Impacted wisdom teeth

BMJ Clin Evid. 2014 Aug 29:2014:1302.


Introduction: The incidence of impacted wisdom teeth (third molars) is high, with some 72% of Swedish people aged 20 to 30 years having at least one impacted wisdom tooth. Impacted wisdom teeth occur because of a lack of space, obstruction, or abnormal position. They can cause inflammatory dental disease manifested by pain and swelling of infected teeth and may destroy adjacent teeth and bone.

Methods and outcomes: We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: Should asymptomatic, disease-free impacted wisdom teeth be removed prophylactically? What are the effects of different operative (surgical) techniques for removing impacted wisdom teeth? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to October 2013 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.

Results: We found 11 studies that met our inclusion criteria.

Conclusions: In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: prophylactic extraction, active surveillance, and different operative (surgical) techniques for extracting impacted wisdom teeth.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Molar, Third / surgery*
  • Prophylactic Surgical Procedures
  • Tooth Extraction*
  • Tooth, Impacted / prevention & control
  • Tooth, Impacted / surgery*
  • United States