Retromolar canals and mandibular third molar position: Is there a possible connection?

Demire O., AKBULUT A.

Journal of the Anatomical Society of India, vol.71, no.1, pp.47-53, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 71 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.4103/jasi.jasi_194_20
  • Journal Name: Journal of the Anatomical Society of India
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.47-53
  • Keywords: Impaction, mandibular third molar, retromolar canal, retromolar foramen
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Introduction: The retromolar canal (RMC) is an anatomical variation of the posterior part of the mandibular canal. It is thought that this variation is related to histological vestiges of the gubernacular canal and RMC presence may be associated with mandibular third molar (MTM) malposition. This study aims to investigate the relationship between MTM position and RMC existence. Material and Methods: Patients who had undergone cone-beam computed tomography examination for various purposes were included in the study. All of the patients had unilateral or bilateral MTM teeth. MTM impaction patterns were classified according to Winter and Pell-Gregory classifications. RMC existence, type, retromolar foramen (RMF) position, RMF dimensions, and distance from RMF to second and third molars were recorded. Results: Three hundred and forty-six retromolar areas with MTM of 244 patients were evaluated. RMCs were present in 11.5% of the patients. No statistically significant relationship between RMC and MTM impaction patterns was observed. A1-type RMC was found to be the most prevalent. The mean distance from RMF to the third molar was 6.09 ± 4.20 mm and was found to be higher in male patients. The mean distance from RMF to the second molar was 15.28 ± 4.73 mm. The average dimensions of the RMF were 1.4 ± 0.47 mm. Discussion and Conclusion: RMC is a relatively common anatomical variation of the mandibular canal. Although no correlation was observed between MTM impaction pattern and RMC existence, further research including more samples may be helpful to explain a possible correlation.