To assess the scientific evidence related to the role of the mandibular third molars on the late crowding of the lower anterior teeth in patients with or without previous orthodontic treatment. The secondary outcomes included changes in mandibular arch width and arch length.
The databases PubMed, Scopus, ProQuest, and Google Scholar were searched from inception until April 2022. The included papers were studies evaluating the role of mandibular third molars on crowding of mandibular anterior teeth in patients of any age and gender, with mandibular third molars impacted or semi-impacted or erupted. Predetermined and prepiloted data collection forms were used to record the necessary information.
Thirteen observational studies were included in the present systematic review. Most of them were assigned an overall risk of bias of moderate risk while the rest of them were at high risk. Four studies found an association between the presence of mandibular third molar and mandibular incisor crowding. Finally, seven studies were included in the quantitative analysis. Three different meta-analyses were conducted: for patients (a) with or (b) without previous orthodontic treatment and (c) in combination for patients with and without previous orthodontic treatment. According to the pooled results of all three meta-analyses, random effects model yielded a significant benefit for those without third molars compared to those with third molars regarding crowding, mean Little’s irregularity index and mean arch length.
Lower third molars may contribute to mandibular crowding and lower arch constriction. Further prospective research of high quality is needed to clarify the impact of third molars on anterior mandibular crowding.
Postgraduate Student, Department of Orthodontics, School of Dentistry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.
Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Diagnosis & Radiology, School of Dentistry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.
Associate Professor, Department of Orthodontics, School of Dentistry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.