Impacted Mandibular Third Molars: Review of Literature and a Proposal of a Combined Clinical and Radiological Classification
Tooth impaction is a pathological situation where a tooth fails to attain its normal functional position. Impacted third molars are commonly encountered in routine dental practice. The impaction rate is higher for third molars when compared with other teeth. The mandibular third molar impaction is said to be due to the inadequate space between the distal of the second mandibular molar and the anterior border of the ascending ramus of the mandible. Impacted teeth may remain asymptomatic or may be associated with various pathologies such as caries, pericoronitis, cysts, tumors, and also root resorption of the adjacent tooth. Even though various classifications exist in the literature, none of those address the combined clinical and radiologic assessment of the impacted third molar. Literature search using the advanced features of various databases such as PubMed, Scopus, Embase, Google Scholar, Directory of Open Access Journals and Cochrane electronic databases was carried out. Keywords like impaction, mandibular third molar, impacted mandibular third molar, complications, anatomy, inferior alveolar nerve injury, lingual nerve injury were used to search the databases. A total of 826 articles were screened, and 50 articles were included in the review which was obtained from 1980 to February 2015. In the present paper, the authors have proposed a classification based on clinical and radiological assessment of the impacted mandibular third molar.
Keywords: Classification, Complications, Impacted tooth, Management, Third molar