Study of Pathological Changes in the Dental Follicle of Disease-Free Impacted Third Molars
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The prophylactic extraction of third molars is a common practice in dental offices, but divergent opinions are found in the literature regarding the indication of this procedure. The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of pathological changes associated with the pericoronal tissue of asymptomatic impacted third molars that could justify prophylactic extraction.
Materials and Methods
A cross-sectional observational study was conducted in which 109 pericoronal tissues with no radiographic evidence of pathology were histopathologically analyzed. The specimens were fixed in 10% formalin, embedded in paraffin, stained with hematoxylin and eosin and analyzed individually by two pathologists.
The frequency of inflammatory infiltrate in the dental follicle of patients older than 20 years of age was significantly higher than that of younger patients (p = 0.004), demonstrating an association between inflammation in the dental follicle and patient age. The occurrence of squamous metaplasia was also greater in patients older than 20 years (p = 0.042), demonstrating that the prevalence of squamous metaplasia increases with age. A significant association was also found between inflammation and squamous metaplasia (p < 0.001).
Pathological changes may be present in the dental follicle of impacted third molars even in the absence of clinical or radiographic signs of disease.
KeywordsThird molar Tooth extraction Pathology Dental sac
This study was supported by the Department of Pathology of the Federal University of Santa Maria.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This study received approval from the ethics committee of the Federal University of Santa Maria (certificate number: 23081.017097/2009-89).
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