Background and aim: A range of factors needs to be taken into account for an ideal oral health workforce plan. The figures related to dentists, specialists, auxiliaries, practice patterns, undergraduate and continuing dental education, laws/regulations, the attitudes of oral health-care providers and the general trends affecting the practice patterns, work conditions and preferences of oral health-care providers are among such determinants. Thus, the aim of the present study was to gather such information from a sample of World Dental Federation (FDI) member countries with different characteristics. Methods: A cross-sectional survey study was carried out among a sample of FDI member countries between March 2, 2012 and March 27, 2012. A questionnaire was developed addressing some main determinants of oral health workforce, such as its structure, involvement of the public/private sector to provide oral health-care services, specialty services, dental schools, trends in workforce and compliance with oral health needs, and a descriptive analysis was performed. The countries were classified as developed and developing countries and Mann-Whitney U-tests and chisquare tests were used to identify potential significant differences (P > 0.05) between developed and developing countries. All data were processed in SPSS v. 19. Results: In the18 questionnaires processed, the median number of dentists (P = 0.005), dental practices (P = 0.002), hygienists (P = 0.005), technicians (P = 0.013) and graduates per year (P = 0.037) was higher in developed countries. Only 12.5% of developed and 22.2% of developing countries reported having optimal number of graduates per year. It was noted that 66.7% of developing countries had more regions lacking enough dentists to meet the demand (P = 0.050) and 77.8% lacked the necessary specialist care (P = 0.015). Although developing countries reported mostly an oversupply of dentists, regardless of the level of development most countries did not report an oversupply of specialists. Most developed countries did not feel that their regulations (87.5%) complied with the needs and demands of the population and most developing countries did not feel that their undergraduate dental education (62.5%) complied. Migrating to other countries was a trend seen in developing countries, while, despite increased numbers of dentists, underserved areas and communities were reported. Discussion: The cross-sectional survey study suggests that figures related to optimum or ideal oral health workforce and fair distribution of the available workforce does not seem to be achieved in many parts of the world. Further attention also needs to be dedicated to general trends that have the capacity to affect future oral health workforce.