Objective: To describe and characterize the set of signs and symptoms used to evaluate postoperative complications in third-molar surgery.
Methods: Descriptive study. A search was made on reference database ISI-Web of Knowledge for main authors (White RP, Phillips C, Dodson TB and Gay-Escoda C) related to third-molar surgery published over the last decade. We included items with following topic sentences: “third-molar surgery”, “complications” or “postoperative”. We excluded diagnostic tests articles, quality of life measuring surveys and letters to the editor.
Results: We find 47 papers of which 25 (53.2%) were included in our full-text analysis. In total there were 38 different types of signs and symptoms to be evaluated. The most frequent term was “nerve injury” and “swelling” (13.1%) followed by “local alveolitis”, “pain” and “surgical site infection” (10.5%). However, there is no consistency in the definition of variables such as “surgical site infection”, “supuration”, “dry socket”, “exposing bone” or “local alveolitis”.
Conclusion: There is a wide variety of signs and symptoms to be measured as complications of third-molar surgery. Despite the impact of articles and their findings, there is no unification of criteria to define each variable. We suggest the creation of a scale to measure signs and symptoms to determine the complication level in third-molar surgery.
Conflict of interest : None declared.