Is prophylactic removal of impacted mandibular third molar justified in all patients? A prospective clinical study of patients 50 years and above
Background: The prophylactic extraction of asymptomatic impacted mandibular third molar is a contentious issue in dental practice.
Objective: To evaluate symptomatic impacted mandibular third molars in patients 50 years and above, and determine the burden of the impaction on the adjacent second molar.
Methods: This was a prospective clinical study over a three-year period. The diagnosis of impacted mandibular third molar and their associated pathology was made by clinical and radiological examination. The data obtained were age, sex, type of impaction, reason for surgical extraction, and the clinical condition of the adjacent second molar.
Results: Patients 50 years and above were 33.4%, and those with impaction 22.8%, while the symptomatic cases were in 18.4% patients. The age of the patients ranged from 52 to 84 years with male: female ratio, 2.3:1. In all the asymptomatic impactions, the adjacent second molars were disease-free, whereas 73.6% of the adjacent second molar related to symptomatic cases were asymptomatic (P=0.001).
Conclusion: This study showed that 15.9% of impactions in 18.4% of patients were symptomatic and required surgical ex- traction, whereas the burden of impaction on the adjacent second molar was 26.4%, and these required only preventive and restorative treatments.
Keywords: Mandible, impaction, second molar, third molar, prognosis.