The prescribing habits of a randomly selected approximately 10 per cent sample of South Australian general dental practitioners were obtained by postal questionnaire. Sixty-eight (61 per cent) usable replies were received and analysed. Generally, there was an appropriate level of knowledge of antibiotic prescription. However, there was a tendency toward over-prescription and a demonstrated lack of knowledge of the incidence of adverse reactions, development of multiresistant strains and prophylaxis against bacterial endocarditis. All of these areas are real challenges to the profession, whether in an overall global community health sense or in a highly individualized clinical or medico-legal sense. These issues are discussed and the profession is urged to reconsider and re-educate itself on these challenges.