Are people who need dental operations such as extraction less healthy than most?
The dental profession must be hoping that is the case after researchers at Oxford University discovered that people are twice as likely to die in the year following a dental operation.
And the researchers themselves have been quick to support such a view. "We doubt that this is attributable in any way to the operations," they write in the British Medical Journal. "We think that it is much more likely to be. . . that the population that underwent dental operations was slightly less healthy than the general population".
But "less healthy" does not include any known serious condition such as cancer because they were excluded before the calculations were made.
If the patient was in fact less healthy (although, apparently, not seriously so), then the finding is not at all alarming, they conclude. But, then, if he wasn't, then the statistic remains extremely worrying although they don't mention that fact.