Dentist Puts Long-Rumored Extraction Technique to the Test

Randolph, UT- Even simple extractions aren’t always simple, and most dentists have found themselves in the same situation Dr. Ben Hershey was in recently. Dr. Hershey was having trouble extracting a tooth and the nearest oral surgeon was over an hour away. With it being late in the afternoon, he knew the oral surgeon wouldn’t be able to see his patient until the next day at the soonest. Dr. Hershey could get a good purchase on the tooth with his forceps, but it just wouldn’t budge. At this point his options were limited. He could keep trying the same techniques he’d learned in dental school (which hadn’t worked so far) or he could give up and refer to the oral surgeon and risk losing the patient’s confidence. “What I really wanted to do was curl up in the fetal position and cry,” said Dr. Hershey, a dentist with ten years of practice experience. But as he prepared to call the oral surgeon Dr. Hershey had an idea that felt like a revelation from the ghost of GV Black. Dr. Hershey continues, “Over the years, I’ve had several patients tell me that a previous dentist had literally put his knee in their chest for leverage to extract a tough tooth. I always thought it was something they made up, like Bigfoot or periodontics. But I figured I had nothing to lose.” 

When Dr. Hershey re-entered the operatory he discussed this unorthodox approach with his patient. The patient, wanting the tooth out, gave informed consent and Dr. Hershey proceeded with the extraction. “It did feel a little strange as I mounted my patient in the chair and placed my knee on his sternum. He gasped for air as I pushed with my knee and pulled with the forceps, but I’ll be danged if that tooth didn’t come right out.” Dr. Hershey did express some embarrassment as he described rolling head over heels off of the patient and onto the floor as the tooth came out, but he said it was worth it. “The knee-in-chest technique has been a game changer in my office. Sometimes the old ways really are the best ways.”