Prophylactic extraction of non-impacted third molars: is it necessary?

Sai Nivedita, Evit R. John, Shruthi Acharya, Valerie G. D'costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The decision of removing a non-impacted 3rd molar, unlike extraction of an impacted 3rd molar, is challenging for dentists as well as patients. This study investigates the pathologies affecting second molars situated adjacent to asymptomatic non-impacted 3rd molars. METHODS: This retrospective study included digital radiographs of 749 patients taken between April to October 2015. Panoramic radiographs were evaluated for the presence of erupted asymptomatic non-impacted 3rd molars and pathologies on adjacent second molars. The patients were reviewed according to age and gender. RESULTS: A total of 2342 asymptomatic 3rd molars were assessed in the study based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria, and 2112 of them were found to be non-impacted. The second molars adjacent to non-impacted 3rd molars were shown to be significantly associated with distal caries (25.2%), mesial bone loss (10.5%) and total bone loss (37.2%), i.e., mesial as well as distal bone loss. CONCLUSIONS: Pathologies of the 3rd molars and teeth adjacent to 3rd molars can occur as a result of multiple factors. Caries and periodontal disease may also occur due to the inaccessibility to maintain oral hygiene. With a regular follow-up schedule, reinforced by the dentist and good oral hygiene, several pathologies that are significantly associated with non-impacted 3rd molars can be prevented and may not require prophylactic extraction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-302
Number of pages6
JournalMinerva Stomatologica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01-12-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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