Has the Literature Thoroughly Categorized the Lower Third Molars? A New Classification of the Various Lower Third Molar Root Forms for a Better Understanding of their Morphology

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Nedal Abu-Mostafa


Impacted lower third molars (IL3M) have different root shapes and numbers. This study aimed to create a classification for IL3M root forms, that should aid in understanding roots morphology. A retrospective cross-sectional study on patients had IL3M at the university clinics between 2017 and 2019. Panoramic radiographs were retrieved to classify the roots into fused roots (FR): one or two roots connected from furcation to apices, and separated roots (SR): two or more roots not connected from furcation to apical third, and each type has different forms. Statistical analysis was done by Chi-Square test. Five-hundred patients, males (54.6 %) and females (45.4 %) were included. SR were in 591 teeth (75.5 %), and FR in 192 teeth (24.5 %). Statistically significant associations emerged between SR and males (60 %) and between FR and females (66 %) (p = .000). SR forms were straight (45.8 %), joined roots (28.2 %), one straight and one curved (13.3 %), roots curved distal (9.1 %), roots curved mesial (2.5 %), and more than two roots (0.3 %). FR forms were straight (87.5 %), curved distal (9.4 %), S-shaped (2.1 %), and curved mesial (1 %). The common angulations of IL3M with SR were vertical (39 %) followed by mesioangular (25.7 %), while FR were mostly vertical (39.1 %) or horizontal (23.9 %). The classification is applicable on panoramic radiographs, and complements Winter and Pell & Gregory to provide a better description of IL3M status by adding root morphology to the angulation, occlusal, and ramus relationship.

KEY WORDS: Impacted lower third molar; Root morphology; Root shapes; Fused roots; Separated roots.

How to cite this article

ABU-MOSTAFA, N. Has the literature thoroughly categorized the lower third molars? A new classification of the various lower third molar root forms for a better understanding of their morphology. Int. J. Morphol., 41(1):278-285, 2023.