Background:The mandibular third molar (M3) is typically the last permanent tooth to erupt because of insufficient space and thick soft tissues covering its surface. Problems such as alveolar bone loss, development of a periodontal pocket, exposure of cementum, gingival recession, and dental caries can be found in the adjacent second molars (M2) following M3 extraction. The specific aims of the study were to assess the amount and rate of bone regeneration on the distal surface of M2 and to evaluate the aspects of bone regeneration in terms of varying degree of impaction. Methods:Four series of panoramic radiographic images were obtained from the selected cases, including images from the first visit, immediately after extraction, 6 weeks, and 6 months after extraction. ImageJ software® (NIH, USA) was used to measure linear distance from the region of interest to the distal root of the adjacent M2. Radiographic infrabony defect (RID) values were calculated from the measured radiographic bone height and cementoenamel junction with distortion compensation. Repeated measures of analysis of variance and one-way analysis of variance were conducted to analyze the statistical significant difference between RID and time, and a Spearman correlation test was conducted to assess the relationship between Pederson's difficulty index (DI) and RID. Results:A large RID (> 6 mm) can be reduced gradually and consistently over time. More than half of the samples recovered nearly to their normal healthy condition (RID ≤ 3 mm) by the 6-month follow-up. DI affected the first 6 weeks of post-extraction period and only showed a significant positive correlation with respect to the difference between baseline and final RID. Conclusions:Additional treatments on M2 for a minimum of 6 months after an M3 extraction could be recommended. Although DI may affect bone regeneration during the early healing period, further study is required to elucidate any possible factors associated with the healing process. The DI does not cause any long-term adverse effects on bone regeneration after surgical extraction.
Maxillofac Plast Reconstr Surg (Maxillofacial plastic and reconstructive surgery)
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