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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

Join the discussion

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roseszebra1 February 28 2014 at 12:45 PM

rip ben

Flag Reply +2 rate up
codenamesparrow February 28 2014 at 1:54 PM

I had 4 imbedded Wisdom teeth ,and on Molar removed same day . They told me i could die from the anesthesia and i signed a letter of release If i died from it. But not from pulling the teeth.

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1 reply
cruisedoc codenamesparrow February 28 2014 at 2:51 PM

SOP, but 2 days later it wouldn't be a factor.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Diane February 28 2014 at 1:55 PM

A sensitivity to painkillers can cause sudden respiratory failure. So sad...prayers for the family

Flag Reply +9 rate up
TennesseeWoman February 28 2014 at 7:42 PM

What a strong family! I'm so sorry someone had to immediately think of this young man abusing pain medication! Not every teen is a pill-head. If and when they would want to have a more definitive answer as to the cause of this young man's death, they should look at coronary issues. Dentists these days, almost always give antibiotics a couple of weeks prior to invasive dental surgery. Bacteria can get into the blood stream and that can cause an infection that leads to congestive heart failure. It doesn't show up until several days after the surgery.

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1 reply
hellyon3too TennesseeWoman March 01 2014 at 1:21 AM

One doesn't have to be a "pill-head" to overdose on pain meds. All one has to do is be in severe pain and think "Maybe just one more...."

One would also assume that heart failure or some other cardiac event would have been found on autopsy. His autopsy was inconclusive, and they're awaiting test results, which usually means testing for drugs and/or toxins.

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charlie February 28 2014 at 2:40 PM

Have Your Say...same thing happened to my niece after 2 root canals. blood clot! but the attorney claims there was nothing he could do. we started a college fund at her school and have a motorcycle ride each year to raise money for it. her name was Danielle Hughes.

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1 reply
kairikngdm charlie February 28 2014 at 2:47 PM

The thing is, if your blood doesn't clot, you'll just keep on bleeding. Of course there was nothing the attorney could do.

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Bob February 28 2014 at 7:14 PM

God bless Benjamin and his grieving family. He sounds like an amazing young man. My heart goes out to the family. To lose a child so young has to be devastating and any parents worst nightmare. There are no words to comfort these gracious people who decided to focus on his life as opposed to his death. I wish I had some magic words other than I am so sad for your loss!

Flag Reply +5 rate up
petpetdon February 28 2014 at 2:46 PM

I had mine taken out one tooth at a time. It was the safe thing to do. I could still eat and drink. That was 30 years ago.

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wlh1923 February 28 2014 at 2:49 PM

Wisdom teeth are a funny thing. When mine came in they never bothered me and I never thought about having them removed. I actually had fillings in two of them. When I was in my mid thirties one of the two with a filling cracked and broke and I had it removed. Went to the dentist and it was removed with just Novacane for the pain. That was a big, big mistake. At age thirty the tooth was so firmly in the jawbone it had to be literally chipped out. Was a very unpleasant experience. Almost 30 years later I still have the other 3 and never had a problem. Over the years every time a new dentist looked in my mouth the first thing he would tell me was I need to have my wisdom teeth removed. I had a simple answer for that. No

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2 replies
mclkarim wlh1923 February 28 2014 at 3:22 PM

The reason they are removed is because of impaction in the jaw bone. They usually don't grow out and can cause major infection. Mine were all impacted and buried in my jaw bone (which showed up on the x-rays). My dentist referred me to an oral surgeon who recommended doing the uppers and lowers separately but I refused two visits and had all of them removed at the same time. Both of my kids needed orthodontics and also had to have their widsom teeth removed before the braces. It is not pleasant but the alternative of infection is even worse.

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cgssnavickas wlh1923 February 28 2014 at 3:58 PM

I went through the same thing at the age of 40. One of my wisdom teeth had a filling also, and the surgeon who removed it did not recommend that the other 3 be taken out. As long as there was no infection, just leave well enough alone. Almost 20 years later I still have the other 3 and have been to a few different dentist. Again, same advise. Leave well enough alone.

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1 reply
cgssnavickas cgssnavickas February 28 2014 at 4:00 PM

Correction...It should read, "...and have been to a few different dentists." Apologies for the grammatical error.

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Barbara February 28 2014 at 2:51 PM

Very Sad!!!! Rest In Peace .

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dzamula February 28 2014 at 2:53 PM

My wisdom teeth were so infected that the dentist was almost sick several times. I will spare you the details of what happened when he pulled one. He had to leave the room several times. I should have been on antibiotics prior to the surgery!

A couple of months later I went back to the practice and the receptionist said he had left the practice because of "dizzyness".

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