Comprehensive criteria and simple methods of assessment have been developed for the evaluation of complete dentures supplied by commercial dental laboratories. One hundred laboratories in England and Wales were selected by random sampling. A single identical complete denture case was sent from general practice addresses to each of the selected laboratories and each of the laboratory stages evaluated according to specific criteria. This paper is concerned only with the evaluation of the finished dentures. Half of the cases were treated as NHS cases and half as 'private' cases. The private cases were further subdivided into those where details were left to the laboratory and those where detailed instructions were given for all stages of denture construction. Wide variations were found in both the quality and cost of complete denture laboratory work. Evaluation of some key features of finished dentures suggests that the quality of work was superior for the private cases in which detailed instructions were given to the laboratory. Even for the private (specified) cases, however, important faults were found in a number of cases.