Lower third molar (M3) eruption is unpredictable. The purpose of this study was to correlate radiographic position of M3 on a preexistent film with the current clinical, histopathological, and radiographic findings.
A retrospective cohort study was performed. The sample was collected from a database of patients covered by Medical Fund of Brazilian Army. Radiographs were obtained a minimum of 5 years prior to the presurgical visit and after their clinical exam. The primary outcome variables were the teeth positions using Pell and Gregory/Winter classifications on panoramic X-rays. Those variables were analyzed at both the beginning (T0) and end of the study (T1). Clinical assessments and histopathological study of the thirds that were extracted were performed only at T1. Correlation between the teeth positions were related to the clinical, histopathological, and radiographic parameters using statistical analysis tests with significance set at p < 0.05.
Twenty-six patients with 49 M3 were assessed over 10 months. Mean age was 14.92 years at T0 and 21.87 years at T1. The average time between T0 and T1 was 6.77 years. A significant relationship (p = 0.024) was found between the presences of root resorption on the second molar if M3 presented in an IB horizontal position at T1. There was also a significant correlation (p = 0.039) between dental crowding of the anterior lower teeth with IIIB position at T0 and if the patient finished orthodontic treatment without lingual retainers.
Lower M3 in position IIIB seen in a teenager and IB seen in an adult is more likely to have negative consequences and should be followed closely.