Is Third Molar Agenesis an Anomaly or Just a Sign of Variation? Prevalence and Manner of Presentation of this Condition in a Sample from the Metropolitan Region of Chile

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Moreno, María Trinidad; Díaz, Alejandro; González, Andrea; Manríquez Soto, Germán & Toro-Ibacache, Viviana


Agenesis of permanent teeth is the most frequent dental anomaly. The most affected tooth is the third molar (M3), and its congenital absence poses interesting questions from a clinical and evolutionary perspective. M3 agenesis can occur isolated or as part of syndromes. Researchers have reported prevalences that vary largely among populations, between 5 % and 56 %, with a mean prevalence of 22.6 %. Previous Chilean studies, mainly in Northern populations, have determined a prevalence between 19.8 % and 26.7 %. The aim of this work was to assess the prevalence of M3 agenesis and to characterize its presentation in a sample from Santiago, the largest to date in a M3 agenesis prevalence study in Chile. In this study, 535 panoramic radiographies and clinical histories of patients from the Dental Clinic of the Universidad de Chile were used to determine prevalence and distribution according to sex, affected tooth, and location (left or right; maxilla or mandible). The Chi-square test was used to assess statistical significance in distribution. The calculated M3 agenesis prevalence was of 12.89 %. No statistically significant differences were found between sexes, sides or location within the jaws. The agenesis of one third molar was more common, then two, three and finally of all the third molars. The prevalence of M3 agenesis in the sample is 12.89 %, with a random manner of presentation. We propose that as it currently stands, M3 agenesis should be considered an anatomical variation rather than a developmental anomaly.

KEY WORDS: Third molar; Agenesis; Hypodontia.

How to cite this article

MORENO, M. T.; DÍAZ, A.; GONZÁLEZ, A.; MANRÍQUEZ, S. G. & TORO-IBACACHE, V. Is third molar agenesis an anomaly or just a sign of variation? Prevalence and manner of presentation of this condition in a sample from the Metropolitan Region of Chile. Int. J. Morphol., 37(4):1382-1386, 2019.