Tooth extractions / pulling teeth: potential health risks and dangers
Cavitations, fatal dental infections, permanent nerve injury, bone fractures and more
Apart from the generally arguable usefulness of pulling teeth, here are a number of complications that can arise subsequent to dental extractions, incl. death (listing not necessarily complete).
Special note: The following information based on real-life cases is not published here to create fear but to help erode the unconscionable carelessness with which major irreversible intervention into the body's integrity as practised by conventional dentistry is generally taken for granted (and in this sense, this page continues on from How drilling and filling can damage teeth).
Potential complications from dental tooth extractions
1 A cavitation infection can - and very commonly does - form around the tooth extraction site with possibly far-reaching detrimental effects on health and wellbeing1. According to dentists Drs Munro-Hall, most extractions in adults lead to cavitation infections to some degree, with certain authors estimating that 90% of adult extractions become cavitation infections.
2. Acute infections can arise which require hospitalization with sometimes fatal outcome.*
3. The lingual or inferior alveolar nerve can be severed leading to permanent injury.
4. A sinus can be perforated.
5. The mandible (lower jaw) can be fractured.
6. The temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) can be injured.
7. The "wrong" tooth may be extracted.
8. Once a tooth has been removed, its surrounding bone disappears.
Incredible as it may sound, all of the above damages may remain unnoticed by the dentist.
9. Wisdom tooth extractions: in addition to the foregoing, according to a 2007 report (published in the American Journal of Public Health), "routine" wisdom tooth surgery is known for a number of potential "complications" including tooth and jaw fractures, brain tissue infection, life-threatening bleeding and hypoxia, with the foremost risk (concerning more than 11,000 people annually) consisting in permanent nerve damage with numbness of lips, tongue or cheeks.3
10. "Anecdotal deaths": one recently recorded death after undergoing "routine" dental surgery to remove wisdom teeth involves a 24 year old US-American who died on March 24, 2013 (see www.dentistrytoday.info/content/25-year-old-dies-due-complications-during-third-molar-surgery - he was 24, not 25 as the article says). Apparently he was administered six sedatives or more and possibly died due to "way too much anesthesia".
Other recent cases include 17-year-old Jenny Olenick who died in April 2011 during wisdom tooth surgery, and 14-year-old Ben Ellis of Gilmer County, Ga., who died the day after undergoing the same operation.
These deaths of teenagers or people in their twenties following dental extractions - at a time where most people's health and resilience is at its best - seem to make it particularly clear what kind of a strain such surgery is for the entire body.
* It's also possible that there already was an infection at the former wisdom tooth site. This can be the case eg with an impacted wisdom tooth (which became impacted in the bone due to lack of proper development of the jaw bone not allowing room for the wisdom teeth to erupt). Such impacted wisdom teeth may have a reduced blood supply so the inner nerve (pulp) will die with infection setting in. Extracting such a tooth can allow the infection to drain - the body's way of cleansing itself which can be supported for instance with various disinfecting and detoxifying rinses. Once the process is complete, discomfort should be gone. To help extraction sites heal, also see below at "Tooth extraction after-treatments"
Potential complications from orthodontic tooth extractions
To make room in an "overcrowded" mouth, frequently several (typically two to four) permanent teeth are extracted prior to orthodontic treatment. In addition to the risks noted above, removal of teeth can result in
- unbalancing the facial profile because the upper and lower jaw including the palate and tongue recede
- obstruction of airways with subsequent breathing difficulties, exhaustion and fatigue
- jaw pain
- headaches and migraines
- ringing in the ears
- postural problems (pain in the neck, shoulders and back)
In their book "Toxic Dentistry Exposed", holistic dentists Drs. Munro-Hall go into some more detail:
"Orthodontic treatment that extracts teeth can lead to what dentists call collapsed arches. This means that although the teeth may be straight to look at, the fit of the upper teeth against the lower teeth is not in harmony with the shape of the jaw joints and position of the muscles controlling the jaw. The following things can happen.
- Jaw joint trouble (TMD) later on in life.
- Appearance is altered - instead of a wide, pleasing arch form of the mouth, the arches are narrow producing a 'rosebud-shaped' mouth with a weak chin that emphasises the size of the nose.
- Impacted wisdom teeth - lack of development of the jaw bones does not allow room for the wisdom teeth to erupt and they become impacted in the bone. This is why we have far more wisdom teeth being removed now than ever before." (end of quote)2
To extract or not extract a "rotten" tooth? That is the question...
Not for most all dentists, of course, even those considered holistic may typically advocate the extraction of teeth with far advanced tooth decay. Personally, rightly or wrongly, when it comes to teeth as in other areas, I don't believe in physical violence including that inflicted for therapeutic purposes. For more arguments compare What happens if cavities are left untreated? On the "dangers" of tooth decay and dental infections not treated by a dentist. When all is said and done, this is a personal decision, weighing the risks of constant bacterial dissemination (which of course can and frequently does occur from other parts of the body as well, particularly the intestines) against the multiple risks involved in extractions as explained above.
If an extraction is considered necessary...
Drs. Munro-Hall give helpful instructions how to extract a tooth without having a cavitation infection form afterwards in their book "Toxic Dentistry Exposed".
Are there best and worst times for having any type of operation?
See On the moon's transit through the zodiac signs and the best times for surgery and taking medications - pure superstition or force to be reckoned with?.
Tooth extraction after-treatments to help speed up wound healing and reduce pain
In addition to the general recommendations regarding post-extraction-surgery oral hygiene, diet and supplementation, also see the tips for tooth extractions found at Maria Treben's herbal treatment advice for teeth and gums, Urine therapy for the healing of teeth and gum problems, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane): dental applications and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Additionally, the page Abscess home remedies for instance lists numerous natural non-toxic ways to disinfect the mouth and teeth.
2 Other potential risks of orthodontic treatment include tooth decay and tooth loss from wearing dental braces or retainers.
3 According to Jay Friedman writing in the American Journal of Public Health, "[Wisdom tooth] surgery is a multibillion-dollar industry that generates significant income for the dental profession... driven by misinformation and myths that have been exposed before but that continue to be promulgated by the profession. ... At least two thirds of these extractions ... are unnecessary, constituting a silent epidemic of injury that afflicts tens of thousands of people with lifelong discomfort and disability".