Background: The aim of this split-mouth, randomized, placebo-controlled, and triple-blind study was to evaluate whether auriculotherapy had any effect on the post-operative course after the extraction of third molars in terms of the control of pain, edema, and trismus.
Materials and methods: The study included 42 patients (84 teeth) who had undergone a surgical extraction of the lower third molars. In each patient, the two extractions were randomly assigned to two study groups. In the therapy group, the patients underwent auriculotherapy with vaccaria seeds applied with patches in 6 ear points. In the control group, the patches were applied, without seeds, to the same ear points. After the extraction, the patients were asked to stimulate the ear points three times a day and whenever they felt pain. The patients were asked to keep a diary in which they assessed their pain by means of the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for 8 days. Edema and trismus were assessed 1, 2, 3, and 8 days after surgery.
Results: The differences between the two groups were statistically significant at the 12-h control (auriculotherapy group (AG) VAS 5.5 [IQR 4.25-6.75], placebo group (PG) VAS 6 [IQR 5-8], p = 0.040), after 24 h (AG VAS 5 [IQR 4-6], PG VAS 6 [IQR 4.25-7], p = 0.024), after 2 days (AG VAS 4 [IQR 3-5], PG VAS 4.5 [IQR 4-6], p = 0.044), and after 3 days (AG VAS 3 [IQR 0-5], PG VAS 4 [IQR 3-5], p = 0.024). Throughout the observation period, the AG took a significantly lower number of painkillers than the PG (AG 6 [IQR 4.25-7]; PG 8 [IQR 8-9], p < 0.001). There were no significant differences in the levels of edema and trismus between the two groups throughout the observation period.
Conclusions: On the basis of the results of the present study, auriculotherapy can be considered as a cost-effective adjuvant pain reliever treatment in patients undergoing an extraction of the lower third molars.