Primary and secondary closure of the surgical wound after removal of impacted mandibular third molars: a comparative study

Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2005 Jan;34(1):52-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijom.2004.01.023.


Primary and secondary closure techniques after removal of impacted third molars were compared in terms of post-operative pain and swelling. Two hundred patients with impacted third molars were randomly divided into two groups of 100. Panoramic radiographs were taken to assess degree of eruption and angulation of third molars. Teeth were extracted, and in Group 1 the socket was closed by hermetically suturing the flap. In Group 2 a 5-6 mm wedge of mucosa adjacent to the second molar was removed to obtain secondary healing. Swelling and pain were evaluated for 7 days after surgery with the VAS scale. The statistical analysis (*analysis of variance for repeated measures, P < 0.05) showed that pain was greater in Group 1, although it decreased over time similarly in the two groups (P = 0.081, F(6,198) = 3.073*). Swelling was significantly worse in Group 1 (P < 0.001, F(6,198) = 44.30*). In Group 1, dehiscence of the mucosa was present in 33% of patients at day 7, and 2% showed signs of re-infection with suppurative alveolitis at 30 days. Pain and swelling were less severe with secondary healing than with primary healing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Edema / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandible
  • Molar, Third / surgery*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / etiology
  • Suture Techniques / adverse effects
  • Tooth Extraction / adverse effects*
  • Tooth Extraction / methods*
  • Tooth, Impacted / surgery*