Immediate or delayed retrieval of the displaced third molar: A review

J Clin Exp Dent. 2019 Jan 1;11(1):e55-e61. doi: 10.4317/jced.55379. eCollection 2019 Jan.


Background: The displacement of a third molar is a rare occurrence, but it could lead to serious and/or life threatening complication. Aim of this review is to understand the most correlated causes of displacement and the possible solutions proposed in literature to avoid and solve this complication for maxillary and mandibular third molars at the appropriate time.

Material and methods: A search for "third molar displacement" was performed by using Pubmed database. Articles referred to soft tissues displacement, from 1957 to 2018, were included in the review. The references lists of all eligible articles were examined and additional studies were added to the review only if indexed on Pubmed. All the articles on maxillary sinus displacement and the dislocation of dental fragments or surgical equipment were excluded.

Results: From a total of 134 results, 68 articles were examined for satisfying inclusion criteria. 18 articles were excluded because not inherent with the topic; 19 articles on infratemporal space, 11 on sublingual space, 9 on submandibular space, 11 on lateral pharyngeal space displacement were considered congruent for the review and included.

Conclusions: The displacement of the third molar in deeper tissues could be avoided by the use of proper surgical procedures and instrumentarium. If displacement occurs, and the operator could not reach the tooth in safe conditions, the patient should be immediately referred to a maxillo-facial surgeon, because of the possibility of further displacement or the onset of hazardous or potentially fatal infections in vital regions. Key words:Third molar, wisdom tooth, maxillary, mandibular, displacement.

Publication types

  • Review