Replacement therapy utilising autotransplanted wisdom teeth
Guthua, Symon W.
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Loss of 1st and 2nd molars among adolescents due to dental caries is not uncommon in developing countries. Whilst their replacement is indicated, conventional methods of treatment, namely, bridging and dentures are in most cases inaccessible because of prohibitive cost. Given that it is in the same age group that diagnosis of unfavourably embedded wisdom teeth becomes feasible, autotransplantation of the latter to replace the unsalvageable 1st and 2nd molars could be an alternative treatment. Available literature suggests a success rate of over 82% based on follow-up studies of over ten years. Observations at the Dental School Clinic of the University of Nairobi, Kenya, indicate that the time it takes the transplant to 'take' and assume its functional position is 4 to 8 weeks and 2.5 to 3.5 months respectively. Since the method is relatively straightforward, we are of the view that training undergraduates and practising dental surgeons in this technique should enhance utilisation of otherwise "useless" teeth to replace the lost 1st and 2nd molars in occlusal rehabilitation