The need for complete denture treatment was compared to utilization of complete denture services. To estimate the need for complete denture treatment we used data from the Mini-Finland Survey which included 3620 persons who were edentulous in one or both jaws. Data about utilization of services was obtained through questionnaires sent to samples of dentists and special dental technicians. Utilization of services was 21.8% of the need assessed with professional criteria and 17.7% of the subjective need. Compared to the subjectively assessed need, utilization of complete denture services was highest among young women and lowest among men aged 60-69 yr. Subjective need for denture services was highest in older groups. From these results we conclude that certain barriers prevent patients from seeking care; and as these barriers are reduced, use of complete denture services may increase.