Aim To identify potential problems in the quality of care when oral surgery is provided in the primary health care setting.Method Retrospective analysis of referral patterns, waiting times, treatment with clinical and histological diagnosis, including complications of 600 patients referred to a practice-based oral surgical referral service.Results Fifty-three patients were not treated. Seventy-nine percent of patients were treated within four weeks of referral. The most common procedure performed was surgical removal of impacted third molar teeth. The most frequently observed complications were dry socket (n = 31/703), pain and inflammation associated with resorbable sutures (n = 11/453), and post-operative infection (n = 9/547). One patient with post-operative infection required care in the acute hospital setting.Conclusion Acknowledging the small sample, it was safe and effective to diagnose and treat a broad spectrum of patients and oral surgical problems in the primary health care setting.