Abstract Ten voluntary dental students were examined by 12 teachers at the same dental clinic. Eleven items of data were subjected to a two-way analysis of variance: missing teeth, filled teeth, filled teeth surfaces, DMF and DMFS index scores, decayed surfaces (first (C 1) and second (C 2) degree caries), decayed surfaces (C 2 only), decayed approximal surfaces (C 2), decayed occlusal surfaces (C 2), decayed smooth surfaces (C 2), and teeth considered to require treatment. Significant differences were found between the subjects for all 11 items assessed. The differences between the examiners were not significant for missing teeth, filled teeth, filled surfaces, and decayed smooth surfaces, but for the other items the between-examiner variation was significant at the level P<0.01. In particular, great variation was found in the plans for reparative care. It is suggested that teachers should undergo a special training program in order to make more consistent clinical judgments and hence to reduce the between-dentist variation in postgraduate clinical practice. This would probably be beneficial to the patients.