Lon Hinckley is currently a 3rd year oral and maxillofacial surgery resident at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He received his DDS degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry in 2016. His current research involves 3rd molar autotransplantation in pediatric patients.
It is well documented in the literature that the autotransplantation of teeth is a clinically successful procedure given the right indications. Currently, the literature is lacking in studies specifically addressing immature third molar to first molar autotransplantation. Without transplant, the patient would need mechanical space maintenance after loss of the first molar. Although mechanical space maintenance is an option, these prosthetics are not esthetic, they do not preserve hard and soft tissue, they do not provide proprioception, and orthodontic treatment is most assuredly needed in the future. By providing esthetics, bone and soft tissue preservation, proprioception and reducing the need for possible future orthodontic treatment, autotransplantation is clearly advantageous to the patient long term. The goals of this study are to evaluate if this surgery is a successful option for replacement of a first molar, occlusal space and alveolar bone maintenance and to provide the background for future studies. Our central hypothesis is that autotransplantation of an immature third molar to a first molar recipient site (using a specifically defined pre-operative, surgical, and post-operative protocol with a multidisciplinary approach) will be a successful alternative to extraction with or without other forms of space maintenance.