A Six-year Review of the Third Molar Cases Treated in the Dental Department of Penang Hospital in Malaysia

Naosherwan Anwar, Abdul Rashid Khan, KA Narayan, Azizah Hj Ab Manan


Background: There is a variation of management of third molars, from conservative to surgical management. The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence and the factors associated with third molars treated in the dental department of the Penang hospital, Malaysia.

Methods: This was a descriptive case series analysis of all cases reported to Penang hospital, Malaysia from January 2000 to December 2005. A specially designed questionnaire was used. Descriptive statistics and chi square test were used to explore the data. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 13.0. The study was conducted ethically.

Results: The six year prevalence rate was 1.75%. The majority of patients were Malays and Chinese. Most were under the age of 25. There were a total of 261 cases of lower third molars. Mesial presentation was common among the races (P < 0.05). The number of cases increased from the year 2000 to 2005 (P < 0.05). Most clinical diagnoses of lower third molar presentations were confirmed radiologically (P < 0.05). There were many defaulters (those who did not return for definitive treatment or for follow up) and the number of cases treated surgically under anesthesia increased as the years progressed among all age groups (P < 0.05). There were a total of 11 cases of upper third molars. Similarly, most clinical diagnoses of the third molar presentations were confirmed radiologically (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: The high rate of defaulters indicates the need for pre-treatment counseling. An increasing congruence indicates an improvement in clinical competence of the dentists.

Keywords: Epidemiology, impacted tooth, third molars, tooth extraction

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