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Maine Teenager Dies After Wisdom Teeth Surgery

Maine Teenager Dies After Wisdom Teeth Surgery

A high school student from Maine died unexpectedly Saturday, two days after having surgery to remove his wisdom teeth.

"Benjamin LaMontagne's mother found him not breathing on Saturday morning at their home in Long Island. Well, police responded, they tried to revive him, but they couldn't." (ViaWHDH)

LaMontagne's parents believe the surgery to be the cause of death, but autopsy reports were inconclusive. Further tests will be conducted.

Such serious complications from the fairly common procedure are so rare, dental professor Dr. Thomas Dodson says the death rate can't even be measured. (Via WTIC)

But LaMontagne's parents want the focus to be on his life, not his death, according to the Portland Press Herald. His father said, "If anybody could say they had a complete life after 18 short years, it was Benjamin, which makes it all the more painful to have him taken from us so soon."

He is remembered as a promising musician who was friendly to everyone. A reporter for local station WCSH spoke with Ben's best friend:

"He was so loving and welcoming to everyone. I've never seen him anything but gracious. ... People are just flabbergasted. They just can't believe it." (Via WCSH)

LaMontagne's high school held a prayer service on Sunday to remember him. He was also a member of the school's sailing team.

"Students and teachers there say LaMontagne was a wonderful kid and they were devastated when they heard the news.
PATSY FOWLER: "I was sick to my stomach. ... He was such a good kid and so much a part of people's lives." (Via WGME)

LaMontagne was planning to attend Gettysburg College in the fall to study bass clarinet. His family scheduled a funeral for Frida

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donovansdanes February 28 2014 at 12:44 PM

I had to have my wisdom teeth pulled when I was 25 years old. Neither I nor was my dentist aware I was allergic to sodiumpentathal. A few hours after leaving my dentist office I not only broke out in hives, my skin felt as though I was on fire & I was having a difficult time breathing. After going to the emergency room at my local hospital The blood tests showed that I was having a severe allergic reaction to sodiumpentathal. As with so many drugs, no one knows if a medication given/taken will have an adverse affect.

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mmlowe February 28 2014 at 1:24 PM

The old NORMAL is NOT the new NORMAL. We cannot assume the next generation which is
subject to less dirt, cleaner environments, more vaccines (whether you like them or not), more antibiotics, more allergies, genetically modified foods, more processed foods, can tolerate these things better than those past. These are 2 different realities. Lets stop treating invasive procedures especially for kids like it is so pase'

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1 reply
selfenchanted mmlowe February 28 2014 at 1:42 PM

Indeed, illness will always be a part of our lives, no matter how progress grows. That's just the way it is.

That said, my heart breaks for this young man & his loved ones. May he RIP.

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tuningcourse February 28 2014 at 5:48 PM

When my 21 year old son had his one wisdom extracted a few years back, he was given a laundry list of heavy duty medication (during, and post-op). I was amazed - there must have been 5 drugs administered for the procedure itself (fentanyl, propofol, lidocaine, another analgesic and also some type of antihistamine). Are you kidding? When mine was extracted in 1976, it was novocaine, and that was it. Absolutely no need to administer this compilation, as well as the post-ops which can create their own problems. Condolences to this family.

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2 replies
katv6 tuningcourse February 28 2014 at 6:07 PM

I had my impacted wisdom teeth cut out in the late 80's one tooth at a time because I could not afford to do them all at once. I had novacaine and a little laughing gas for 3 of them. The first one I had done by a young dentist in a low rent clinic. I will never make that mistake again, just novacaine and he shot me up over eight times with it. I don't think he was experienced enough to do the surgery. the next three I went to an oral surgeon and did them one at a time. Gas and novacaine and a prescription for Percocet afterwards Didn't use the Percocet because it made me nauseous. SO I had Tylenol and a sore mouth, but no comolications.

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HI BEAUTIFUL tuningcourse February 28 2014 at 6:19 PM

Medications have improved since 1976. Patients are made more comfortable today and if you son had Fentanyl, which is the trade name for Propofol. This is a short acting medication in which for dental and many local procedures allows the patient to maintain their own airway. If too much is given, it becomes a general anesthetic. Most general dentists do not administer these drugs as the patient needs to be monitored and usually this is given by oral surgeons which have had additional training in administering the medication and the office must have equipment which can be used if the patient is unconcious. Most bring in an Anestheologist for these procedures so the airway can be maintained and if necessary, the patient can have a tube put in to breath. Lidocaine and other local infiltration medications are always used. The antihistime is given to keep the airway open and is usually benedryl. That is usually given in pill form just before the procedure. By the way, did they tell your son not to eat or drink anything after midnight? If they give heavy durty meds, this is the normal proticol. So really he was given two meds, the lidocaine injected in the area of the teeth being removed and the Propfol was given after an I V was in place. Way back in 1976, gas was given to patients. That was NitrisOxide, most dentists do not give that today because of law suits and the medical community 's wishes. What I think may have happened to the young man who died was maybe too much medication at home. This is 2 days after the procedure and the medications used in the procedure are long gone. They were gone that evening after the local(lidocaine) wore off. The fentanyl was probably gone by the time he left the office. It has a very short duration and is cleaned out by the liver and kidneys. Now if the man was given a fentenyl patch and more than one was used at a time, that would be a problem. I really don't think they would send him home with a patch, Maybe too much pain medication was taken post op no matter what kind, if too much you will stop breathing and that if not caught will lead to death. Very Very sad for his family and friends. I hope they do an autopsy to find out. A very very rare thing coud be he threw a clot but probably that did not happen either.

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1 reply
rdale500 HI BEAUTIFUL February 28 2014 at 6:57 PM

Fentanyl is not the trade name for propofol. Propofol is the generic name for Dipravan. Fentanyl is the generic name for Sublimaze or Duragesic. Propofol is what Michael Jackson was given that eventually led to his death. Most surgeries, such as short procedures, are usually being done under the medication known as Versed (midazolam) and sometimes Valium (diazepam), Of course, there are other anesthesia drugs used, but this should clarify the above post.

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t_donahue February 28 2014 at 1:36 PM

There are a lot of death's caused by dental work in the news lately.

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debnaert February 28 2014 at 1:36 PM

Years and years ago I had my wisdom teeth removed.... BUT because I was young and some what POOR on $1.25 an hour... I had to have one at a time removed using ONLY Novocain. I think everyone should stay away from as much anesthesia in their life time as possible... it can also knock your enzyme levels way off and they never really get back to normal.

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carolynlu February 28 2014 at 6:19 PM


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rubsclan February 28 2014 at 1:48 PM

I remember about 2002 in Miami, a 20 yr. old girl died a few days after dental surgery. She came in the ER with a high temperature. She was given antibiotics but came back 2 days later worse and was admitted, went into a coma and died. So sad! The reason was an infection that went to her heart.

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lindaareyn February 28 2014 at 1:48 PM

Unfortunately, any surgical procedures can have residual complications. What type of anesthesia was used, was it administered by someone qualified to do that, post op pain meds (people can accidentally take too many), did he have any type of physical prior to the surgery? It's tragic when anyone dies post-operatively but even more so when it's a young person. I hope the family will try to identify what happened to cause their son's death, if only to assure themselves that they could not have prevented what happened to their son.

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Deb February 28 2014 at 6:19 PM

My heart goes out to the family. I lost my son in 2000. He had his wisdom teeth removed and was given pain killers. We came home that evening and he was sitting on the bedroom floor slumped over, 19 years old. You never get over it but time does lessen the pain.

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mariec3575 February 28 2014 at 1:22 PM

I so ,so sorry , I have tears in my eyes .

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