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Concept: Mandibular third molar


Abstract Objective. To examine whether the rapid increase in the availability of cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) has changed the number of inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) injuries related to the removal of mandibular third molars in Finland. The hypothesis was that the number of nerve injuries should diminish due to better imaging methods. Materials and methods. The number of CBCT devices, the annual number of CBCT examinations and the number of permanent IAN injuries occurring between 1997 and 2007 were analyzed. The data was collected from three national registers: the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, the Social Insurance Institution and the Patient Insurance Centre. A detailed analysis was made from the cases of permanent IAN injuries. Results. The first CBCT device was registered in 2002 and the cumulative number of these devices in 2009 was 22. There was an increase from 555 to 3160 in the number of annual CBCT examinations during the period 2004-2009. The total number of permanent IAN injuries during the years 1997-2007 was 129 and remained stable throughout the period (regression analysis, p = 0.974, r (2) = 0.01). Conclusions. Contrary to this hypothesis, the availability of CBCT devices has had no significant influence on the number of IAN injuries related to mandibular third molar removals in Finland. More education should be given to optimize the use of CBCT to cover difficult cases that may give rise to complications.

Concepts: Examination, Regression analysis, Molar, Nuclear safety, Horse, Teeth, Mandibular third molar, Mandibular canal


Purpose The aim of this prospective comparative split-mouth study was to evaluate the role of socket irrigation with a normal saline solution routinely used at the end of extraction on the development of alveolar osteitis (AO) after removal of impacted mandibular third molars (MTMs).Materials and methods Thirty-five patients who satisfied the inclusion criteria were involved in the study and underwent extraction of four third-molars. To be included in the study, the mandibular third molars had to be impacted (partial or full bone) and require an osteotomy for extraction with use of a motorised drill. All surgeries were done under local anaesthesia or IV sedation. This was a prospective split-mouth study. The patient’s left (assistant) side was a control side; it had a standard extraction technique of an impacted mandibular third molar that required a buccal full-thickness flap, buccal trough (osteotomy) and extraction of the tooth (with or without splitting the tooth into segments), followed by a traditional end-of-surgery debridement protocol consisting of a gentle curettage, bone filing of the socket walls, socket irrigation with approximately 5 ml of sterile normal saline solution and socket suctioning. The patient’s right (operator) side was an experimental side; it also had a standard extraction technique of an impacted mandibular third molar at the beginning with a flap and osteotomy, but it was followed by a modified end-of-surgery protocol. It consisted of gentle curettage but the socket was not irrigated and not suctioned. It was simply left to bleed. The gauze was placed on top of the socket for haemostasis on both sides and the patient was asked to bite. On both sides, the buccal flap was positioned back without the suture. All patients were seen for a follow-up appointment four to seven days after the surgery to assess healing and check for symptoms and signs of alveolar osteitis, if present, on both irrigated and non-irrigated sides. This study followed the ethical guidelines of human subjects based on the Helsinki Declaration.Results Thirty-five patients or 70 sockets were evaluated. Eleven out of 35 patients in the study were subjected to a dry socket syndrome (31.4%). The higher number of AO was likely related to specifics of MTM selection in this study - only impacted (partial and full bone) MTMs were chosen. Among eleven patients with AO, two patients had a bilateral condition. By excluding two patients with bilateral dry sockets from the study, there were nine patients (18 extraction sites) with unilateral AO in the study. Seven out of nine patients (14 extraction sites) developed unilateral dry socket on the control (irrigated) side (77.8%) and only two (four extraction sites) on the experimental (non-irrigated) side (22.2%). Therefore, in this study there were 3.5 times more patients (extraction sites) with dry socket syndrome on the irrigated (control) side than patients (extraction sites) in the non-irrigated (experimental) side.Conclusion A noticeable difference of dry socket syndromes (77.8% on the irrigated versus 22.2% on non-irrigated side) was demonstrated between the traditional extraction protocol versus modified approach without the end-of-surgery irrigation. The study demonstrated that the post-extraction socket bleeding is very important for the proper uncomplicated socket healing. If it’s not washed away with irrigation solution at the end of extraction, the normal blood clot has a higher likelihood to form, and therefore, can potentially lead to an uncomplicated socket healing without development of alveolar osteitis. Socket bleeding at the extraction site creates a favourable environment for the formation of a blood clot - a protective dressing - necessary for a favourable osseous healing of the socket.

Concepts: Wisdom teeth, Mandibular third molar, Saline, Alveolar osteitis, Teeth


Abstract Objective: To compare the root development and the growth rate of the mandibular third molar (M3 inf) in individuals where the M3 inf erupted vs individuals exhibiting M3 inf impaction. Materials and Methods: Serial standardized intraoral radiographs (Eggen technique) were taken annually of the mandibular third molar region from 132 subjects (71 male and 61 female) from 15 to 20 years of age. Based on the films, 264 lower third molars were classified into an eruption and an impaction group. Root development was recorded according to a quantitative method described by Haavikko (1970), and the eruption status was analyzed using logistic regression. Results: In total, 155 (59%) of the M3 inf erupted, and 109 (41%) were impacted at age 20. In 44 (33%) patients both M3 inf were impacted, in 21 (16%) patients one tooth was erupted and the contralateral tooth impacted, and in 67 (51%) patients both M3 inf were erupted. The more mature a tooth was at age 15, the higher was the probability of eruption (odds ratio: 3.89, P < .001). The growth rate of the root development stage was statistically significantly associated with the probability of eruption (odds ratio: 10.50, P  =  .041). Conclusions: Delayed mandibular third molar root development is associated with impaction. Radiographs taken at age 15 may predict the risk of impaction and thereby guide decision making for the orthodontist or the oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Concepts: Decision theory, Mandibular third molar, Logit, Wisdom tooth, Molar, Teeth, Oral and maxillofacial surgery


To estimate the prevalence of preoperative periodontal defects and analyze 12-month spontaneous healing on the distal aspect of the mandibular second molar (M2) after impacted mandibular third molar (M3) extraction.

Concepts: Mandibular third molar, Wisdom tooth, Molar, Teeth


Our aim was to explore the relation between the site of the mandibular canal and neurosensory impairment after extraction of impacted mandibular third molars. We organised a retrospective study of 537 extractions in 318 patients in which the affected tooth was intersected by the mandibular canal. This was verified by cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT), and we analysed the relation between the site of the canal and the likelihood of injury to the inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) after extraction of the third molar. The relation between the position of the root of the tooth and the mandibular canal was categorised into 4 groups: I=root above the canal; II=on the buccal side; III=on the lingual side; and IV=between the roots. The overall rate of neurosensory impairment after extraction was 6% (33/537). It occurred in 9/272 patients (3%) in group 1, 16/86 (19%) in group II, and in 8/172 (5%) in group III. There was no neurosensory impairment in group IV where the canal was between the roots. There were significant differences between group II and groups I and III (p<0.01), but not between groups I and III (p=0.32). The risk of damage to the inferior alveolar nerve is increased if third molars intersect with the mandibular canal, particularly on its buccal side.

Concepts: Lingual nerve, Inferior alveolar artery, Mandibular third molar, Mandibular nerve, Molar, Inferior alveolar nerve, Mandibular canal, Teeth


Our aim was to compare the effects of the surgical drain and kinesiotape applications on postoperative morbidity after mandibular third molar surgery in a split-mouth study design.

Concepts: Mandibular third molar, Wisdom tooth, Surgery, Teeth, Wisdom teeth, Oral and maxillofacial surgery


Mandibular dental anterior crowding is a common multi-factorial phenomenon. The involvement of the lower third molar remains unclear. These pending questions led us to conduct a literature review to evaluate the impact of the lower third molar on mandibular dental anterior crowding. Twelve articles were selected, published from 1974 to 2014. Four studies were prospective. Sample size ranged from 30 to 9044. The average age was 20.56 years old. Seven studies considered patient with orthodontic treatment. The studies compared two to four groups. Studying tools were radiographs, casts and clinical examinations. Little’s irregularity index, TSALD and Ganss ratio were used. 83% of articles (n = 10/12) didn’t find any significant relationship between lower third molar and mandibular dental anterior crowding. However, methods and designs of these studies being questionable, a definite conclusion on the impact of mandibular third molar on mandibular dental anterior crowding can’t be set.

Concepts: Mandibular third molar, Wisdom tooth, Sample, Question, Orthodontics, Oral surgery, Oral and maxillofacial surgery, Teeth


Third lower molar partially erupted is commonly encountered in dental practice. This situation challenges clinicians with the dilemma whether to remove or to monitor it, because this molar can cause pathology of the adjacent second molar. The aim of this retrospective study is to evaluate the relationship between third mandibular molar and distal cervical caries in second molar. This retrospective study analyzed 55 digital orthopantograms of adult patients and a total number of 95 mandibular third molars were assessed for eruption status, angulation, radiographic evidence of caries or restoration in the mandibular third molar, and radiographic evidence of caries or restoration in the distal surface of the mandibular second molar. The distal cervical caries in second molar is associated with fully erupted and partially erupted wisdom molar in horizontal, mesioangular and vertical position and less with presence of caries in third molar. There are caries lesions in distal second molars in mesioangular position when adjacent third molar is caries free.

Concepts: Oral and maxillofacial surgery, Mandibular third molar, Dental caries, Molar, Teeth


The aim of this study was to investigate the risk of mandibular angle fracture associated with the presence of a mandibular third molar and its position when the mandibular fracture occurs.

Concepts: Mandibular third molar, Wisdom tooth, Teeth


The aim of the study was to evaluate the proximity of the mandibular third molar (M3) and the inferior alveolar canal (IAC) in a panoramic radiograph of 20-year-old subjects. The specific aim was to assess differences in this proximity over time.

Concepts: Physical quantities, Mandibular third molar, Wisdom tooth, Distance, Teeth, Inferior alveolar artery, Mandibular canal