Pattern of third molar impaction in a Singapore Chinese population: a retrospective radiographic survey

Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2003 Oct;32(5):548-52.


One thousand orthopantomograms (OPGs) of patients 20-40 years old were examined. Where impacted third molars were present, the angle and depth of impaction were recorded. Results were analysed using the Pearson chi2 test. 68.6% of OPGs showed at least one impacted third molar. The frequency was three-fold higher in the mandible (1024/1079=90%) than in the maxilla (306/1077=28%), with a significantly higher frequency (P<0.05) in females (56%) than males (44%). The mesioangular impaction was the most common, and 80% of all impacted third molars were partially buried in bone. Of the 429 bilateral occurrence of impacted third molars, 423 were in the mandible. It was concluded that the frequency of impacted third molars in the Singapore Chinese population studied was generally two to three times that reported in races of the Caucasian stock. There was also double the frequency of impacted third molars when compared to a previous study in a Chinese population published in 1932 with females being more frequently affected than males.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Asians / ethnology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandible / diagnostic imaging
  • Mandible / physiopathology*
  • Maxilla / diagnostic imaging
  • Maxilla / physiopathology*
  • Molar, Third / diagnostic imaging
  • Molar, Third / physiopathology*
  • Radiography, Panoramic
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Singapore / epidemiology
  • Tooth, Impacted / classification
  • Tooth, Impacted / diagnostic imaging
  • Tooth, Impacted / ethnology*