Orthodontic services for Finnish children and adolescents up to the age of 18 in 1992 were monitored by a questionnaire sent to all municipal health centres responsible for children's dental care in Finland, and 96% responded. All health centres provided some orthodontic treatment, but the percentage of 0 18-year-old children receiving treatment ranged from 1% to 19%. One-quarter of all dental visits of the 0 18-year-olds were in connection with orthodontics. The timing of treatment was early, the average age for starting was 9.5 years. In statistical analyses, the number of children receiving treatment was associated with the timing of treatment. At the age of 7, the most frequently used appliances were quad helix, removable appliance and orthopaedic headgear and, at the age of 13, fixed appliance and activator. Most treatments were provided by nonspecialists. The specialist expertise needed was usually purchased from an outside orthodontist by means of consultation contracts. Every fifth health centre, usually the largest, had employed one or more specialist orthodontists. The regional distribution of orthodontists was uneven, emphasizing regional variation in the delivery of orthodontic services.