Practice-based dental research networks receive $75 million

Practice-based dental research networks receive $75 million Gainesville, Fla —The National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIH/NIDCR) made an April announcement that $75 million in federal funding will be used to establish three dental practice-based clinical research networks. These regional practice-based clinical research networks will investigate with scientific rigor the everyday issues faced by dentists in their practices during the delivery of oral healthcare.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry/University of Florida network, named the Dental PBRN, has been awarded $25.35 million to establish a network to conduct dental practice-based research over a seven-year period.

“This is a major effort by the NIDCR and signals a new approach to clinical dental research,” said Ivar Mjör, B.D.S., MSD , MS , Dr. odont., eminent scholar and professor of operative dentistry at UF and co-chair of the Dental PBRN . “The emphasis here is not on basic laboratory research, but on real-world problems that dentists face every day in their practices.”

NIDCRs intent is that each of the three regional dental practice based clinical research networks will involve 100 or more practicing dentists and/or hygienists from at least two states to be trained as practitioner-investigators for participation in each research project. This approach enables the network to draw from a diverse patient base to better address a broad spectrum of racial, ethnic, and socio-economic factors that dental professionals encounter every day in their offices. The practitioner-investigators will draw from their own clinical practice patient base to investigate practical, real-world issues and generate data that will be of immediate interest to practitioners and their patients.

The Dental PBRN network has recruited hundreds of practitioner-investigators from Alabama , Florida , Georgia , Minnesota , Oregon , and Scandinavia who will conduct approximately 15 to 20 clinical studies over the next seven years, comparing the benefits of different dental procedures, dental materials, and prevention strategies under a range of patient and clinical conditions. Anonymous chart reviews to generate retrospective data on disease, treatment trends, and the prevalence of less common oral conditions may also be conducted.

Details of the Dental PBRN have been published on the networks Web page at, which will be updated regularly as the work progresses. The first study to be conducted will be on dental restorations.

“ This is a major initiative by NIDCR to move scientific advances into daily clinical practice by dentists ,” said network Co-chair Gregg H. Gilbert, D.D.S., M.B.A., F.A.A.H.D., professor and chair of diagnostic sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry. “ Finally, the nations oral health research agenda can move into the practice setting to test the effectiveness of scientifically-based treatments done in real-world settings. ”