The National Wisdom Tooth Study

Title  The National Wisdom Tooth Study (previously the Third Molar Study)
Study Type Longitudinal Study
Status  In progress – Service Evaluation
Funding  Saving Faces – The Facial Surgery Research Foundation
Ethics TBC

For clinicians – click here for further instructions on how to join this study


Coronectomy is the process of a removal of the lower wisdom tooth (mandibular third molar) which leaves the roots in place. It is an alternative to complete surgical extraction removal of the tooth. Coronectomies have been shown to reduce the incidence of nerve injury in wisdom teeth that are in close proximity to the inferior alveolar nerve, which provides sensation to the lower lip, chin, gums and teeth. Researchers have reported that up to 14-16% of lower third molars are near the nerve, but there is no consensus regarding the prevalence of undesirable side effects of both coronectomy and complete surgical removal.

In September 2017, NFORC designed and circulated an online survey to collect the current views and practices of mandibular third molar management amongst the members of the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (BAOMS) who had indicated dentoalveolar surgery as part of their routine surgical remit. This project was led by Consultant OMFS, Mr Geoff Chiu and maxillofacial trainee, Dr Ahmed Omran, who had initiated this project at the NFORC Trainee Collaborative Research Summit in 2016. A total of 289 members responded to the survey. The results have been analysed and the manuscript of the study is under review for publication.

NFORC is also planning to develop a National Third Molar Registry and a prospective longitudinal study on the treatment of lower wisdom teeth, with the support of Mr Geoff Chiu. It will assess which treatment option has the best outcome to determine the optimal approach to use in a clinical setting. This study will specifically collect data on high risk lower third molars treated with either coronectomy or complete surgical removal.

Who manages the study?

The project is co-ordinated by Saving Faces – The Facial Surgery Research Foundation and The National Facial and Oral Research Centre (NFORC), a branch of Saving Faces.

NFORC Director
Prof Iain Hutchison

Chief Investigators

Mr Geoff Chiu, Sub Specialist Interest Group Lead for Dento-alveolar and Oral Surgery for BAOMS and Consultant in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Prof Paul Coulthard (Co-Chief Investigator), Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery & Honorary Consultant in Oral Surgery with Barts Health NHS Trust – BAOS

Clinical Research Manager
Fran Ridout

For further information, please contact Fran Ridout.


For clinicians – Click here for further instructions and links to help us collect data for the National Wisdom Tooth Study