Well-designed and managed randomised controlled trials (RCTs) regarding the management of third molars which incorporate a sufficiently large sample population to detect clinically important differences have not been carried out. It has been suggested that large scale studies in regions of the world with poor provision of oral health care might help determine the level of pathology associated with unerupted third molars in different age groups. However, given the multiple variables which affect populations in different parts of the world, it is doubtful whether such an approach would inform surgical practice in the UK.
The outcome of a prospective international large multicentre trial over five years may provide valuable information but meaningful data is likely to take many years to emerge.
In the absence of well designed RCTs and given the difficulties in conducting such studies in a large number of centres in the UK, the guideline development group has suggested a number of areas where well defined research or audit studies could reveal significant information.
The following research/audit projects would provide valuable information to support the future development of this guideline: