To determine the incidence of atypical odontalgia/chronic neuropathic pain subsequent to surgical removal of impacted third molars, a telephone survey and a clinical investigation were carried out. Patients operated on for impacted mandibular third molars during 1994 96 in the Oral Surgery Clinic. School of Dentistry, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway, were contacted by telephone. Answers were obtained from 1035 (71%) out of a total of 1458 operated patients. Median observation time was 5 years 9 months, ranging from 4 years 5 months to 6 years 9 months. All except 23 (2.2%) patients stated that they had no long-term symptoms or problems from the surgical site, jaw, or face after the third molar removal. These 23 patients were all examined clinically and radiologically, and symptoms and findings were evaluated. Seventeen patients had TMJ dysfunction: primarily pain of muscular and joint origin. Three patients had a periodontal problem associated with the adjacent second molar, with deep bony pockets and recurrent periodontal infection while two had chronic pulpitis of a second molar. One patient reported a temporary maxillary pain after removal of an ipsilateral mandibular third molar. None of the patients met the criteria for a diagnosis of atypical odontalgia/neuropathic pain. A 95% confidence interval of 0-0.38% of incidence rate of postoperative neuropathic pain was calculated. It is concluded that atypical odontalgia/ chronic neuropathic pain subsequent to surgical third molar removal is rare.