The oral status of a platoon of 53 air-force conscripts was investigated. Interviews on regularity of dental care, diet and oral hygiene habits were included. The estimated treatment need was analysed in terms of time required for treatment by dentist or auxiliaries, i.e. hygienist or preventive dental assistant. There was a high prevalence of dental plaque, gingivitis and caries. It was estimated that 16 hours of dentist time would be required for restorations, but no dentist time would be necessary for periodontal treatment. The total time needed for preventive dentistry was estimated at 61 hours of treatment by preventive dental assistants. Such epidemiological data are valuable for estimating prospective treatment needs in population groups and as indicators for needs-related dental manpower planning.