Defining the indications for third-molar extraction continues to be a topic of controversy among dentists, other health care professionals, the public and third parties such as insurance companies and government agencies.
In a systematic review, Mettes and colleagues found no evidence to support or refute removal of third molars to prevent healthrelated complications.
The dentist’s management of third molars commonly hinges on identifying the presence of symptoms or disease that clearly is attributable to the third molar.
► See also: ORAL SURGERY : Current status of the torus palatinus and torus mandibularis
Dodson developed a useful guide that serves as a systematic and unambiguous way to classify third molars.
According to Dodson, patients’ symptoms are designated as present and attributable to the third molar (Sx+) or as absent (Sx−).
In addition, clinical or radiographic evidence of disease is evaluated and designated as present (D+) or absent (D−). Disease status is of importance to Dodson’s classification system and its clinical relevance.
°American Dental Association