Is Extraction a Menace or a Benefit

Is Extraction a Menace or a Benefit?


                Dr. F.H. Gaunson, L.D.S., B.D.Sc., contributes a short article to The Australian Journal of Dentistry, in the course of which he asserts that while Nature certainly adapts her anatomical plans she does not do so merely to please a certain type of dental thought which insists that man maintains the same number of teeth in these days of civilization as when he had his feet in the food trough. It is doubtful if man is really desirous of a full restoration of masticatory function. And it is also doubtful whether the remaining portion of the alimentary canal could readapt itself to former masticatory habits without serious trouble. In former times fatigue of the jaws was a safeguard of the stomach, but today the artificial preparation of food is carried to such lengths that the digestive organs are in danger of breaking down in their attempt to meet the over-taxing of their function. Dr. Gaunson fears that the profession is wasting its efforts in an attempt to pursue an impossible ideal with regard to the retention of the full complement of teeth. There are many cases in which the full complement of teeth is not best for the individual. Results which can be obtained under ideal experimental conditions cannot be expected generally. In a large number of children it is obvious that the first permanent molars will not last the requisite time. They have generally to be removed in the early twenties, with disastrous results to the denture. If the extraction of the first permanent molars be done just before the eruption of the second molars, the result is much better. It has also been noted that some teeth are crowded out of the dental arches, menacing the remaining teeth. Many dentists defer extraction in these cases unduly, thinking that orthodontic treatment may be attempted, so the state of affairs grows from bad to worse. In many cases judicious extraction is not a sign of incompetency but of intelligent practice.


—The Dental Magazine.