Wisdom Teeth - To extract or not extract? That is the question.

Typically, my health and nutritional philosophies lean more towards the natural or holistic side of things. While I'm not against medical treatment and believe that medical interventions can be necessary, I prefer practicing preventative lifestyle methods and using natural methods of treatments whenever possible. I typically try to put effort into staying informed with health and nutrition related issues so that I can help guide my family in an educated lifestyle.

Well....that is except for today.  When I was told to have my son's wisdom teeth extracted I never even questioned it.  I had mine extracted and practically everyone I knew had them removed too.  It wasn't until today, AFTER I had my son's wisdom teeth extracted, that I became aware of the controversy over routine extractions of wisdom teeth. It was at that moment that I realized my oversight of information.  I'm not going to let myself worry about how this could affect my son now that they are extracted, whats done is done. I know that ultimately, if an unknown mistake was made on my part, Jesus can heal Ethan of any effects caused.  However, now that I have the wisdom, I am evaluating whether or not I will do the same thing with my other children when they are of age.

To extract or not extract.  That is the question.

Here are a few links that I'm storing for myself until I need to revisit this issue with my other children.  I hope they help you get started in your adventure to discovery so that you can find the path that is right for you...to extract or not to extract.  (If you find additional links in your personal research, please add the links in the comments below.  I would love to see.)

WebMC.com Wisdom Teeth Removal Often Unnecessary
same story on Fox News

Your extraction sites may look healed but are they really?
The Natural Recovery Plan - Dental Cavitations - This site explains how some specialist practitioners estimate that up to 90% of routine extractions may result in the formation of cavitations in the jaw bone, and the further back in the mouth the extraction, the more likely they are to occur. Of all sites, lower wisdom tooth extraction sites form cavitations the most frequently. They go on to explain how cavitations are difficult to detect using the usual methods such as examination or x-rays. Visually, the gum has healed and there may be no overt signs of redness or swelling over the extraction site.

VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE!!  LOTS of information.  They discuss how the bacteria and enzymes harbored in cavitations can affect your body.  They also share the opinion that cavitations after extractions are a very common occurrence. -  Natural Dentistry - Cavitations

In my opinion, these articles (and others) give enough weight to the concern of cavitations that I will personally strongly consider what path to take for the rest of my children.  (extracting all of them, none of them or only the ones causing problems)  I'm not saying I won't have it done, but that I have a lot more researching to do to decide.

This next statement is pure speculation on my part as I have not found information to back it up yet.  I question the bacteria's ability to to start in a cavitation and hinder our immune system from fighting other germs and infections or transferring to other parts of our body.   For example, we know that dental infections can cause endocarditis (an infection of the heart valves) and rheumatic heart disease. I also read that it is accepted practice for individuals with joint or hip replacements to be prescribed antibiotics before every dental visit because of the possible transfer of bacteria from the mouth to the joints.  I would be interested to see if information on this exists and if it is in fact a side effect of cavitations.

Dental Cavitation Infections - While this article admits that other professions feel you can't self heal cavitations, their personal feelings are that you can.  Half way down the page they have a list of natural alternatives you can try to heal it.

Enough researching for now.  :)  I have a couple years to find more information and a son who needs some TLC healing care.

UPDATE:  I have a friend in another state who uses a dentist that practices on a more natural side of dentistry.  I contacted her about my son Ethan hoping for advice on the best way to heal his bone and gums since his surgery had already been done.  Surprisingly, the dentist responded with additional information that I thought I should pass along in case it was helpful.
"Thanks for your email and question.  I am glad to answer and help in any way.  

The concern about extractions (commonly in third molars) is that during the surgery, all of the remnants of the periodontal ligament are not removed.  This ligament surrounds each tooth root as the connection to the bone.  Leaving this then allows a wall of soft tissue that can prevent bone from healing in the site.  Over time this can develop into an area of necrosis that may be filled with any level of tissue or even infection. Some anesthetics have also been indicated.  These lesions have been referred to as a NICO lesion.   http://www.drshankland.com/page11402151.aspx  This is a great website that explains it well. 

In my office I routinely use PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) and PRF (Platelet Rich Fibrin) which are products of our own blood.  I process the blood from the patient here and then will place these concentrated products in the surgical site.  It encourages bone growth and improved healing.  It is amazing!

The concern is now, what to do since this surgery has been done on your son?  Nothing at this point.  If he is healthy and had a good outcome with no dry sockets, doesn't smoke, etc, he is probably going to be ok.  In a year or two you can have a cone beam scan performed to check his healing sites.  (Dr. Shankland's site does not have any CT views available for review, but is the current way for us to evaluate for areas of necrosis.)  You must be careful about traditional dentists however, most of them have never heard of this, let alone treat or diagnose it.   

I hope this makes sense and helps.  If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate."

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