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1.  Evaluating an audit and feedback intervention for reducing antibiotic prescribing behaviour in general dental practice (the RAPiD trial): a partial factorial cluster randomised trial protocol 
Background
Antibiotic prescribing in dentistry accounts for 9% of total antibiotic prescriptions in Scottish primary care. The Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) published guidance in April 2008 (2nd edition, August 2011) for Drug Prescribing in Dentistry, which aims to assist dentists to make evidence-based antibiotic prescribing decisions. However, wide variation in prescribing persists and the overall use of antibiotics is increasing.
Methods
RAPiD is a 12-month partial factorial cluster randomised trial conducted in NHS General Dental Practices across Scotland. Its aim is to compare the effectiveness of individualised audit and feedback (A&F) strategies for the translation into practice of SDCEP recommendations on antibiotic prescribing. The trial uses routinely collected electronic healthcare data in five aspects of its design in order to: identify the study population; apply eligibility criteria; carry out stratified randomisation; generate the trial intervention; analyse trial outcomes.
Eligibility was determined on contract status and a minimum level of recent NHS treatment provision. All eligible dental practices in Scotland were simultaneously randomised at baseline either to current audit practice or to an intervention group. Randomisation was stratified by single-handed/multi-handed practices. General dental practitioners (GDPs) working at intervention practices will receive individualised graphical representations of their antibiotic prescribing rate from the previous 14 months at baseline and an update at six months. GDPs could not be blinded to their practice allocation. Intervention practices were further randomised using a factorial design to receive feedback with or without: a health board comparator; a supplementary text-based intervention; additional feedback at nine months. The primary outcome is the total antibiotic prescribing rate per 100 courses of treatment over the year following delivery of the baseline intervention.
A concurrent qualitative process evaluation will apply theory-based approaches using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research to explore the acceptability of the interventions and the Theoretical Domains Framework to identify barriers and enablers to evidence-based antibiotic prescribing behaviour by GDPs.
Discussion
RAPiD will provide a robust evaluation of A&F in dentistry in Scotland. It also demonstrates that linked administrative datasets have the potential to be used efficiently and effectively across all stages of an randomised controlled trial.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN49204710
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-9-50
PMCID: PMC4108126  PMID: 24758164
Prescribing; Antibiotics; Dental
2.  IQuaD dental trial; improving the quality of dentistry: a multicentre randomised controlled trial comparing oral hygiene advice and periodontal instrumentation for the prevention and management of periodontal disease in dentate adults attending dental primary care 
BMC Oral Health  2013;13:58.
Background
Periodontal disease is the most common oral disease affecting adults, and although it is largely preventable it remains the major cause of poor oral health worldwide. Accumulation of microbial dental plaque is the primary aetiological factor for both periodontal disease and caries. Effective self-care (tooth brushing and interdental aids) for plaque control and removal of risk factors such as calculus, which can only be removed by periodontal instrumentation (PI), are considered necessary to prevent and treat periodontal disease thereby maintaining periodontal health. Despite evidence of an association between sustained, good oral hygiene and a low incidence of periodontal disease and caries in adults there is a lack of strong and reliable evidence to inform clinicians of the relative effectiveness (if any) of different types of Oral Hygiene Advice (OHA). The evidence to inform clinicians of the effectiveness and optimal frequency of PI is also mixed. There is therefore an urgent need to assess the relative effectiveness of OHA and PI in a robust, sufficiently powered randomised controlled trial (RCT) in primary dental care.
Methods/Design
This is a 5 year multi-centre, randomised, open trial with blinded outcome evaluation based in dental primary care in Scotland and the North East of England. Practitioners will recruit 1860 adult patients, with periodontal health, gingivitis or moderate periodontitis (Basic Periodontal Examination Score 0–3). Dental practices will be cluster randomised to provide routine OHA or Personalised OHA. To test the effects of PI each individual patient participant will be randomised to one of three groups: no PI, 6 monthly PI (current practice), or 12 monthly PI.
Baseline measures and outcome data (during a three year follow-up) will be assessed through clinical examination, patient questionnaires and NHS databases.
The primary outcome measures at 3 year follow up are gingival inflammation/bleeding on probing at the gingival margin; oral hygiene self-efficacy and net benefits.
Discussion
IQuaD will provide evidence for the most clinically-effective and cost-effective approach to managing periodontal disease in dentate adults in Primary Care. This will support general dental practitioners and patients in treatment decision making.
Trial registration
Protocol ID: ISRCTN56465715
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-13-58
PMCID: PMC4015981  PMID: 24160246
Oral hygiene advice; Scale and polish; Prevention; Toothbrushing advice; Periodontal instrumentation; RCT; Primary care
3.  The FiCTION dental trial protocol – filling children’s teeth: indicated or not? 
BMC Oral Health  2013;13:25.
Background
There is a lack of evidence for effective management of dental caries (decay) in children’s primary (baby) teeth and an apparent failure of conventional dental restorations (fillings) to prevent dental pain and infection for UK children in Primary Care. UK dental schools’ teaching has been based on British Society of Paediatric Dentistry guidance which recommends that caries in primary teeth should be removed and a restoration placed. However, the evidence base for this is limited in volume and quality, and comes from studies conducted in either secondary care or specialist practices. Restorations provided in specialist environments can be effective but the generalisability of this evidence to Primary Care has been questioned.
The FiCTION trial addresses the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme’s commissioning brief and research question “What is the clinical and cost effectiveness of restoration caries in primary teeth, compared to no treatment?” It compares conventional restorations with an intermediate treatment strategy based on the biological (sealing-in) management of caries and with no restorations.
Methods/Design
This is a Primary Care-based multi-centre, three-arm, parallel group, patient-randomised controlled trial. Practitioners are recruiting 1461 children, (3–7 years) with at least one primary molar tooth where caries extends into dentine. Children are randomized and treated according to one of three treatment approaches; conventional caries management with best practice prevention, biological management of caries with best practice prevention or best practice prevention alone.
Baseline measures and outcome data (at review/treatment during three year follow-up) are assessed through direct reporting, clinical examination including blinded radiograph assessment, and child/parent questionnaires.
The primary outcome measure is the incidence of either pain or infection related to dental caries.
Secondary outcomes are; incidence of caries in primary and permanent teeth, patient quality of life, cost-effectiveness, acceptability of treatment strategies to patients and parents and their experiences, and dentists’ preferences.
Discussion
FiCTION will provide evidence for the most clinically-effective and cost-effective approach to managing caries in children’s primary teeth in Primary Care. This will support general dental practitioners in treatment decision making for child patients to minimize pain and infection in primary teeth. The trial is currently recruiting patients.
Trial registration
Protocol ID: NCTU: ISRCTN77044005
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-13-25
PMCID: PMC3698078  PMID: 23725316
Dental caries; Caries prevention; Primary teeth; Prevention; Paediatric Dentistry; Restoration; Fillings; RCT; Primary care
4.  The translation research in a dental setting (TRiaDS) programme protocol 
Background
It is well documented that the translation of knowledge into clinical practice is a slow and haphazard process. This is no less true for dental healthcare than other types of healthcare. One common policy strategy to help promote knowledge translation is the production of clinical guidance, but it has been demonstrated that the simple publication of guidance is unlikely to optimise practice. Additional knowledge translation interventions have been shown to be effective, but effectiveness varies and much of this variation is unexplained. The need for researchers to move beyond single studies to develop a generalisable, theory based, knowledge translation framework has been identified.
For dentistry in Scotland, the production of clinical guidance is the responsibility of the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP). TRiaDS (Translation Research in a Dental Setting) is a multidisciplinary research collaboration, embedded within the SDCEP guidance development process, which aims to establish a practical evaluative framework for the translation of guidance and to conduct and evaluate a programme of integrated, multi-disciplinary research to enhance the science of knowledge translation.
Methods
Set in General Dental Practice the TRiaDS programmatic evaluation employs a standardised process using optimal methods and theory. For each SDCEP guidance document a diagnostic analysis is undertaken alongside the guidance development process. Information is gathered about current dental care activities. Key recommendations and their required behaviours are identified and prioritised. Stakeholder questionnaires and interviews are used to identify and elicit salient beliefs regarding potential barriers and enablers towards the key recommendations and behaviours. Where possible routinely collected data are used to measure compliance with the guidance and to inform decisions about whether a knowledge translation intervention is required. Interventions are theory based and informed by evidence gathered during the diagnostic phase and by prior published evidence. They are evaluated using a range of experimental and quasi-experimental study designs, and data collection continues beyond the end of the intervention to investigate the sustainability of an intervention effect.
Discussion
The TRiaDS programmatic approach is a significant step forward towards the development of a practical, generalisable framework for knowledge translation research. The multidisciplinary composition of the TRiaDS team enables consideration of the individual, organisational and system determinants of professional behaviour change. In addition the embedding of TRiaDS within a national programme of guidance development offers a unique opportunity to inform and influence the guidance development process, and enables TRiaDS to inform dental services practitioners, policy makers and patients on how best to translate national recommendations into routine clinical activities.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-57
PMCID: PMC2920875  PMID: 20646275
5.  Applying psychological theories to evidence-based clinical practice: identifying factors predictive of placing preventive fissure sealants 
Background
Psychological models are used to understand and predict behaviour in a wide range of settings, but have not been consistently applied to health professional behaviours, and the contribution of differing theories is not clear. This study explored the usefulness of a range of models to predict an evidence-based behaviour -- the placing of fissure sealants.
Methods
Measures were collected by postal questionnaire from a random sample of general dental practitioners (GDPs) in Scotland. Outcomes were behavioural simulation (scenario decision-making), and behavioural intention. Predictor variables were from the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), Common Sense Self-regulation Model (CS-SRM), Operant Learning Theory (OLT), Implementation Intention (II), Stage Model, and knowledge (a non-theoretical construct). Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the predictive value of each theoretical model individually. Significant constructs from all theories were then entered into a 'cross theory' stepwise regression analysis to investigate their combined predictive value
Results
Behavioural simulation - theory level variance explained was: TPB 31%; SCT 29%; II 7%; OLT 30%. Neither CS-SRM nor stage explained significant variance. In the cross theory analysis, habit (OLT), timeline acute (CS-SRM), and outcome expectancy (SCT) entered the equation, together explaining 38% of the variance. Behavioural intention - theory level variance explained was: TPB 30%; SCT 24%; OLT 58%, CS-SRM 27%. GDPs in the action stage had significantly higher intention to place fissure sealants. In the cross theory analysis, habit (OLT) and attitude (TPB) entered the equation, together explaining 68% of the variance in intention.
Summary
The study provides evidence that psychological models can be useful in understanding and predicting clinical behaviour. Taking a theory-based approach enables the creation of a replicable methodology for identifying factors that may predict clinical behaviour and so provide possible targets for knowledge translation interventions. Results suggest that more evidence-based behaviour may be achieved by influencing beliefs about the positive outcomes of placing fissure sealants and building a habit of placing them as part of patient management. However a number of conceptual and methodological challenges remain.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-25
PMCID: PMC2864198  PMID: 20377849
6.  A randomised controlled trial to explore attitudes to routine scale and polish and compare manual versus ultrasonic scaling in the general dental service in Scotland [ISRCTN99609795] 
BMC Oral Health  2005;5:3.
Background
To investigate, within general dental practice, patients' and vocational dental practitioners' (VDP) attitudes towards the benefits and costs of a simple scale and polish and to compare the experience of using manual versus ultrasonic instruments to scale teeth.
Methods
28 VDPs and 420 patients participated. Patients were randomly allocated to either group. Patients' and VDPs' attitudes towards, and experience of, the scale and polish were elicited by means of self-administered questionnaires.
Results
The majority of patients (99%) believed a scale and polish was beneficial. VDPs considered ultrasonic treatment to be appropriate on significantly more occasions than they did for manual scale and polish (P < 0.001). Patient discomfort: with ultrasonic scaling 69.2% felt 'a little uncomfortable' or worse compared with 60% of those undergoing manual treatment (P = 0.072). VDPs considered treatment charges were appropriate for 77% of patients.
Conclusion
Routine scaling and polishing is considered beneficial by both patients and vocational trainees. The majority of patients, regardless of treatment method, experience some degree of discomfort when undergoing a scale and polish. VDPs showed a preference for the ultrasonic treatment method.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-5-3
PMCID: PMC1183219  PMID: 15975140

Results 1-6 (6)