Do systemic antibiotics prevent dry socket and infection after third molar extraction? A systematic review and meta-analysis

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The use of antibiotics to prevent dry socket and infection is a controversial but widespread practice. The aim of the study is to assess the efficacy of systemic antibiotics in reducing the frequencies of these complications after extraction.

Study Design.

A systematic review and meta-analysis, according to the PRISMA statement, based on randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials evaluating systemic antibiotics to prevent dry socket and infection after third molar surgery. Databases were searched up to June 2015. Relative risks (RRs) were calculated with inverse variance-weighted, fixed-effect, or random-effect models.


We included 22 papers in the qualitative and 21 in the quantitative review (3304 extractions). Overall-RR was 0.43 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.33–0.56; P < .0001); number needed to treat, 14 (95% CI 11–19). Penicillins-RR: 0.40 (95% CI 0.27–0.59). Nitroimidazoles-RR: 0.56 (95% CI 0.38–0.82). No serious adverse events were reported.


Systemic antibiotics significantly reduce the risk of dry socket and infection in third molar extraction.

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