Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing a population growth unparalleled in the rest of the world. This is placing severe constraints on health care education and especially on dental education. The 16 or so dental schools in this part of the continent cannot train sufficient dentists for Africa's needs. In consequence, many states are developing training programmes for auxiliaries in an endeavour to meet their oral health care needs. Emphasis is placed on community involvement in the various dental curricula and it has been suggested that the African dentist should also be equipped to render basic medical care. At most schools the dental course is a 5-5 1/2 year programme with considerable emphasis on the basic medical sciences so that a student can easily be trained to act in a dual capacity as dentist and basic physician. This will, however, require the availability of more operating auxiliaries to meet the basic oral care demands of the population. In the dental course at South African schools the major portion of curriculum time in the clinical years is occupied by restorative and prosthetic dentistry. Although this is still appropriate, caries prevention and the availability of operating auxiliaries may soon make this approach redundant. Integrated courses in which the advanced disciplines of dentistry receive more emphasis seem to offer exciting prospects for the future, especially if the benefits of such integrated courses are fully exploited.