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.
Angle Orthodontist, 2013, Vol 83, Issue 1, p. 3-9
Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't