Purpose: To assess the impact of symptomatic pericoronitis on health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
Patients and methods: Healthy subjects with symptomatic pericoronitis were enrolled in an institutional review board-approved study. Each was given a third molar condition-specific HRQOL instrument to assess the impact of pericoronitis in the preceding week. Lifestyle and oral-function outcomes were assessed using a 5-point Likert-type scale, with anchors of "no trouble" (1) and "lots of trouble" (5). Pain outcomes were assessed using a 7-point scale anchored by "no pain" (1) and "worst pain imaginable" (7). Verbal descriptors for sensory perception and unpleasantness of pain were recorded on Gracely scales. The impact of symptomatic pericoronitis on overall health and well-being in the previous 3 months was recorded using the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14).
Results: The median age of 57 subjects was 23.1 years (interquartile range [IQR], 21.2 to 25.8 years). Forty-nine percent were female, 56% were Caucasian, 21% were Asian, and 16% were African American. Ninety-one percent had at least some college experience. Twenty-eight percent of subjects described their worst pain in the week before enrollment as severe (5-7/7), 40% as moderate (3-4/7), and 32% as none/little (1-2/7). Average pain in the previous week was described as severe (5-7/7) for 4% of subjects, as moderate (3-4/7) for 40%, and as none/little (1-2/7) for 56%. On the Gracely scales, 9% of subjects reported the sensory intensity of pain in the past week as "intense," "very intense," or "extremely intense." Subjects reported "quite a bit/lots" of difficulty (4-5/5) with oral function (23% with eating, 19% with chewing, and 6% with opening) and "quite a bit/lots" of difficulty (4-5/5) with lifestyle (sleeping, social life, and sports/hobby, all at 2%). The median OHIP-14 Severity score was 11/56 (IQR, 5-17). The most frequently reported OHIP-14 items in the 3 months before enrollment were in the pain dimensions. The median Severity score for pain items was 4/8 (IQR, 2-6).
Conclusion: Symptomatic pericoronitis can have adverse outcomes, compromising the quality of life and inflicting pain.