A group of 30 general dental practitioners were asked to plan treatment for a series of 10 Class II division 1 malocclusions of graded severity. The results were assessed against a gold standard provided by three consultants. Only 14 per cent of practitioner treatment plans agreed with the gold standard and agreement was worst for those cases requiring the use of headgear. When consultants and General Dental Practitioners (GDPs) were asked whether a case should be referred for advice before the GDP began treatment, 64 per cent of GDP decisions agreed with those of the consultants. On 13 per cent of occasions, however, the GDP would have initiated incorrect treatment without seeking consultant advice.