Improving the Quality of Dentistry (IQuaD): a cluster factorial randomised controlled trial comparing the effectiveness and cost-benefit of oral hygiene advice and/or periodontal instrumentation with routine care for the prevention and management of periodontal disease in dentate adults attending dental primary care

Health Technol Assess. 2018 Jul;22(38):1-144. doi: 10.3310/hta22380.


Background: Periodontal disease is preventable but remains the most common oral disease worldwide, with major health and economic implications. Stakeholders lack reliable evidence of the relative clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different types of oral hygiene advice (OHA) and the optimal frequency of periodontal instrumentation (PI).

Objectives: To test clinical effectiveness and assess the economic value of the following strategies: personalised OHA versus routine OHA, 12-monthly PI (scale and polish) compared with 6-monthly PI, and no PI compared with 6-monthly PI.

Design: Multicentre, pragmatic split-plot, randomised open trial with a cluster factorial design and blinded outcome evaluation with 3 years' follow-up and a within-trial cost-benefit analysis. NHS and participant costs were combined with benefits [willingness to pay (WTP)] estimated from a discrete choice experiment (DCE).

Setting: UK dental practices.

Participants: Adult dentate NHS patients, regular attenders, with Basic Periodontal Examination (BPE) scores of 0, 1, 2 or 3.

Intervention: Practices were randomised to provide routine or personalised OHA. Within each practice, participants were randomised to the following groups: no PI, 12-monthly PI or 6-monthly PI (current practice).

Main outcome measures: Clinical - gingival inflammation/bleeding on probing at the gingival margin (3 years). Patient - oral hygiene self-efficacy (3 years). Economic - net benefits (mean WTP minus mean costs).

Results: A total of 63 dental practices and 1877 participants were recruited. The mean number of teeth and percentage of bleeding sites was 24 and 33%, respectively. Two-thirds of participants had BPE scores of ≤ 2. Under intention-to-treat analysis, there was no evidence of a difference in gingival inflammation/bleeding between the 6-monthly PI group and the no-PI group [difference 0.87%, 95% confidence interval (CI) -1.6% to 3.3%; p = 0.481] or between the 6-monthly PI group and the 12-monthly PI group (difference 0.11%, 95% CI -2.3% to 2.5%; p = 0.929). There was also no evidence of a difference between personalised and routine OHA (difference -2.5%, 95% CI -8.3% to 3.3%; p = 0.393). There was no evidence of a difference in self-efficacy between the 6-monthly PI group and the no-PI group (difference -0.028, 95% CI -0.119 to 0.063; p = 0.543) and no evidence of a clinically important difference between the 6-monthly PI group and the 12-monthly PI group (difference -0.097, 95% CI -0.188 to -0.006; p = 0.037). Compared with standard care, no PI with personalised OHA had the greatest cost savings: NHS perspective -£15 (95% CI -£34 to £4) and participant perspective -£64 (95% CI -£112 to -£16). The DCE shows that the general population value these services greatly. Personalised OHA with 6-monthly PI had the greatest incremental net benefit [£48 (95% CI £22 to £74)]. Sensitivity analyses did not change conclusions.

Limitations: Being a pragmatic trial, we did not deny PIs to the no-PI group; there was clear separation in the mean number of PIs between groups.

Conclusions: There was no additional benefit from scheduling 6-monthly or 12-monthly PIs over not providing this treatment unless desired or recommended, and no difference between OHA delivery for gingival inflammation/bleeding and patient-centred outcomes. However, participants valued, and were willing to pay for, both interventions, with greater financial value placed on PI than on OHA.

Future work: Assess the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of providing multifaceted periodontal care packages in primary dental care for those with periodontitis.

Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN56465715.

Funding: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 22, No. 38. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Dental Care / economics
  • Dental Care / organization & administration*
  • Dental Care / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Resources / economics
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Econometric
  • Oral Hygiene / economics*
  • Oral Hygiene / psychology
  • Patient-Centered Care / economics
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration*
  • Periodontal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Periodontal Index
  • Quality Improvement / economics
  • Quality Improvement / organization & administration*
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Efficacy
  • Single-Blind Method
  • State Medicine
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN56465715