, cysts, and damage to adjacent teeth caused by impacted wisdom teeth that create too many teeth in too little space.
However, some studies suggest that only about 12% of impacted wisdom teeth lead to infection or damage to adjacent teeth. Thus, in many cases, the risks of complications from the surgical extraction may outweigh the risk of leaving wisdom teeth in.
The American Public Health Association and the National Institutes of Health recommend removing impacted wisdom teeth only when there is a demonstrable need. They do not recommend removing asymptomatic impacted third molars or wisdom teeth.
If you feel that you have been injured by the negligence of a dentist, oral surgeon, or other health care professional, a medical or dental malpractice lawyer at Angel Law, P.C. may be able to help you recover your financial losses and help you achieve restitution. Please contact Angel Law, P.C. for more information.