Reconsideration of decision making for third molar extraction

An article recently appeared in the Journal of the Korean Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery titled “Reconsideration of decision making for third molar extraction, “(vol. 37, pages  343-348, 2011) by Wonse Park and et al.

I am unable to read the article since it is in Korean but the abstract is in English.

The introduction of the article states

“Third molar extraction is one of the most common procedures in oral and maxillofacial surgery. The impacted third molar causes many pathological conditions, such as pericoronitis, caries, periodontitis, resorption of adjacent teeth, and cyst or tumors associated with impacted teeth. Extraction is often considered the treatment of choice for impacted lower third molars. On the other hand, imprudent extraction of deeply impacted third molars can cause permanent complications, such as inferior alveolar nerve damage. Therefore, guidelines for the extraction of lower third molars should be set to prevent embarrassing complications.”

I state various reasons to remove wisdom teeth on my website over at I also state complications that can happen from removal of wisdom teeth over at

The study examined 557 extracted third molars of which 40.8% were asymptomatic. In this study 177 of the 557 third molars (31.8%) developed pericoronitis when the patient was between the ages of 20 and 29 which was a much higher percentage for that age group than the other age groups presented. 81 of the 557 (14.5%) third molars that were erupted were extracted in this study.

The conclusion of the study stated

“The incidence of pathological changes to the lower third molar was relatively low. Surgical extraction is recommended in cases of partially impacted teeth. In Korea, the incidence of asymptomatic third molar extraction was relatively higher than in European countries. More careful attention would be desirable to consider the risks and benefits of lower third molar extraction.”

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