Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP)

SDCEP operates within the Dental Directorate of NHS Education for Scotland (NES). An initiative of the National Dental Advisory Committee (NDAC), SDCEP has close links with Dundee Dental School. Professor Jan Clarkson is Director of SDCEP and several members of the SDCEP team, which is based in Dundee Dental Education Centre, are honorary members of staff within Dundee Dental School.

SDCEP’s primary aim is to support dental teams throughout Scotland by providing user-friendly, evidence-based guidance on topics identified as priorities for dentistry in Scotland. For each guidance topic, a development group of dental and other professionals with particular interest or experience in the given area is convened to develop and write the guidance. This work is supported by the Programme Development Team, which conducts evidence searching and appraisal, research, liaison with external organisations, editing, publication and dissemination. SDCEP uses a variety of publication formats including, print, on-line, smartphone and web apps. 

As the primary source on current best practice for dental healthcare in Scotland, SDCEP guidance underpins the development of a range of educational initiatives, including vocational training, continuing professional development, in-practice training, audit, undergraduate education and dental nurse training.  SDCEP guidance also informs various care quality improvement and patient safety initiatives within NHS Boards.  SDCEP’s work is increasingly relevant outside Scotland with requests for guidance received from elsewhere in the UK and beyond and several publications now adopted as guidance in other countries, including Poland, Switzerland and New Zealand.

Current and Pending SDCEP Guidance:

  1. Management of Dental Patients Prescribed Anticoaglant or Antiplatelet Drugs is in development with publication planned for 2015. 
  2. Prevention and Treatment of Periodontal Diseases in Primary Care aims to support the dental team in improving and maintaining periodontal health of their patients. It provides clear and consistent practical evidence-based advice for the delivery of preventive care, including strategies to improve the oral hygiene of patients and for the treatment of periodontal diseases.
  3. Management of Acute Dental Problems encourages consistent provision of safe and effective care on an individual basis to patients with acute oral problems.  It is intended for use in any healthcare setting, including general medical practice, emergency departments and pharmacies as well as dental practices.  In addition to the full guidance and a quick reference guide, SDCEP has developed an interactive Web App version.
  4. Drug Prescribing for Dentistry provides dental prescribing advice from the British National Formulary in a handy problem-based format that is used throughout Scotland and by several deaneries in England. The guidance is also provided as a smartphone App and continues to receive very positive feedback. The guidance and App are periodically updated.
  5. The Practice Support Manual (PSM) website provides up-to-date information, advice and templates on various aspects of practice management, such as health and safety and record keeping. While increasingly used to support practices undergoing NHSScotland’s the new Combined Practice Inspection, the PSM  also aims to facilitate staff induction and training, enhance patient care and safety and to encourage involvement of the whole dental team in the smooth running of the practice.
  6. Decontamination Into Practice is a guidance series that provides practical advice on effective cleaning and sterilization of dental instruments, and on the management of decontamination in a dental practice. 
  7. Prevention and Management of Dental Caries in Children guidance is widely used in education and training throughout the UK and complements and supports the work of the Scotland’s national oral health improvement programme, Childsmile.
  8. Conscious Sedation In Dentistry provides guidance for the safe and effective provision of sedation for dental care.  A second edition was published in 2012.
  9. The Oral Health Assessment & Review guidance concerns the initial and ongoing assessment of dental patients in a manner that underpins a modern, patient-centred, risk-based and long-term approach to oral health care.
  10. TheOral Health Management of Patients Prescribed Bisphosphonates guidance provides practical advice for dentists, prescribers and dispensers of bisphosphonates to help prevent the rare but serious oral complications that may be associated with these drugs.
  11. The Emergency Dental Care guidance provides advice and standards to help improve the consistency of provision of unscheduled care.

All SDCEP guidance is available to view online via the SDCEP website, where further information about the Programme can be found.  For other information relevant to dental practice in Scotland, visit


Research Team

Professor Janet Clarkson, Co-Director DHSRU
Dr Douglas Stirling, Honorary Senior Lecturer
Dr Linda Young, Research Manager (NES), member DHSRU
Mr. Derek Richards, Honorary Senior Lecturer, Consultant in Dental Public Health; Director, Centre for Evidence-based Dentristry, DHSRU
Dr Paula Elouafkaoui, Research Fellow
Mr Steve Turner, Senior Researcher
Ms Patricia Graham,  Programme Administrator