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J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2007 Sep;65(9):1685-92.

Age as a risk factor for third molar surgery complications.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



The purpose of this study was to estimate the frequency of complications after third molar (M3) surgery, with age as the primary risk factor.


This was a prospective cohort study of a sample of subjects having at least 1 M3 extracted as part of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons' Age-Related Third Molar Study. The predictor variables were categorized as demographic, health status, anatomic, and pathological. The outcome variable was overall complications, including both intraoperative and postoperative complications. Appropriate univariate and bivariate statistics were computed. A multiple logistic regression model was used to evaluate the simultaneous effects of multiple covariates.


The study sample was comprised of 4,004 subjects having a total of 8,748 M3s removed. The mean age was 39.8 +/- 13.6 years, with 245 subjects (6.1%) age 25 and younger. Approximately half of the subjects were female. The overall complication rate was 19%. In bivariate analyses, age above 25 years, gender, American Society of Anesthesiologists classification, number of preoperatively identified risk factors for complication, impaction level of M3, evidence of periodontal disease, preoperative infection, and evidence of any pathology associated with M3 were associated with complications (P <or= .15). In the multiple regression model, age above 25 years was associated with an increased risk of complications (odds ratio = 1.5; P = .05).


The results of these analyses suggest that increased age (>25 years) appears to be associated with a higher complication rate for M3 extractions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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