The Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Dentistry has organized a research network of 210 general dentists in northern Ohio. Seventeen of these dentists have volunteered to serve on a steering committee, for the purpose of generating research questions and helping with network organization. To enable the practitioners to investigate questions of interest in their practices, faculty in the CWRU schools of Dentistry and Medicine provide consultation to network dentists, as needed, with regard to research design, implementation, and analysis. In turn, the network serves as a resource for the dental school, facilitating faculty development, encouraging the development of new research programs, and providing an opportunity for students throughout the university to become involved in dental practice research. To date, faculty members have initiated studies of dental practice that include a survey of dentists' attitudes toward tobacco, a weekly return caries study, and a direct observation study of general dental practice. The network provides a research "laboratory" for the dental school, enabling clinical faculty to participate in research concerning dental practice. It has also stimulated a major re-examination of several curriculum elements in the school.