The Health Services Research Unit has led pioneering work in dental research over the years. On the 15th of November, the team was invited to present examples of that work to an audience of dental professionals at the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry (BASCD) conference in London. BASCD is the UK’s professional association for the science, philosophy and practice of promoting the oral health of populations and groups in society.
Dental check-ups and scale and polishes are routinely provided in the National Health System in the United Kingdom. However, the evidence behind those policies is poor or inexistent. The Health Services Research Unit, together with the Dental Health Services Research Unit from the University of Dundee, has set out to produce sound evidence to help guide dentists, patients and policy makers. Together with the clinical work, HSRU has led methodological innovation in this field.
The BASCD conference invited presentations that covered the different aspects of our work, including the presentation of IQuaD and INTERVAL’s results.
The day started with Beatriz Goulao and Professor Jan Clarkson (chief investigator of IQuaD and INTERVAL) discussing challenges in dental research. Beatriz presented her PhD work on methodological challenges in oral health research and Professor Clarkson focused on the funding and recruitment stages of dental trials.
Thomas Lamont, HSRU’s collaborator, presented the results of the IQuaD trial which are now available in the Health Technology Assessment journal. IQuaD was the largest trial ran in the United Kingdom testing whether providing scale and polish every 6-months was better for oral health than yearly or no scale and polish over three years. The trial also looked at the clinical and cost-effectiveness of personalised versus routine oral hygiene advice.
Next, Professor Clarkson presented the INTERVAL trial results looking at different frequencies of dental recall. The protocol for the trial is available (https://bmcoralhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12903-018-0587-2) and the results will be published later next year. INTERVAL is testing different dental check-up recalls and will provide valuable information to inform health policy.
The conference ended with a fruitful discussion of the challenges and future of dental research.