OBJECTIVE: To determine the feasibility and effectiveness of adding a dental practice component to the Florida Dental Care Study (FDCS). METHODS: The FDCS was a study of dental health in which no treatment was provided. In-person interviews and clinical examinations were conducted at baseline, 24 months, and 48 months, with six-month telephone interviews between those times. Participants reported any dentists visited and treatment received. All but four of the 764 participants at the 24-month session gave written permission to review their dental records. Dental hygienist research assistants abstracted information on treatment that was received during the 48-month interval. RESULTS: Of the 286 practices named by FDCS subjects, all but 10 (of whom five refused) practices participated. Eight practices allowed access to records, but did not allow us to record fees. Fees were unavailable at another 13 practices. Of the 764 persons who participated for the 24-month interview, 677 ultimately reported at least one dental visit during the first 48 months of the study. Of those 677, we located dental records on 619. We also found records on four of the 111 persons who reported no dental visits, by querying practices while recording information on other participants. Charts varied in comprehensiveness; nevertheless, in conjunction with office staff consultation, all practices had adequate record of what procedures were performed. CONCLUSIONS: Although time intensive, this method of collecting data substantially increased information about dental treatment received, compared to relying on participant self-report and clinical examination.