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. 2018 Apr;76(4):700-708.
doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2017.12.001. Epub 2017 Dec 12.

Do Postoperative Antibiotics Decrease the Frequency of Inflammatory Complications Following Third Molar Removal?


Do Postoperative Antibiotics Decrease the Frequency of Inflammatory Complications Following Third Molar Removal?

Andrew J Morrow et al. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. .


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to answer the following clinical question: among patients who have their third molars (M3s) removed, do those who receive only postoperative antibiotics compared with those who receive no perioperative antibiotics have a lower frequency of postoperative inflammatory complications?

Materials and methods: The authors designed and implemented a prospective cohort study and enrolled a sample of patients who had at least 1 M3 removed in an ambulatory private practice setting from June 2011 through May 2012 by oral and maxillofacial surgeons participating in a practice-based research collaborative. The predictor variable was postoperative antibiotic use categorized as postoperative antibiotics alone or no antibiotics. The primary outcome variable was the presence or absence of an inflammatory complication (ie, alveolar osteitis or surgical site infection) after M3 removal. Descriptive, bivariate, and multiple logistic regression statistics (adjusted for clustering within surgical practices) were computed to measure the association between postoperative antibiotic use alone and inflammatory complications after M3 removal, with statistical significance set at a P value less than or equal to .05.

Results: The study sample was composed of 1,877 patients having 5,631 M3s removed, of which 61% received postoperative antibiotics only. The overall inflammatory complication frequencies in the groups receiving postoperative antibiotic only and no antibiotic were 4.3 and 7.5%, respectively (P = .003). After adjusting for differences between the 2 study groups and clustering of patients within surgical practices, postoperative antibiotic use was associated with a 40% decreased risk of developing postoperative inflammatory complications (P = .04) with marginal statistical significance.

Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that postoperative antibiotic therapy is associated with a statistically meaningful decreased risk of inflammatory complications after M3 removal compared with no antibiotic therapy.

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