Comparative Effects of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, Cryotherapy and Placebo on Pain, Swelling and Trismus Following Third Molar Tooth Extraction

  • Prof. Matthew OB Olaogun, PT, MSc, FNSP Dept. of Medical Rehab., Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  • G E Parkins
  • E R Addo
  • D Avogo
  • K Appiah-Kubi
Keywords: TENS, Cryotherapy, Placebo, Pain, Swelling, Trismus


Background & Objective: This study compared the therapeutic effects of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), Cryotherapy and Placebo on pain, swelling and trismus following surgical extraction of the third molar tooth.

Methods: Eighteen (18) patients who underwent surgical extraction of the impacted tooth were randomly assigned into three groups- TENS, Cryotherapy and Placebo. Following the surgery, a standard form of TENS was applied over the painful area of cheek for TENS group, Ice was applied directly over the painful area for Cryotherapy group. The TENS machine was detuned while electrodes were applied on the painful sides of the cheek for Placebo group. The pre-operative, pre and post physiotherapy treatment pain ratings, swelling and mouth opening were monitored in each group and the results were compared. Data were analyzed with ANOVA, Turkey's Post-Hoc and t-tests. Level of significance used was 0.05.

Results: There was significant reduction in pain in all the groups. TENS and Cryotherapy were more effective in pain modulation than Placebo treatment. Significant reduction in trismus was also demonstrated in the TENS and Cryotherapy over the placebo group (P<0.05). Apart from the placebo treatment, the result did not show significant changes (p>0.05) in swelling resolution.

Conclusion: TENS and Cryotherapy were more effective than Placebo treatment in pain modulation and relief of trismus following dental surgery. Therefore the choice between TENS and Cryotherapy should be based on larger number of patients are suggested to evaluate the effect on swelling resolution.


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How to Cite
Olaogun, PT, MSc, FNSP, P. M. O., Parkins, G. E., Addo, E. R., Avogo, D., & Appiah-Kubi, K. (2012). Comparative Effects of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, Cryotherapy and Placebo on Pain, Swelling and Trismus Following Third Molar Tooth Extraction. Nigerian Journal of Medical Rehabilitation, 15(1 and 2), 38-43. and 2.57
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