Aim of this study was to get more insight into the career choice, plans and expectations, and practice pattern preferences of male and female dental students in the Netherlands. A structured questionnaire was sent out to all 5th year dental students in the Netherlands in the academic year 2001/2002 (n = 258). The overall response was 65%. Both male and female students preferred working in a group practice environment rather than a solo practice, in which significant more males prefered ownership. Only 23% of the males and 7% of the females expected to work full time in the future. An important factor was leisure time, but for the female students ´taking care for children´ was still decisive. The new job description ´oral physician´ for the future dentist as advocated by Dutch health authorities was found less attractive than the present profession ´dentist´. Only a quarter of the females and half of the males is interested to serve as manager of a team of dental health professionals. It is concluded that male and female dental students differ in their plans and expectations with respect to their future career choices and practice pattern preferences. As the majority of the present dental students is female this will have a major impact on the dental profession.