Quality of life change in patients on the third molar surgery waiting list at Tygerberg Oral Health Centre
Aim: To assess the change in the quality of life of patients while on the third molar surgery waiting list. Introduction: A large number of patients routinely present at the Tygerberg Oral Health Centre for removal of symptomatic impacted third molars. This results in many patients being placed on a surgical waiting list. In addition, many patients who have been placed on this waiting list return for adjunctive interventions, indicating a possible decrease in Quality of Life (QoL) over the waiting period. Numerous studies document post-surgery changes in QoL in patients that have had third molars removed. Many other studies detail QoL changes in patients awaiting orthopaedic and general surgery procedures. However, no study could be found that dealt with changes in QoL while awaiting third molar surgery. Materials and Methods: This is a prospective questionnaire-based study. It compares QoL at the beginning and the end of the waiting period for the removal of impacted third molars in order to determine whether a change in QoL occurs during the waiting period. The study sample was made up of 48 patients who met the inclusion criteria. Results: The present study shows that patients presenting with symptomatic impacted third molars have a decreased QoL at baseline, which further deteriorates over the waiting period. Although the overall change is negative, it is not statistically significant. This suggests that the null hypothesis cannot be excluded, and that it is therefore acceptable for patients to be managed on a waiting list. Conclusion: Third molar surgery results in a greater decrease in mental than physical wellbeing. The results in this study regarding a negative change in QoL was found not to be statistically significant. Only three out of 48 patients required emergency intervention. It can thus be concluded that placing patients on a waiting list for third molar surgery is acceptable.