This study was designed to further our understanding of recovery after third molar surgery by using 2 instruments to measure quality of life outcomes, the more global Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14), and the condition-specific Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) instrument. Clinical and quality of life data pre- and postsurgery from 63 patients with all 4 third molars below the occlusal plane, treated with topical minocycline during third molar surgery to reduce the incidence of delayed clinical healing, were available for analyses. Each patient was given 2 questionnaires to complete; the more global OHIP-14 and the HRQOL instrument designed to assess recovery after third molar surgery. Prevalence, Extent, and Severity of the OHIP-14 scores were calculated presurgery and for postsurgery days (PSD) 1, 7, 14. The percentage of patients reporting clinically relevant responses detrimental to quality of life from the condition-specific HRQOL instrument were reported for the same time frame. Study patients were most likely female, less than 25 years old, and Caucasian. Most (72%) had bone removed from both lower third molars. Median surgery time was 27 minutes (interquartile range [IQ], 20, 40 minutes.). Median surgeons' estimate of overall difficulty was 14 of a possible 28 (IQ 10, 18), and the median degree of difficulty for lower third molars was 8 of 14 (IQ 6, 10). Few patients (only 10%) had delayed clinical healing. Prevalence for all OHIP-14 items, percent of patients reporting items "fairly often" or "very often," were increased from presurgery on PSD 1 and then decreased on PSD 7 and PSD 14. OHIP-14 Severity scores, the sum of OHIP-14 responses, followed the same pattern as the Prevalence scores. OHIP-14 Severity scores on PSD 1 were 27 (IQ 16, 34), decreasing to 8 (IQ 3, 13) by PSD 7, and 1 (IQ 0, 5) by PSD 14. Recovery for outcomes addressed by both instruments followed a similar pattern and time course. However, each instrument also assessed distinctly different outcomes, adding information that could not be obtained by 1 instrument alone. Complementary instruments to measure quality of life outcomes provide a broader understanding of recovery after third molar surgery.