BACKGROUND: Practice-based research networks (PBRNs) are consortia of practices committed to improving clinical practice. They have become more common and include dental PBRNs. Few reports in the literature, however, have addressed the structure and function of dental PBRNs. METHODS: After initial development in Alabama, the Dental Practice-Based Research Network (DPBRN) now includes practitioner-investigators in seven U.S. states and three Scandinavian countries. Although most of the function and structure was developed at the inception of DPBRN, valuable input from practitioner-investigators has led to significant ongoing refinements. RESULTS: DPBRN practitioner-investigators have contributed to research at each stage of its development, leading to substantial improvements in study designs and customization of study protocols to their daily clinical practices. Practitioner-investigators also have helped refine the structure and function of DPBRN to foster the potential impact of research. CONCLUSIONS: Practitioners from diverse settings are partnering with fellow practitioners and academics to improve daily clinical practice and meet the needs of clinicians and their patients in DPBRN. Practice Implications. Dental PBRNs can improve clinical practice by engaging dentists in the development and implementation of studies that are of direct interest to them and their patients, and by incorporating findings from these studies into their daily clinical practice.