Healthy subjects scheduled for removal of third molars were recruited at multiple sites for this study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Each patient was given a condition-specific questionnaire to be completed each postsurgery day for 14 days. Lifestyle and oral-function recovery were assessed by using a five-point Likert-type scale. Recovery was defined as the number of days until the patient reported no or little trouble. Recovery from pain was defined as the number of days until no medications were taken.
A total of 958 subjects treated at nine academic centers and 12 community practices were enrolled. Except for ability to open the mouth, recovery for all quality-of-life items for those 21 years or older significantly (p < 0.02) lagged behind recovery for younger subjects. Recovery for female subjects was significantly longer than for male subjects for all outcomes (p < 0.01).
"Patients older than 21 and those who are female should be informed before removal of all four third molars that their oral function, lifestyle, and pain recovery will be prolonged compared with those who are younger and male," the researchers concluded.
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