Aims: To determine the factors associated with the level of occupational risk perceived by dental health care workers (DHCW), and to define the perceived sources of hazards. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Izmir Dental Hospital in Turkey. Participants: All employees (n=308) in the hospital. Methods: Data were collected by a questionnaire in 2007. Respondents rated their degree of individual risk that could be associated with the procedures they perform on a 10-point scale and listed the hazards they faced. Those with a score 9 were classified as a high-risk perception group. We assessed the relation between variables using chi-square test and logistic regression analysis. Results: Response rate was 90.3%. 57.2% of DHCW had a high-risk perception. Having children, job category and management's commitment to safety were related to the risk perception. DHCW who used preventive measures regularly and experienced an occupational accident in the previous year were 2.29 and 2.77 times more likely to have a high-risk perception. The perceived sources of hazards differed by job category. Conclusions: Risk perception is an initial step in developing procedures to minimise occupational risks and occupation specific risk management approaches should be performed.