The present time is demanding for the dentists the challenge of reviewing the conception of health attention. The Brazilian National Curriculum Guidance (DCN) suggests changes in graduation, strengthening SUS. The aim of this study was to know the perceptions and uses of the collective health knowledge in the daily practice of the dentists graduated at the Federal University of Goiás in the years of 2000, 2001 and 2002. It was used the methodology of triangulation overlapping technique. Results indicated that 83.3% of the graduated are working as dentists. After graduation, 68.1% attended post graduation courses, specialization. They have doubts about collective health actions in spite of saying that practice them. This indicates that the terminology of collective health still remain unclear. Those who work in the public health system accomplished more actions in the field. They related, as difficulties, the lack of complementary material and little valorization by the population of this kind of activity. The most remembered item was health promotion (100%) and the most used in the practice were education and prevention (60%). The practices during the practical stages were considered very important. It is necessary to be clearer during the course about the collective health practices and deeper curriculum integration.
Public health; Dental education; Dentistry curriculum; Public health dentistry