In response to Dr. Stephen Barr’s March 25 letter to the editor, “Removing wisdom teeth not always wise,” I wish to offer a response based on facts, current research and more than 20 years of clinical experience.

For Dr. Barr to use the untimely death of a teen in our community shows not only a lack of respect for the grieving family, but grossly misinforms the public about the benefits of third molar removal.

Like Dr. Barr, my office does not have any knowledge of the circumstances surrounding this tragic event, but can vouch for the safety and efficacy of third molar removal in an outpatient setting.

Furthermore, reams of clinical research exist to validate what oral and maxillofacial surgeons have known for years: namely, that the absence of symptoms does not necessarily correlate to the absence of disease.

Independent studies have borne this out, clearly demonstrating the destructive processes that silently occur in the supporting bone and gums around impacted molars.

Rather than subscribe to the biased views of a public health dentist without specialty training, Dr. Barr would do well to study the peer-reviewed, prospective, randomized trial studies that exist in clear support of wisdom tooth removal.

I cannot control if Dr. Barr wishes to opine outside of his specialty and question the necessity of surgery in another field.

In the meantime, I encourage patients and their families sit down with their board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and engage in a factual, logical and honest discussion about wisdom tooth removal.

Mark D. Zajkowski, D.D.S., M.D., FACS

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates

Cape Elizabeth