Background Much concern appears to exist as to the scope and content of contemporary dental school programmes, with the oft-cited criticism being made that dental graduates are 'no longer as good as they used to be'.Aim The aim of this project was to survey the views of dentists - both new graduates and more established practitioners - on aspects of their own dental school training they felt had been deficient as well as commenting on what aspects of dental school education they would like to see improved/enhanced in current times.Methods An invitation to complete an Internet-based questionnaire was emailed to the Fellows and Members of the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK). Topics in the questionnaire included the respondent's own dental education history, how well they felt their dental school training had covered certain clinical and non-clinical topics; and their opinions on areas they felt should be included in contemporary dental school programmes.Results Six hundred and forty-nine responses were received from 3,348 emailed invitations (response rate = 19.4%). Sixty-one percent (395) of respondents were qualified for 10 years or more. Among clinical skills and techniques, a majority of respondents reported they felt they had not had sufficient teaching/training in dental school in surgical endodontics (76%), conscious sedation (72%), root surface debridement (71%), fixed orthodontic appliances (68%), porcelain veneers (63%), implants (56%) and posterior composites (53%). If designing a new dental school programme, the most common topics respondents would seek to include/increase were business and practice management (21%), communication skills (including patient management and leadership skills) (10%), and increased clinical time and experience (8%).Conclusions The findings of this project are of interest and relevance to those working with student dentists and young dental practitioners. A greater emphasis is needed on the teaching of certain non-clinical subjects such as business and communication skills, while within clinical subjects there is need to refine and expand teaching in identified areas such as exodontia and endodontics.