Monday, July 09, 2012

The trial of the century

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.”


  1. In deposition I would wanted to have asked the Dentist when the toothbrush was invented?

    I think criminal charges should be brought against the inventor and producer and disseminator of the newly marketed toothbrush.

    On another subject, I read somewhere that visiting missionaries with runny noses were being introduced to the chiefs of a village. While being introduced one of the chiefs noticing that one of the missionaries was taking out his handkerchief and blowing his nose and then putting the handkerchief back in his pocket asked him why he was doing that? The missionary asked the Chief, what, doing what? the Chief replied, saving that stuff? Huh? The missionary asked again, what stuff? The chief said that stuff that comes out your nose you put it in your cloth and then put your cloth in your pocket?

    Also, I heard that blind people have a greater sense of smell and touch and hearing. And a deaf person a greater awareness of their surroundings. I wonder if that is why fathers of the extraction crowd are wiser than those who choose not to have their wisdom teeth pulled?

    Just saying!

  2. Is this humor or parody? I can't tell. Good grief!

  3. It's a parody. But it closely parallels a real objection to circumcision. I simply reworded this:

  4. Do you think that the state should leave Islamic female circumcision alone as well or would you make a distinction? Reading the preview article you posted by Rabbi Sacks, I get the impression that he sees no real difference between non-medical elective surgery and vaccinations which have proven medical benefits for children and so makes his case that banning circumcision creates a dangerous precedent for all parents. I think I'm asking more than one thing here but mainly I'd like to understand better how to frame religious liberty with respect to other religions that practice essentially similar non-medical elective surgeries that quite frankly I find to be essentially evil (which is not however, how I would characterize the motivation or purpose behind Hebrew circumcision)

  5. I already addressed that question in another post. I don't think the state should allow female genital circumcision, both on its own terms and because the state shouldn't defer to Islam generally.