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Maxillary Third Molar Tooth
Skeletal System

Maxillary Third Molar Tooth

Dens molaris tertius maxillaris

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Quick Facts

Location: Distal to maxillary second molar tooth.

Eruption: 17 to 21 years (permanent).

Key Features: Crown, root, cusps and marginal ridges.

Nerve Supply: Superior dental plexus.

Arterial Supply: Posterior superior alveolar arteries.

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Key Features & Anatomical Relations

The maxillary third molar tooth is one of the three molar teeth that are found in a quadrant of the maxillary dental arcade. It includes the following bony features:

- parts: crown, root, and cervical line;

- surfaces: buccal, lingual, mesial, distal, and occlusal surfaces;

- landmarks: mesiobuccal, mesiolingual, distobuccal, and distolingual cusps, and marginal ridges.

The maxillary third molar tooth is located distal to the maxillary second molar tooth and is the most distal tooth in a quadrant of the maxillary dental arcade.

The root of the maxillary third molar tooth is lodged in a dental alveolus of the maxilla.


The permanent maxillary third molar tooth does not have a deciduous precursor. It undergoes calcification during the seventh to ninth years, with the development of the crown being completed during the twelfth to sixteenth years. Eruption of this tooth occurs during the seventeenth to twenty-first years and the development of the root is completed during the eighteenth to twenty-fifth years (Nelson, 2014).


As with all molars, the maxillary third molar tooth has cusped surfaces and is specialized for the crushing or grinding (comminution) of food during mastication.


Nelson, S. J. (2014) Wheeler's Dental Anatomy, Physiology and Occlusion. 10th edn.: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Maxillary Third Molar

ScienceDirect image

If removing maxillary third molars during orthognathic procedures, preferably remove them after mobilization of the maxilla to minimize the risk of unfavorable fracture in the tuberosity region.

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