Health Consequences of Routine Medical Procedures

The New York Times recently ran an exposé on the lack of quality control systems that have lead to a surprisingly high number of radiation overdoses, in some cases leading to death. This reminded me of what they used to do in the 1950s to 60s, where they used x-rays to treat everything from pimples to large tonsils to ringworm. Many women's ovaries were irradiated for depression. What they did in the past may seem barbaric by today's standards, but I'm confident that many of the things we do today may seem barbaric to future generations.


There are two procedures that are still being routinely performed that have negative consequences years, if not decades later, and these are rhinoplasty, and dental extractions for orthodontic work. I see at least 4-5 patients a week that come to see me for routine problems, only to find that their "routine" procedure 10 to 25 years ago probably aggravated their current condition.


During routine rhinoplasty, especially when you're trying to narrow a wide tip, surgeons by definition have to weaken or remove a portion of the support structures (or cartilages) that keep the nostrils open. Current surgical methods take this into consideration to compensate for this fact, but many surgeons are still weakening the lower lateral cartilages without strengthening the remaining structures. This leads to flimsy nostrils that cave in with every inspiration.


As a result of this weakening, patients will have stuffy noses, unrelieved by allergy medications or decongestants. Medicines won't work for structural problems. Sometimes, someone with this condition accidentally tries a Breathe Rite nasal dilator strip, and swears by how wonderful it is.


Dental extractions are still being performed as part of routine orthodontic treatment. If there's too little space for the teeth, then it's logical that removing a few teeth can create enough space for the remaining teeth, right? What's missed entirely is that the jaw's too small. The teeth, especially the molars, act as support structures for the soft tissues of the throat. Once removed, the space behind the tongue collapses, leading to significantly lessened quality of sleep. Even simple orthodontic adjustments can have a major impact on sleep quality, since the space that that the tongue is contained in can change dramatically.


Fortunately, forward-thinking dentists are recognizing the fact that the position of your teeth and size of your jaws have a major impact on your breathing, and your health. Some of these dentists have leapfrogged ahead of the medical profession in terms of understanding the holistic implications of proper facial form and function.


Did you have rhinoplasty years ago, only to have continued nasal congestion, or did you undergo dental extractions before undergoing braces? If so, please describe your experience below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

One thought on “Health Consequences of Routine Medical Procedures

  1. I had three teeth removed in 1997 due to over crowding and then wore braces for a couple of years afterward to straiten the remaining teeth.  My sleep problems seemed to increase more rapidly after that procedure and in 2006 I was finally diagnosed with severe sleep apnea.  It does make sense that if you decrease the oral cavity size you push the tongue back and make SDB worse.  Wish I had known that in advance…