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Ann Maxillofac Surg. 2014 Jan;4(1):39-44. doi: 10.4103/2231-0746.133074.

Impacted third molars in sagittal split osteotomies in mandibular prognathism and micrognathia.

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Director and Consultant, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.



The timing of removal of mandibular third molars (M3) in Sagittal Split Osteotomy (SSO) has been an issue of contention. The aim of this retrospective study is to identify the incidence of unfavorable fractures during SSO with the presence of M3 and to identify the association between unfavorable fractures with the factors specifically related to the M3.


Retrospective analysis of consecutive bilateral sagittal split osteotomy (BSSO) patient's treatment records of 208 patients treated by a single surgeon was analyzed. The position of M3, fracture details, and demographics were collected. Descriptive statistics and Chi-square tests were employed in SPSS package. A P ≤ 0.05 was taken as significant.


There were altogether 416 SSO performed. M3 was completely impacted in 88.9% of all instances, and in 85.6% of the instances, the bulk of the M3 was identified to be above the external oblique ridge. In 59.4% of the cases, M3 was positioned in alignment with the arch as observed during surgery. There were about 27 (6.5%) instances of unfavorable splits. A statistically significant relationship was observed with M3 root morphology and axial position of M3.


This study for the first time has confirmed the spatial positioning of M3 as one of the several causes of unfavorable splits during SSO. An impacted M3 that lies below the oblique ridge, distoangularly/vertically oriented, with divergent/supernumerary root would cause unfavorable splits when the spreader is not used properly. Potential causes and influencing factors of the unfavorable splits are discussed.


Bad split; bilateral sagittal split osteotomy; favorable split; impacted third molar; impaction; jaw correction; mandibular impaction; mandibular prognathism; micrognathia; retrognathia; unfavorable split

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