International Herald Tribune
In the International Criminal Court today, key witness for the prosecution Olaf Olafsen took the stand. The 6’ 5” MMA fighter often broke down during testimony has he recounted the harrowing experience of having his wisdom teeth extracted without his consent as a teenager. Jurors openly wept at the emotional testimony. The judges wept. Even hardened court reporters wept.
“I felt violated,” he sobbed. “I will never be whole again. They took something precious from me.”
He still has recurring nightmares about the ordeal. “My extracted wisdom teeth visit me in dreams, reproaching me. ‘How could you do this to us?’ they say.”
Defendant Jorge Jorgensen, the Swedish dentist accused of crimes against dental integrity, buried his face in his hands during the gut-wrenching testimony.
Dr. Blutenherz, a board-certified psychiatrist and expert witness on cases of posttraumatic wisdom tooth extraction, testified to the delayed psychological impact of the procedure:
“Persons who have lost pearly whites must grieve their loss. The first stage of grief is denial of the loss. Loss of wisdom teeth is bound to have profound psychological effects, not only on the person directly affected but also on family, friends, workmates, and caregivers. The thought of permanent loss of wisdom teeth is so painful that persons deny their loss in order to avoid facing the painful feelings. Denial of loss causes a flight from reality. Persons in denial may minimize their loss. Tooth extraction causes the loss of a body part and all of its functions, so denial of loss is not uncommon in extracted males. Extracted males may experience the full range of distress and emotional dysfunction resulting from loss. This frequently results in extracted fathers adamantly insisting that a son be extracted.
“Fathers are frequently unable to vocalize their feelings. They will say that ‘I want my son to have good teeth.’ In fact, what the father really may be feeling is, ‘I don’t want a son with intact wisdom teeth to remind me of what I have lost.’
“Some extracted male dentists misuse the orthodontic literature to support, rationalize, and justify their own loss; and to defend the practice of tooth extraction. Dentists who have been extracted themselves may be unable to stop extracting others. Dentists who are older, male, and extracted are more likely to condone tooth extraction. Members of dental societies may have emotional issues that may preclude the objective formulation of policy concerning wisdom tooth extraction.
“Wisdom tooth extraction contributes to later aggressive, violent, and/or suicidal behaviour. Studies identified a compulsion in traumatized persons to repeat the trauma. The performance of wisdom tooth extraction by an extracted male dentist may be a reenactment of his own extraction trauma.”