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Improving dental care for older people: efficient and evidence-based models

Institute of Dentistry

, Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Oral conditions affect 3.9 billion people (1). With an increasingly aging population it is predicted that there will be an increase in demand for complex dental services(2). In addition, older people also tend to accumulate an increasing burden of comorbidities, which impact on both their general and oral health. In the UK, those over the age of 65 years are charged for NHS dental services unless they are in receipt of pension credit (3), which is an income-related benefit that is poorly subscribed to. In many countries tailored care plans for older people does not exist at all.

Those older patients who are economically deprived have been shown to attend for dental visits less regularly(4). The British Dental Association 2020 Vision for oral healthcare for older people recommended improving information about charges, increasing accessibility to services, and the free provision of oral health assessments for patients over the age of 60 years (5). These measures have been adopted to a varying degree in the UK and other countries.

Improving the availability and accessibility of dental services for older patients would reduce the need to rely on emergency dental care and could improve their oral health outcomes. This project will employ mixed method research and operational research techniques used in our previous work (6) to design acceptable and efficient evidenced-based dental service package for older people.
Goal of this project:

Project Aims:
This project will address the following aims
1. To establish the nature and demand of dental care from older people
2. To establish the opinions and perceptions of comprehensive oral health care from older people
3. To evaluate existing models of care and design effective and acceptable dental care models for older people
4. To outline an acceptable and high ‘return on investment’ approach to the delivery of dental care to older people.

1. Marcenes W, Kassebaum NJ, Bernabé E, Flaxman A, Naghavi M, Lopez A, et al. Global Burden of Oral Conditions in 1990-2010. Journal of Dental Research. 2013;92(7):592-7. PubMed PMID: 23720570.
2. Gallagher J, Kleinman E, Harper P. Modelling workforce skill-mix: how can dental professionals meet the needs and demands of older people in England? British Dental Journal. 2010;208(3):E6; discussion 116-7.
3. NHS Choices. About NHS Dentists 2007. Available from: howthe NHSworks/dentists / Pages/ Dentists Summary.aspx.
4. Marshman Z, Porritt J, Dyer T, Wyborn C, Godson J, Baker S. What influences the use of dental services by adults in the UK? Community dentistry and oral epidemiology. 2012;40(4):306-14.
5. British Dental Association. Oral healthcare for older people: 2020. London: British Dental Association, 2003.
6. Wanyonyi KL, Radford DR, Harper PR, Gallagher JE. Alternative scenarios: harnessing mid-level providers and evidence-based practice in primary dental care in England through operational research. Human Resources for Health. 2015;13(1):1-12.

Funding Notes

Applicants need BDS or equivalent or a good health related first or public health, health psychology or behavioural science degree (minimum of a 2:1) and a relevant Master’s degree or an equivalent professional qualification

We will consider applications from prospective students with a source of funding to cover tuition and bench fees for three years full-time or 6 years part-time. Both self-funded and sponsored students will be considered.

UK and EU self-funded students might be eligible for both the cost of tuition fees and a yearly stipend over the course of the PhD programme from the Student Finance England: View Website

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