Third molar surgery: Past, present, and the future

Jose S. Sifuentes-Cervantes, Francisco Carrillo-Morales, Jaime Castro-Núñez, Larry L. Cunningham, Joseph E. Van Sickels

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Third molar surgery is the most common ambulatory procedure done by oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Surgical approaches for the removal of third molars have been published since the 20th century. This article reviews the history and development of extraction techniques through a literature review. The literature was selected through a search of an electronic database. Key words for the Medline search were “mandibular/maxillary third molar,” “impacted mandibular/maxillary third molar,” “mandibular/maxillary third molar flap design,” and “mandibular/maxillary third molar incision.” The search was restricted to English-language articles. Additionally, a manual search in the major oral surgery journals and books was performed. The aim of this article is to examine the evolution of third molar surgery, recognize pioneering techniques, and compare these techniques to current approaches. Common approaches employed today are discussed and treatment philosophies with thoughts for future therapies are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-531
Number of pages9
JournalOral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Dentistry (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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