The goal of this paper was to report the prevalence of dental care--a Healthy People 2010 objective--for nursing home residents 65 years and older, and to assess the association between receipt of dental care with other oral status and workforce measures. Data from 7,363 residents aged 65 years and older with information in the 1997 National Nursing Home Survey (NNHS) were used. Overall, 18.2% of elderly nursing home residents had received dental care in the last month. Multivariable modeling found residents were more likely to receive dental care in the past month if they lived in the Northeast (OR=3.32, 95% CI 2.51-4.39); were dentate (OR=1.46, 95% CI 1.26-1.69); had a length of stay 12 months or longer (OR= 1.37, 95% CI 1.17-1.62); or resided in facilities with dental professional services (OR=2.05, 95% CI 1.60-2.62). The results showed that disparities in receipt of dental care existed by region, length of stay, dentate status, and availability of dental services in nursing homes. Additionally, current oral health surveillance measures for nursing homes may have been inadequate.