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Improving Dentistry Group

Our research group aims to improve dental care, so that more people receive better oral and dental healthcare across Wales, the UK and beyond.

Our research group focuses upon improving dental care, so that more people receive better oral and dental health care.


  1. highlight where improvements in dental care are needed or there is a lack of information. We do this by conducting evidence reviews and syntheses, gap analyses, discussions with stakeholders (including the public, dental professionals and commissioning bodies) and political awareness
  2. use innovation and experience to find and test solutions to these problems; conducting health technology clinical trials, addressing barriers to implementation of research which prevents best care for patients, improving communication in the professional and public arena
  3. build strong networks with collaborators to increase the quality and impact of our research


The “BRIGHT Trial”: Can we reduce tooth decay through improving toothbrushing in young people living in deprived areas?

Tooth decay is common and affects one-third of young people aged 12-15 years, increasing to nearly half of young people living in deprived areas. Young people with tooth decay often experience toothache, sleep loss, problems eating and time off school. One of the most effective ways to prevent tooth decay is regular tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste. This randomised control trial is investigating whether a behaviour change programme, involving a school lesson on toothbrushing with text message reminders, is a cost-effective way to reduce tooth decay amongst young people living in deprived areas of the UK.

Brushing RemInder 4 Good oral HealTh is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme awarded to Cardiff University (Professor Nicola Innes), co-led with Professor Zoe Marshman at Sheffield University and involving the University of Dundee, University of Leeds and University of York.

The “CALM Trial”: Can cognitive behaviour therapy in dental practice reduce children’s dental anxiety?

Children with dental anxiety may avoid the dentist and have poor oral health (more tooth decay and extractions). Dentists find it stressful to treat children who feel anxious, and often refer them to specialist services for sedation or general anaesthetic (GA). This incurs additional costs to the NHS and is a burden to the family. This randomised control trial, set in general dental practices, investigates whether using a guided self-help cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) intervention, delivered by dentists and dental therapists in general practice is a cost-effective way to reduce dental anxiety.

CALM is a multi-centre randomised control trial funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment Programme. The trial is led by Professor Zoe Marshman at the University of Sheffield with Cardiff University (Professor Nicola Innes, Rhiannon Jones, Dr Daniela Raggio), University of Newcastle, University of York and Kings College, London.

“ACT”: An App for Children’s Teeth. What do parents and carers want to see in a Health App to help them look after children’s teeth?

“Development of an Evidence-Based Mobile Health Application for, and with, Parents to Improve Children’s Oral Health” is a partnership project between the World Dental Federation and Cardiff University. It aims to develop an evidence-based (EB) mobile phone app with oral health information appropriate for a Wales/UK audience, and to assess the children parents’ and carers’ acceptability of the app prototype. It is funded by the Innovation for All Scheme, Cardiff University.

Team: Professor Nicola Innes, Daniela Raggio, Waraf Al-Yaseen, Annalisa Willmott (undergraduate student on the INSPIRE scheme).

Improving Children’s GA Journey. What are children and their parents' experiences when the child has a dental GA and how can this improve the service?

The study “Children and their parents' perceptions of receiving dental treatments under general anaesthesia: a multi-method qualitative longitudinal exploratory study” will improve our understanding of what parents and their children go through during the child’s dental general anaesthetic journey. We will then work with them to improve this experience.

Team: Waraf Al-Yaseen, Professor Nicola Innes, Daniela Raggio.

What are the barriers and facilitators for implementing minimally invasive strategies for the management of caries in primary dentition in Primary Care, and what can be done to improve it?

This project will review the evidence around the implementation of caries management guidelines and recommendations for primary teeth. It will investigate barriers or facilitators from a range of stakeholders, and help guide future interventions, aiming to improve the implementation of Minimum Intervention Dentistry (MID).

Team: Heather Lundbeck, Dr Waraf Al-Yaseen, Dr Anwen Cope, Professor Zoe Marshman and Professor Nicola Innes.

Evaluating Enhanced Continuing Professional Development: Social Research Contract GDC-2021- 042

This project is commissioned by the General Dental Council (GDC) to evaluate, understand and learn from how the Enhanced Continuing Professional Development (eCPD) scheme system works, by:

  • assessing compliance levels with current eCPD requirements and the efficacy of the eCPD process (from both registrant and GDC perspectives)
  • capturing registrant perspectives on the effectiveness of eCPD in developing and enhancing the sense of individual ownership of CPD among dental professionals
  • exploring perspectives on how eCPD supports the career and professional development of dental professionals
  • assessing how eCPD identies gaps in dental professionals’ skills and knowledge
    understanding the full range of CPD undertaken by dental professionals
  • providing GDC with robust evidence to inform GDC’s future development of CPD approaches

Team: Rhiannon Jones and Emma Barnes (School of Dentistry), Professor Alison Bullock (PI) - Cardiff Unit for Research and Evaluation in Medical and Dental Education (CUREMeDE), School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University.



INSPIRE “Taster Day”, 30 November 2022

The INSPIRE scheme is coordinated by the Academy of Medical Sciences and supported by the Wellcome Trust. The programme aims to inspire undergraduate students to get involved with research projects and consider a career in research. The idea for the INSPIRE ‘Taster Day’ is to introduce undergraduate students to our research group, and discuss research interests and possibilities. The students and supervisors taking part in the Taster Day can apply for the Summer Internship 2023.

INSPIRE students

The programme aims to inspire undergraduate students to get involved with research projects and consider a career in research.

Ethan Peters

Project title: Virtual monitoring in dentistry: assessing the barriers and facilitators to patients taking high-quality of photographs of their face, mouth and teeth.

Jamie Everette

Project title: Explore Non-dental, Children-related Professional’s Experience and Knowledge of the Immediate Management of Children Dental Traumatic Injuries in Wales: A Cross-sectional Study

Jamie helped to recruit schools to take part in the survey, developing their:

  • understanding of the value of research integrity and transparency
  • communication skills with the research team and participants
  • time management and record keeping skills

Annalisa Willmott

Project title: Development of an evidence-based oral health app for parents and young children. Annalisa supported with synthesising the evidence, searching for existing apps on oral health, and brainstorming ideas to develop the App.


Next steps


Research that matters

Our research makes a difference to people’s lives as we work across disciplines to tackle major challenges facing society, the economy and our environment.


Postgraduate research

Our research degrees give the opportunity to investigate a specific topic in depth among field-leading researchers.


Our research impact

Our research case studies highlight some of the areas where we deliver positive research impact.