Relationship between oral health-related quality of life and the position of the lower third molar: postoperative follow-up

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2012 Apr;70(4):779-86. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2011.09.034. Epub 2011 Dec 16.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to verify possible associations between oral health-related quality of life (QoL) and the position of the lower third molar among patients undergoing lower third molar surgery during the first postoperative week.

Materials and methods: We performed an interventional prospective study of 86 patients for whom the preoperative treatment plan included the removal of 2 third molar teeth from the same side in a 1-time procedure. The patients were divided into 2 groups depending on the position of the lower third molar. QoL was evaluated before and after the surgical procedure (during the first 7 days) with the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP) 14 questionnaire. Data were treated according to Stata 10.0 (StataCorp, College Station, TX). Variables were evaluated by use of split-plot analysis of variance for the repeated-measures analysis to identify the association between QoL and the position of the lower third molar.

Results: Patients can have deterioration in their QoL immediately after surgery, especially during the first and second postoperative days, and subsequently show rapid improvement. The variation in the total OHIP score during the days after surgery was significant, whereas a decrease in QoL was observed immediately after the procedure (P = .001), which returned to initial value (preoperative) levels after the sixth postoperative day. The OHIP domains with higher scores (ie, those that had an impact) were physical pain, psychological discomfort, and physical disability (domains 2, 3, and 4, respectively).

Conclusions: Teeth considered to be associated with technical difficulties for extraction based on their position had a higher score on the OHIP-14 questionnaire and worse health-related QoL score. QoL outcomes may be as important as clinical signs in decisions regarding third molar extractions.

MeSH terms

  • Disabled Persons / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molar, Third / diagnostic imaging
  • Molar, Third / surgery*
  • Oral Health*
  • Pain, Postoperative / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Radiography, Panoramic
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tooth Extraction* / psychology
  • Tooth, Impacted / diagnostic imaging
  • Tooth, Impacted / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult