objective determining dental caries' experience, prevalence and severity in students applying for degree courses at san luis potosi university (uaslp). material and methods a cross-sectional study was carried out involving adolescents and young adults (16 to 25 years old) applying for undergraduate courses at uaslp (~10 %, n=1 027). two standardized examiners undertook dental examinations; dmft index, prevalence (dmft>0), severity (dmft>3 and dmft>6) and significant caries index (sic) were calculated. stata 9.0 non-parametric tests were used for statistical analysis. results mean age was 18.20±1.65; 48.0% were female. the dmft index was 4.04±3.90 and caries prevalence was 74.4%. regarding caries' severity, 48.8% had mdft>3 and 24% dmft>6. the sic index was 8.64. females had higher caries experience than males (4.32±4.01 cf 3.78±3.78; p<0.05), but similar prevalence and severity (p>0.05). age was associated with both experience (p<0.001) and prevalence (p<0.01) and to differing degrees of caries' severity (p<0,001). the ？filled teeth？ component had the highest dmft index percentage (63.6%) and ？missing teeth？ the lowest (11.4%). conclusions high dental caries' experience, prevalence and severity were observed in this sample of adolescents and young adults. restorative experience was high (59.5%) compared to studies carried out in other parts of mexico and latin-america.