Journal of oral and maxillofacial surgery : official journal of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Effect of Asymptomatic Visible Third Molars on Periodontal Health of Adjacent Second Molars: A Cross-Sectional Study.

PMID 28495409


Evidence that asymptomatic third molars (M3s) negatively affect their adjacent second molars (A-M2s) is limited. The present study evaluated the association between visible M3s (V-M3s) of various clinical status with the periodontal pathologic features of their A-M2s. Subjects with at least 1 quadrant having intact first and second molars, either with V-M3s and symptom free or without adjacent V-M3s, were enrolled in the present cross-sectional investigation. Periodontal parameters, including plaque index (PLI), bleeding on probing (BOP), probing pocket depth (PPD), and at least 1 site with a PPD of 5 mm or more (PPD5+), obtained from M2s were analyzed according to the presence or absence of V-M3s or the status of the M3s. The χ In total, 572 subjects were enrolled in the study, and 423 had at least 1 V-M3. At the in-quadrant level, the presence of a V-M3 significantly increased M2 pathologic parameters, including PLI, PPD, BOP, and PPD5+. When analyzed using a multivariate logistic regression model, impacted M3s and normally erupted M3s significantly elevated the risk of PPD5+ on their A-M2s (odds ratio 3.20 and 1.67, respectively). Other factors associated with an increased odds of PPD5+ were mandibular region and older age. Finally, the patient-matched comparison showed that the percentage of BOP and PPD5+ on M2s increased when V-M3s were present. Irrespective of their status, the presence of V-M3s is a risk factor for the development of periodontal pathologic features in their A-M2s. Although the prophylactic removal of asymptomatic V-M3s remains controversial, medical decisions should be made as early as possible, because, ideally, extraction should be performed before symptom onset.