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Pulling Wisdom Teeth Can Improve Long-Term Taste Function

July 2, 2021
by Penn Medicine News


Patients who had their wisdom teeth extracted had improved tasting abilities decades after having the surgery, a new Penn Medicine study published in the journal Chemical Senses found. The findings challenge the notion that removal of wisdom teeth, known as third molars, only has the potential for negative effects on taste, and represent one of the first studies to analyze the long-term effects of extraction on taste.

“Prior studies have only pointed to adverse effects on taste after extraction and it has been generally believed that those effects dissipate over time,” said senior author Richard L. Doty, PhD, director of the Smell and Taste Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “This new study shows us that taste function can actually slightly improve between the time patients have surgery and up to 20 years later. It’s a surprising but fascinating finding that deserves further investigation to better understand why it’s enhanced and what it may mean clinically.”

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