The United States and Norway have approximately the same per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and average personal income, but their per capita health spending patterns are quite different. In 1982, the US spent 6.5% of its total health expenditures on dental services while Norway spent 5.4%. A higher percentage of Norwegian adults see a dentist annually as compared to US adults. In 1984, the mean net income of dentists in private practice was $66,940 in the US and $27,125 in Norway; this is respectively 5 and 1 3/4 times the average per capita income in those countries. The American publicly-employed dentist earned approximately two-thirds of what the American private practitioner made, while still earning approximately 50% more than his Norwegian counterpart. Some basic information concerning the ratios of dentists, specialists, and dental hygienists to the population is given. The relative proportion of women dentists in the two countries is contrasted. Finally, data on graduates from the dental schools, enrollment cuts, and estimated dentist to population ratios by the year 2000 are described to compare future manpower that will be available to the two countries. Several dissimilarities in the political and social systems are described and discussed. It is emphasized that caution should be used when interpreting and comparing data about countries with different dental delivery, political, and social systems.