Lack of information technology (IT) skills will have serious implications for students to carry out independent learning. This paper reports upon the level of computer exposure amongst a population of dental undergraduates and gives the results of a self-assessment of their perceived computing capabilities. The proportion of students who had used a computer at school (76%) was slightly increased compared to earlier studies. Despite such an increase, however, the level of confidence of students to use computers was surprisingly low. Confidence was highly significantly influenced by the task in hand (p < 0.001) and the setting of the first encounter (p < 0.01 for word processing, p < 0.05 for CAL, p < 0.001 for programming). University courses must develop a sound IT foundation so that the skills necessary for independent learning are developed for use throughout a practising lifetime.