Since 1973, Alberta's dental plan for the elderly has made government-sponsored, premium-free comprehensive care by dentists and denturists available to all residents of the province over age 64. Details on the numbers and types of different services provided were previously unavailable from the annual reports. However, an examination of the plan's six-million records, covering nearly 260,000 different patients from 1978 to 1992, has now made it possible, for the first time, to conduct a detailed analysis of these dental services. Many time-related changes have occurred in the types of services provided. The number of removable prosthodontic services declined from 14 per cent of all services offered by dentists in 1978-79 to five per cent of these services in 1991-1992, but the services provided by denturists increased by a factor of four. The relative number of surgical and restorative dentistry services offered by dentists also declined. Preventive services grew modestly, but periodontal services grew dramatically from three per cent of all services provided by dentists to 22 per cent. These shifts in services from prosthodontics, restorative dentistry and oral surgery to preventive and periodontic services have important implications for the planning and administration of dental plans for the elderly.