Meet Dr Barbara Woodhouse

In the lead up to her anticipated course, Practical Oral Surgery for Your Practice, we caught up with oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Dr Barbara Woodhouse.

CPD Spotlight

It has been a long time since oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr Barbara Woodhouse has presented a WA Dental CPD course (she was due to come to Perth to present Oral Surgery – Learn Practical Skills to Enhance Your Clinical Techniques back in 2020, which had to be cancelled due to COVID restrictions).

Barbara is looking forward to coming to Perth to connect with ADAWA members for her course that covers the practicalities of everyday oral surgery – from extraction to impactions, breakages to biopsies, instrument and suture selection, exposures and closure of oro-antral communications.

What to expect

“The course attempts to provide something for everyone – basic guidelines for those who want to start to do more surgery in their practice, and some ‘tips and tricks’ and alternate approaches for those already doing it,” Barbara explains. “I emphasise case assessment and demonstrate how this can result in predictable, successful outcomes rather than unexpected failure. I recommend and demonstrate instruments and techniques covering most of the surgery that can be performed in the chair – as well as some tips for those who have access to general anaesthesia for their patients.

“As well as the removal of teeth, roots and impacted teeth, I teach tooth exposure, biopsy, closure of oro-antral communications and some suturing techniques, and finish with an update in post operative pain control. Participants are welcome to bring along radiographs and photos of their own cases for discussion.”

Barbara says the course is suitable for all dentists who have an interest in surgery, from those who feel very inexperienced, to those who are more comfortable with oral surgery, and looking to extend their boundaries. She hopes attendees take away from the course an understanding of how to avoid unexpected difficulties and achieve a successful outcome. “Of course, sometimes things are not predictable, but most of the time, proper assessment of both the patient and the proposed operation will prevent things going wrong.”

Barbara is a passionate and interesting lecturer, who has been awarded the University of Queensland’s vice chancellor’s Award for Excellence for Teaching.

“I had the opportunity to learn under some generous-spirited and encouraging mentors, who inspired me to continue their efforts, and it has been very fulfilling to watch emerging surgeons grow in confidence and expertise as they progress through training.”

“I truly believe that unless they eclipse me, I have failed in my duty as a teacher!” she says.

Giving back

As well as her busy teaching schedule and clinical work, Barbara gives back as The Chair of Operation Interface, an NGO affiliated with the International Association
of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (which has initiated and supported training programs for local surgeons in Bangladesh, PNG, Cambodia and Vanuatu).

“Even throughout COVID we were supporting our most recent trainees in Phnom Penh with webinars and zoom meetings and emailed advice regarding cases. Thankfully the groundwork we put in prior to 2020 meant that by then, we had four newly trained local consultants in OMS who were able to take on another six trainees and support them on the ground whilst we could not visit,” she says. “We went back for the first time last October with a group of three surgeons, an anaesthetist and three nurses. It was a wonderful collegial experience and very different to previous trips which have sometimes been a bit lonely when it has been just me and a nurse! Two more trainees are ready to sit their final exams later in the year, and we run tutorials by zoom, once per week, and will be joining a panel of other external examiners later
in the year for the real thing!”

Her dedicated service was recently recognised when she was named the Queensland nominee Australian of the Year 2023. “I was deeply honoured and very surprised,” she says. “I knew that I had been nominated by a colleague, but never expected to be shortlisted!

It is a huge acknowledgement of our endeavours in dental and medical education, and especially the effort that the team puts in on overseas missions in Bangladesh, PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu and Congo as well as Cambodia.”

Away from the clinic

When she’s not doing clinical work, teaching or volunteering, you’ll find Barbara practising underwater photography. “I took up underwater photography when I could no longer scuba dive, so I do all my photography on snorkel and skin diving,” she says. “I am very amateur, and only have a point and shoot – but a good one! Good enough that a still from a video of two parrot fish fighting won a competition on a Mike Ball Coral Sea expedition 18 months ago, and was subsequently used on their promotional brochure.”

For the near future, she says she is planning lots of travel (at last) with her long-suffering and infinitely supportive husband.

Practical Oral Surgery for Your Practice will be held at ADA House on Friday October 13.
For details or to book, visit our website,

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