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MINERVA STOMATOLOGICA

A Journal on Dentistry and Maxillofacial Surgery


Official Journal of the Italian Society of Odontostomatology and Maxillofacial Surgery
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Minerva Stomatologica 2009 July-August;58(7-8):359-66

language: English, Italian

Complications in surgical removal of mandibular third molars

Clauser B. 1, Barone R. 1, Briccoli L. 1, Baleani A. 2

1 Private practice, Florence, Italy
2 Private practice, Osimo, Ancona, Italy


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The most frequent complications after surgical removal of an impacted mandibular third molar are the following: alveolar osteitis, infections, neurological damage involving the inferior alveolar and lingual nerves. All of these postoperative complications are more frequent in older patients. Their increase starts at about 25 years of age. Alveolar osteitis is the most frequent postoperative complication, but it is easily handled; its pathogenesis remains unknown, even if cigarette smoking enhances its incidence; other putative risk factors have not been confirmed. An effective etiologic therapy is not yet available, but the symptoms can be managed by means of local medication. Postoperative infections can still cause very severe problems, especially in elderly patients, if the treatment is not correct and timely. Antibiotic prophylaxis is indicated in selected cases. The possibility of neurological complications is often associated with anxiety both in the patient and doctor: fortunately, their incidence has been lowered by improved surgical techniques; moreover, risk indicators have been identified on the panoramic radiographs; three-dimensional imaging is useful in planning the surgical intervention in risky cases.

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