Maternal, Child and Family Health

Craniofacial Anomalies and Cariology
Improving Outcomes for Tooth LossImproving Global OutcomesImproving relationships with ChildrenImproving Dental EducationImproving Outcomes for Cleft Palete

Craniofacial Anomalies

The research activities include the following:

  • The Unit of Dental and Oral Health at the University of Dundee Dental School was designated a WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Issues on Congenital Anomalies and Technology Transfer in August 2004, and in July 2010 this has been re-designated for a further four years.
  • Orofacial clefting (OFC) research: the combined influence of environment and genotype and the role of heredity in orofacial clefts: in particular analysis of maternal medical factors, nutrition, lifestyle and occupation, and biochemical markers of nutrition for primary prevention.
  • Eurocran project produced, by pan European collaboration, the world’s largest single trios biobank (1190 CL/P trios from 8 different countries).
  • Collaboration on recent breakthroughs in genetics of CL(P), with a series of publications appearing in Nature Genetics.
  • Collaborative OFC research with a global and health inequalities perspective, involving developing world countries such as India, Nepal, Brazil and Nigeria.
  • Evidence-based craniofacial and orthodontic care through Cochrane reviews and developing new evidence through a cohort of related clinical trials.
  • Collaboration with external colleagues across the UK and Ireland through the Clinical Orthodontic Research Consortium, currently submitting for funding a feasibility study to address the issue of tooth extraction in orthodontic treatment.


This activity has long been a strength at Dundee and takes place across the Dental Health Services Research Unit, the Dental School and the Centre for Clinical Innovations (CCI). The research activities include the following.

  • ICDAS (International Caries Detection & Assessment System); this methodology, developed by a charitable Foundation co-Chaired from Dundee, seeks to promote evidence based practice in caries assessment and management. There are continuing international impacts of the system across research, practice, epidemiology and education.
  • Application of novel techniques for caries detection. This work builds on many years of basic science innovation which has been translated into clinical tools to address diagnostic challenges. Some technologies have been exploited commercially and developed into regulatory approved commercial products in both Europe and the US.
  • The Hall Technique has been developed as part of Dundee's Child Friendly approach to managing decayed baby teeth. It is a relatively non-invasive treatment, where tooth decay is sealed into baby teeth by pushing over a preformed metal crown, avoiding injections or drilling. The technique has shown increased acceptability to children/ parents/ dentists as well as improved outcomes over standard care. Further information in the form of a fully illustrated manual for clinicians on the Hall Technique can be downloaded here.
  • "FiCTION" (Filling Children's Teeth: Indicated Or Not) is a National Institute for Health Research funded, UK-wide, practice-based clinical trial investigating the most appropriate and effective way to manage caries in primary teeth. This study builds on the internationally recognised expertise of the Scottish Practice Based Research Network. 
  • A range of studies continue around the biological management of dental caries. These build on Systematic Reviews and primary care-led studies and are having an increasing clinical impact, both nationally and internationally.
  • Leading the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) - Global Oral Health Inequalities Research Agenda (GOHIRA) Dental Caries Task Group (one of two led from Dundee). This initiative seeks to focus on addressing inequalities in oral health between and within countries by overcoming failures to get research findings into policy and practice.
  • Lead role in the FDI – World Dental Federation's Global Caries Initiative. Working through National Dental Associations, the FDI vision is to improve oral health through the implementation of a new paradigm for managing dental caries and its consequences, one that is based on our current knowledge of the disease process and its prevention.
  • The Alliance for a Cavity Free Future (ACFF), seeks to implement research findings by promoting the take up of evidence based clinical interventions on a Global basis using web-based resources and facilitating regional public health and clinical actions.

Other developing activities include:

  • Collaboration between CCI and a number of Scottish Universities on new methods of caries remineralization.
  • Collaboration with a group from the School of Life Sciences into the effects of dental treatment on the caries biofilm using meta-genomics technologies.
  • A range of studies on erosion and tooth surface loss.