Document Type : Research Article
Background: The third molar (M3) tooth is of clinical interest to different specialties in dentistry. Being the last tooth to develop in the human dentition it is also the most commonly malformed teeth. The agenesis of the third molars is linked to the evolution and growth of the human jaw and is also associated with other dental anomalies and has significance from evolution point of view.
Objective:The objective of this study was to establish the prevalence and distribution of M3 agenesis among the three major ethnicities of Malaysian population and to evaluate its association with hypodontia of other teeth.
Materials & Methods:Panoramic radiographs of 1514 Malaysian children were examined for the presence or absence of M3 and other class of teeth. The frequency of M3 agenesis was calculated by ethnic group, gender, tooth location along with its association with hypodontia of other teeth. Comparison between groups was done using the Chi-square test at a level of significance of 0.05
Results:The prevalence of one or more M3 agenesis in Malaysian population was 20.1%. The prevalence of M3 agenesis was highest among the Malaysian Malays (22.6%) compared to the Chinese (21.3%) and Indians (17.2%). Agenesis of M3 showed an overall greater predilection for the maxillary arch (21%) than the mandibular arch (17.1%). Patients with M3 agenesis were more prone to have hypodontia of other teeth (15.36%) when compared to patients who have third molars (4.06%).
Conclusion:Malaysian Malays and Chinese had a higher prevalence of M3 agenesis than Malaysian Indian. Hypodontia of other teeth was more prevalent in patient with M3 agenesis, hence, proving an inter-relationship between M3 agenesis and hypodontia among other class of teeth.