Complications of third molar surgery

Oral Maxillofac Surg Clin North Am. 2007 Feb;19(1):117-28, vii. doi: 10.1016/j.coms.2006.11.013.


This article addresses the incidence of specific complications and, where possible, offers a preventive or management strategy. Injuries of the inferior alveolar and lingual nerves are significant issues that are discussed separately in this text. Surgical removal of third molars is often associated with postoperative pain, swelling, and trismus. Factors thought to influence the incidence of complications after third molar removal include age, gender, medical history, oral contraceptives, presence of pericoronitis, poor oral hygiene, smoking, type of impaction, relationship of third molar to the inferior alveolar nerve, surgical time, surgical technique, surgeon experience, use of perioperative antibiotics, use of topical antiseptics, use of intra-socket medications, and anesthetic technique. Complications that are discussed further include alveolar osteitis, postoperative infection, hemorrhage, oro-antral communication, damage to adjacent teeth, displaced teeth, and fractures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications
  • Lingual Nerve Injuries
  • Molar, Third / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Tooth Extraction / adverse effects*
  • Tooth Extraction / methods
  • Tooth Injuries / etiology
  • Tooth, Impacted / classification
  • Tooth, Impacted / surgery
  • Trigeminal Nerve Injuries