Children with an autistic disorder may need more dental care and may also be more difficult to treat than healthy children. This study compared oral health in autistic and healthy children. Also explored was the dental management of autistic children within the non-specialized Public Dental Service. The study was designed as a case-control study with all cases of autistic disorders aged 3-19 years identified within a primary care area in southwest Sweden. One dentist did a clinical investigation of cases and one control per case. The patients, or their parents, answered a questionnaire. 28 patients were identified and 20 (71%) agreed to participate in the study. Cases and controls had a similar prevalence of fillings, caries, gingivitis and degree of oral hygiene. However, the need of orthodontic treatment seemed to be greater among the autistic children. According to a standardised assessment, autistic children were less able to cooperate in the dental treatment. Approximately 30% of the cases had occasionally been subjected to specialized dental care. The results of this study indicate that the care provided to autistic children within the non-specialized Public Dental Service is satisfactory, provided that there is access to a paediatric dentist when necessary.