C6 Wednesday, April 22, 2009 Record-Courier www.recordpub.com
Health & Fitness KASHA LEGEZA-BURTON, HEALTH EDITOR • PHONE: (330) 673-3491 ext. 1448 • FAX: (330) 673-0722 • EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
To pull or not to pull ... Bit of
about falling with
free local classes
Have you turned down a
chance to go out with fam-
ily or friends because you
were concerned about fall-
ing? Have you cut down on a
favorite activity because you
If so, “A Matter of Balance:
Managing Concerns About
Falls” is a program for you.
Three summer sessions of
the free program are currently
accepting registration in
Ravenna and Streetsboro.
Fear of falling can be just
as dangerous as falling itself.
People who develop this fear
often limit their activities,
which can result in severe
physical weakness — making
the risk of falling even greater.
Many older adults also ex-
perience increased isolation
and depression when they
limit their interactions with
family and friends.
Extraction of wisdom teeth subject of debate “A Matter of Balance” can
help people improve their
quality of life and remain in-
By Mary Powers as cysts and tumors that can develop around just as they brush and floss their 28 other teeth. dependent.
Scripps Howard News Service impacted wisdom teeth, which are teeth that re- But Dr. Greg Kemp, a Memphis dentist, said “A Matter of Balance” is
Evolutionarily their days may be numbered, main buried underneath the patient’s gums. that doesn’t always happen. designed to reduce the fear
but the current debate about if and when wis- Weeda is a UT Health Science Center pro- “It is a difficult place to floss,” he said. “Food of falling and increase activity
dom teeth should be removed suggests they fessor and chairman of the department of oral gets packed between the molars and the wisdom levels among older adults.
won’t go quietly. and maxillofacial surgery. He oversees a clinic tooth. It can erode the root of the 12-year molar Participants learn to set re-
This year, it is estimated that more than 4 where in a busy week 40 to 50 wisdom teeth are (next to the wisdom tooth) or cause decay.” alistic goals to increase activ-
million Americans, mostly teenagers, will have removed. The two camps disagree even more dramati- ity, change their environment
their wisdom teeth pulled in a rite of passage Historic debate cally about whether wisdom teeth should be re- to reduce fall risk factors, and
as American as braces or a first pair of contact moved before they cause any problems or even learn simple exercises to in-
This debate isn’t new. It heated up decades
lenses. erupt through the gums. crease strength and balance.
ago when antibiotics arrived in the waning days Friedman compared the practice of removing
Members of the American Public Health As- of World War II and revolutionized treatment of This program is sponsored
sociation (APHA) fear it has become a little too symptom-free wisdom teeth to removing tonsils
infections, including dental infections. Suddenly, in the false hope it will reduce the incidence of by Family & Community Ser-
routine. Late last year, delegates to the group’s teeth that once were routinely pulled to prevent vices Inc., Portage County
national meeting approved a measure calling sore throats and other infections. He called on
an infection from spreading could be saved. insurance companies to require pre-approval Health Department, Robinson
for more research into when and why wisdom It also comes amid evidence that wisdom Memorial Hospital and Area
teeth are pulled and an end to routine removal before wisdom teeth are pulled and evidence of
teeth themselves are on their way out. Re- necessity. Agency on Aging 10B
of what dentists call third molars. searchers argue they just aren’t as vital as they The following upcoming
Backers argue implementation would reduce The problem, Weeda explained, is that there
were eons ago when human ancestors spent is currently no way to predict which wisdom classes of “A Matter of Bal-
unnecessary surgeries, saving billions of dollars their days grinding away on food — think roots ance: Managing Concerns
and saving tens of thousands of patients from teeth are destined to cause problems and are
and bark — that was tough on teeth. When hu- best removed early, before they even start push- About Falls” are now being
surgical injury. mans started mastering fire and eating suddenly ing their way through bone and gum. offered:
They called on federal health officials to con- got easier, the human jaw began to shorten.
vene an independent panel of experts to review Problematic teeth • June 10, 15, 17, 22, 24
Today Dr. Barrett Sexton, a Memphis, Tenn., and 29, July 1 and 6 from 2
available evidence and develop a consensus oral surgeon, estimated 85 percent of patients Even in symptom-free patients, the AAOMS
statement to help guide treatment. The associa- reported that nearly 30 percent of wisdom to 4 p.m. (except June 22,
simply don’t have room in their jaws to accom- when class will be held from
tion bills itself as the world’s oldest and largest modate wisdom teeth. teeth have cavities and about 25 percent have
organization of public-health professionals. inflammation that signals gum disease, which 10 a.m. to noon) at Family
In 1978, federal officials convened a national & Community Service Inc.,
“I believe some wisdom teeth need to be unchecked can lead to tooth and bone loss.
meeting with an eye to developing treatment 705 Oakwood St., No. 101,
taken out. But we are trying to eliminate unnec- Even vigilant patients might simply be post-
guidelines. When the American Association of
essary extractions, which cost at least $4 billion poning the inevitable, the group wrote in its Ravenna.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) response to the health association’s vote.
annually,” said Dr. Jay W. Friedman, a retired • July 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27
formed a task force on issues related to wisdom “A lot of times the problem is wisdom teeth
Los Angeles dentist who now works as a dental teeth nearly 40 years later, the group faced and 29 from 10 a.m. to noon
consultant. don’t come in perfectly straight or they are par- at Streetsboro Senior Center,
some of the same questions, including which tially erupted,” Kemp said.
Friedman has been writing and lecturing 9184 S.R. 43, Streetsboro.
teeth can safely remain in a person’s mouth and The risk of complications is higher for older
on issues surrounding wisdom teeth since the • July 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28
1970s. He wrote the APHA policy statement which should be pulled in adolescence to pre- patients, and their recovery is more difficult, he
vent more serious problems later in life. and 30 from 10 a.m. to noon
that called for renewed scrutiny of their re- said. at the Robinson Memorial
moval. When to pull Friedman conceded the procedure might be a
Hospital Community Room,
Friedman contends that about two-thirds of There are areas of agreement regarding when little tougher for adults. But he said that risk is
wisdom teeth should go. The two sides gener- swamped by the number of patients who suffer Ravenna.
wisdom-teeth extractions in the United States
ally agree that wisdom teeth should be pulled surgical injuries. Citing the AAOMS and others, There is no cost for this
today are unnecessary.
Not so fast, say oral surgeons like Dr. Law- if a cyst forms around their roots, if they are he estimated that between 0.33 percent and 1 program. A workbook is pro-
rence Weeda of the University of Tennessee damaging an adjacent tooth or if they are a percent of patients suffer permanent nerve dam- vided and refreshments are
College of Dentistry. persistent source of pain or subject to repeated age that results in permanent numbness of the served.
“I’m not of the opinion that every single wis- gum infections. jaw, lip or tongue. He said that translates into Early registration is recom-
dom tooth has to be removed, but we see every They don’t agree on whether wisdom teeth between 11,000 and 34,000 Americans. mended as space is limited in
day the repercussions of leaving them in place,” contribute to crowding the patient’s other teeth Sexton said surgical complication rates are each of these classes
Weeda said. or the advisability of leaving fully erupted lower among younger patients. Call Claudette Rogers at
His list included gum disease and bone loss, wisdom teeth in place. Friedman argues that Weeda and others argue it is a decision best 330-297-8770 to register or
as well as rarer and more serious problems such patients can brush and floss their wisdom teeth left to patients and parents. for more information.
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