The Sense of Taste After Extracting Wisdom Teeth

A recent study showed that wisdom teeth extraction improved taste. In other words, the ability to taste had improved decades after the surgery.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine conducted the study. Previously, findings indicated only negative effects on taste from wisdom tooth extraction. However, Science Daily reported on the recent study results.

Details of the Study Showing that Wisdom Teeth Extraction Improved Taste

The researchers evaluated data from 1,255 patients. They had taken part in a chemosensory evaluation over the course of 20 years. Moreover, the study divided patients into two categories:

  • 891 patients had received wisdom teeth extractions
  • 364 patients had not received wisdom teeth extraction

The test involved tasting substances with five different concentrations:

  • Sucrose
  • Salt
  • Citric acid
  • Caffeine

The patient sipped each solution, swished it around in their mouth and spit it out. Next, patients had to indicate whether the solution tasted sweet, salty, sour or bitter.

The wisdom teeth extraction group showed improved taste over the group with no extraction. And, women outperformed men. The enhanced taste showed a 3-10 percent improved ability.

Explanations for Enhanced Tasting Ability

Researchers suggested that various factors related to the enhanced taste.

It’s possible that taste buds in the front of the mouth compensated for damaged nerves in the rear of the mouth. This increased overall sensitivity.

Also, hypersensitivity after nerve injury from extraction is common. Animal studies showed repetitive light touch can gradually increase neural response. This resulted in hypersensitivity. The light touch, in this case, would be chewing.

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