Methods: 60 Subjects with pericoronitis affecting at least 1 mandibular 3rd molar were recruited for an IRB-approved study between 2006 and 2011, with follow-up at least three months after 3rd molar removal.
Inclusion criteria were ASA I-II, 18-35 years of age, with minor symptoms of pericoronitis affecting at least one mandibular 3rd molar. Subjects with major symptoms of pericoronitis, generalized periodontal disease, BMI >29, taking antibiotics, or using tobacco were excluded.
Clinical, demographic, and QOL data were collected at enrollment. Gross debris was then removed from the symptomatic 3rd molar sites. No attempt was made to mechanically remove all non-sheddable biofilm. No antibiotics were prescribed. Subjects were recalled and QOL data colleted at least three months after 3rd molar removal: a condition-specific QOL instrument with 3 domains (lifestyle, function, and pain) and the Gracely Scale.
Results: Median age was 21.9 years (IQ 20.2-24.7 years). Median post-surgery follow-up was 7.7 months (IQR 6.0-12.4 mo.). The percent of subjects reporting worst pain as severe decreased from 32% at enrollment to 3% post-surgery. Subjects responding none for worst pain increased 10% to 78%. Fifteen percent of subjects reported pain intensity as “nothing”, “faint” or “very weak” at enrollment increasing to 96% post-surgery. A third of subjects reported the unpleasantness of pain as “neutral”, “slightly unpleasant”, or “slightly annoying” at enrollment increasing to 96% post-surgery. Twenty two percent and 18% of subjects at enrollment, but less than 2% post-surgery, reported “quite a bit” or “lots of difficulty” with eating desired foods and chewing foods.
Conclusions: Removal of 3rd molars positively influenced quality of life outcomes in subjects who presented with minor symptoms of pericoronitis of at least 1 mandibular 3rd molar.
Keywords: Oral surgery, Pericoronitis, Quality of life, Surgery and Teeth