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Early removal of the mandibular third molar (M3) may help prevent distal caries in the second molar (M2) in some circumstances.
McArdle LW, Renton TF Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2005; 44: 42–45
NICE guidelines advise against prophylactic M3 removal. However, there may be circumstances when such removal is appropriate, if it can prevent caries on M2. To identify features when caries might be likely, 100 patient records were examined where M3s had been removed because of M2 distal caries.
Altogether, 122 M3s were extracted in patients; in 22 cases, M2 caries had occurred on both sides. All M3s were partially erupted, and in 119 cases, contacted the M2 in the region of the cementoenamel junction. In 110 cases, both premolars and all molars were present in the quadrant. In 80 cases, an upper M3 which could contribute to food packing was present. The authors suggest that the NICE guidelines may be flawed and that future studies should address this question.
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Distal cervical caries in the mandibular second molar: an indication for the prophylactic removal of the third molar?. Br Dent J 200, 441 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.4813470