Practices needed to carry out priority oral health research

News Published: 
30 January 2019

The Faculty is encouraging dentists, dental care professionals and dental practices to take a short survey to identify their interest in carrying out important oral health research.

Participants are asked about their level of training and experience, the characteristics of their practice, and their willingness to undertake training and participate in research.

The survey is being conducted by the Oral and Dental Health Specialty Group of the National Institute for Health Research, and is supported by FGDP(UK), the Chief Dental Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Dental Schools Council and the British Society for Oral and Dental Research. Since 2017, the organisations have worked together as the Priority Setting Partnership for Oral and Dental Health Research to identify and prioritise unanswered oral health research questions, and recently decided on a ‘top ten’:

  • What is the best way to prevent tooth decay, and reduce oral health inequalities at a community or population level?
  • How can access to dental services be improved for the general public?
  • What are the most effective ways of increasing early detection/diagnosis of oral cancer?
  • How can access to dental services be improved for people with additional needs?
  • How can dental health professionals work with other health professionals to help improve oral health?
  • How can basic oral hygiene be achieved for people with additional care needs?
  • How to improve communication between dental teams and patients/carers?
  • Is there a role for dental health professionals in treating oral health problems to improve general health?
  • What is the best way to prevent gum disease, and reduce oral health inequalities at a community or population level?
  • What role do digital technologies play in the provision of dental care?

These priorities are now becoming the focus for funding agencies and researchers, and a network of dental professionals is needed to carry out the research. The aim of the survey is to build a picture of the workforce currently available to develop and deliver that research, and to understand how this can be strengthened.

The survey is open until Tuesday 30 April 2019.  

Those wishing to take part in research involving patients will need to complete a Good Clinical Practice training course either online or face-to-face. Further information about the survey and training is available by emailing

Those working in general dental practice may also wish to read FGDP(UK)’s An introduction to Research for Primary Dental Care Clinicians, which introduces the principles of research methodology, discusses the relevance of research to primary dental care, and provides an overview of the different stages in a research project.