Evaluation of postoperative analgesic effect of auricular acupuncture therapy after surgical extraction of mandibular third molar

Original Research


Introduction: Removing the third molar is a common dental surgery that often results in swelling and discomfort, impacting the patient's wellbeing. Previous studies have shown that auricular acupuncture (AA) can effectively alleviate pain after surgery. This study aimed to assess the pain-relieving benefits of AA for patients undergoing third molar surgery.

Methods: A clinical trial using a split-mouth design and double-blind methodology was conducted at the Dental Clinic of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh city between March 2022 and March 2023. Participants had both sides of their third molars extracted, with one side receiving AA in combination with postoperative pain relief medication, and the other side receiving sham AA along with postoperative pain relief medication. Pain levels at 2, 24, 48, and 72 hours after surgery, and the amount of pain medication used was recorded. Additionally, any side effects resulting from the AA treatment were also evaluated.

Results: The pain levels measured by the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) decreased over time for both intervention periods after surgery, with statistically significant lower VAS scores observed in the AA time compared to the sham AA time. The amount of 500mg/tablet paracetamol used after the intervention also decreased over time for both periods. At all-time points, the amount of paracetamol used in the AA group was lower than the sham AA group. No adverse effects were reported in either group.

Conclusions: AA was effective for relieving pain after madibular third molar surgery and reducing amount of paracetamol tablets.

Graphical abstract