this study investigated the immunodetection of ptch in epithelial components of dental follicles associated with impacted third molars without radiographic signs of pathosis. one hundred and five specimens of dental follicles associated with impacted third molars with incomplete rhizogenesis (between nolla's stage 6 and 9) were surgically removed from 56 patients. epithelial cell proliferation was determined by using immunohistochemical labeling. statistical analysis was performed using fisher exact test and a level of significance of 5%. of the 105 dental follicles collected, 3 were ptch-positive. the specimens with squamous metaplasia and epithelial hyperplasia had higher rates of positivity for ptch, as well as those with active remnants of odontogenic epithelium. this study suggests that the odontogenic cells of the dental follicle might be proliferating during the rhizogenesis, while the squamous metaplasia and hyperplasia of the epithelial lining and proliferative odontogenic epithelial rests show the differentiation potential of dental follicles.