Military veterans eligible for dental care in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities cooperated for a mailed survey about their dental care utilization. Subjects were selected because of their eligibility for continuing dental care in VA facilities at no monetary cost. However, only 48% reported the VA as their only or primary source of dental care; this allowed us the oppurtunity to compare dental care frequency by those who received dental care at no monetary cost with those who did not, as well as measure delivery system effects on dental care use. Consequently, we tested respondent-level and delivery system-level hypotheses regarding determinants of veterans' dental care use. Predisposing characteristics (dentate status, usual reason for dental visits, and the importance placed on dental care and oral health) were the strongest determinants of interval since last dental visit. Enabling determinants (current source of dental care, and having a regular source of care) were also significant, but measures of need for dental care (perceived oral health and perceived need for treatment) were not. More recent dental care use by veterans who used the VA delivery system as their source of dental care, even with dental care payment source and other determinants accounted for, suggests that the VA delivery system may have promoted more regular use compared to other systems. © 1993.