Data collected routinely in dental care delivery systems could be used to inform research and policy. Projects in which data were collected with the help of general dental practitioners are outlined. In an EU-funded project, six partners collaborated to develop a methodology designed to establish links between characteristics of a health care system and health outcome, and to determine the characteristics of oral health care systems which promote oral health and those which are detrimental to oral health. The results indicated that the data collected in the different systems investigated varied enormously, and they could not be easily adapted to help in developing policy. A theoretical model was developed in which the production of oral health care was considered separately from the production of oral health. In the second example, the longevity of the restorations in a dental care delivery system in Ireland was investigated by routine service data.