Clinical investigation of gustatory and neurosensory alterations following mandibular third molar surgery: an observational prospective study

  • Assis Filipe Medeiros Albuquerque
  • Eduardo Costa Studart Soares
  • Paulo Goberlânio de Barros Silva
  • Barbara Betty de Lima
  • Francisco Samuel Rodrigues Carvalho
  • Thyciana Rodrigues Ribeiro
  • Davi de Sá Cavalcante
  • Fábio Wildson Gurgel CostaEmail author
Original Article



This study aimed to prospectively observe gustatory and neurosensory alterations following surgical removal of mandibular third molars.

Material and methods

A prospective clinical study was conducted with patients who required mandibular third molar extraction, recruited from the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Federal University of Ceará (Brazil). Age, sex, and radiographic signs were recorded. The outcome variables were the presence or absence of gustatory and neurosensory alterations. The patients were observed preoperatively and at 7, 30, 90, and 180 days postoperatively by using gustatory and neurosensory tests.


The response to sweet (p = 0.509) and sour (p = 0.078) stimulus did not alter significantly over time. The salty threshold significantly increased from the preoperative to 7- and 30-day postoperative periods, returning to baseline values at 90 days postoperatively (p = 0.038). The bitter threshold increased significantly from the preoperative to 7-day postoperative period, returning to baseline values at 30 days after surgery (p < 0.001). Regarding neurosensory evaluation, there was an altered response to stimulus at 7 days postoperatively in specific studied areas, returning to baseline values 30 days after surgery (p < 0.05).


The present study shows that mandibular third molar removal was associated with slight sensory disturbances related to mechanical, tactile, and gustatory perception. Regarding the recovery period, all patients returned to normal function without intervention, over a period ranging from 30 to 90 days.

Clinical relevance

This study highlighted the importance of a sensory evaluation following removal of third molars, notably regarding mechanical perception and gustatory threshold assessment.


Neurosensory testing Peripheral nerve injuries Third molars Wisdom tooth 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Walter Cantídio University Hospital (WCUH) No. 983. 983.130130 and was held in accordance with the Helsinki statements.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Assis Filipe Medeiros Albuquerque
    • 1
  • Eduardo Costa Studart Soares
    • 2
    • 3
  • Paulo Goberlânio de Barros Silva
    • 4
  • Barbara Betty de Lima
    • 5
  • Francisco Samuel Rodrigues Carvalho
    • 2
  • Thyciana Rodrigues Ribeiro
    • 6
  • Davi de Sá Cavalcante
    • 7
  • Fábio Wildson Gurgel Costa
    • 8
    • 9
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeryUNIFORFortalezaBrazil
  2. 2.Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, School of DentistryFederal University of CearáFortalezaBrazil
  3. 3.Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Walter Cantídio University HospitalFederal University of CearáFortalezaBrazil
  4. 4.Division of Oral PathologyUNICHRISTUSFortalezaBrazil
  5. 5.Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Walter Cantídio University HospitalFederal University of CearáFortalezaBrazil
  6. 6.Division of Clinical Dentistry, Postgraduate Program in Dentistry, School of DentistryFederal University of CearáFortalezaBrazil
  7. 7.Division of Oral Radiology, School of DentistryFederal University of CearáFortalezaBrazil
  8. 8.Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Postgraduate Program in Dentistry, School of DentistryFederal University of CearáFortalezaBrazil
  9. 9.Department of Dental Clinic, School of DentistryFederal University of CearáFortalezaBrazil

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