• 1 Department of Prosthodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, Melaka-Manipal Medical College, Jalan Batu Hampar, Melaka, Malaysia, 75150
PMID: 27231038 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD011784.pub2


BACKGROUND: An oro-antral communication is an unnatural opening between the oral cavity and maxillary sinus. When it fails to close spontaneously, it remains patent and is epithelialized to develop into an oro-antral fistula. Various surgical and non-surgical techniques have been used for treating the condition. Surgical procedures include flaps, grafts and other techniques like re-implantation of third molars. Non-surgical techniques include allogenic materials and xenografts.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness and safety of various interventions for the treatment of oro-antral communications and fistulae due to dental procedures.

SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Oral Health Group's Trials Register (whole database, to 3 July 2015), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library, 2015, Issue 6), MEDLINE via OVID (1946 to 3 July 2015), EMBASE via OVID (1980 to 3 July 2015), US National Institutes of Health Trials Registry ( (whole database, to 3 July 2015) and the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform ( (whole database, to 3 July 2015). We also searched the reference lists of included and excluded trials for any randomised controlled trials (RCTs).

SELECTION CRITERIA: We included RCTs evaluating any intervention for treating oro-antral communications or oro-antral fistulae due to dental procedures. We excluded quasi-RCTs and cross-over trials. We excluded studies on participants who had oro-antral communications, fistulae or both related to Caldwell-Luc procedure or surgical excision of tumours.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently selected trials. Two review authors assessed trial risk of bias and extracted data independently. We estimated risk ratios (RR) for dichotomous data, with 95% confidence intervals (CI). We assessed the overall quality of the evidence using the GRADE approach.

MAIN RESULTS: We included only one study in this review, which compared two surgical interventions: pedicled buccal fat pad flap and buccal flap for the treatment of oro-antral communications. The study involved 20 participants. The risk of bias was unclear. The relevant outcome reported in this trial was successful (complete) closure of oro-antral communication.The quality of the evidence for the primary outcome was very low. The study did not find evidence of a difference between interventions for the successful (complete) closure of an oro-antral communication (RR 1.00, 95% Cl 0.83 to 1.20) one month after the surgery. All oro-antral communications in both groups were successfully closed so there were no adverse effects due to treatment failure.We did not find trials evaluating any other intervention for treating oro-antral communications or fistulae due to dental procedures.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: We found very low quality evidence from a single small study that compared pedicled buccal fat pad and buccal flap. The evidence was insufficient to judge whether there is a difference in the effectiveness of these interventions as all oro-antral communications in the study were successfully closed by one month after surgery. Large, well-conducted RCTs investigating different interventions for the treatment of oro-antral communications and fistulae caused by dental procedures are needed to inform clinical practice.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.