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Dentistry research at the front line of tobacco intervention

Dentistry research is at the front line of tobacco intervention

Sydney Dental School

Learn more about Sydney Dental School

Smoking is a primary risk factor for periodontal disease and oral cancer and is one of the leading preventable causes of death. Healthcare providers have access to evidence-based guidelines that can help patients quit smoking; however, the translation of that knowledge and adoption into daily practice remains low. Healthcare providers are missing opportunities to address tobacco-use with their patients due to limited time and lack of health behaviour change expertise.

Concerns around how best to manage patients’ tobacco-use are raised in dental settings across the world. Innovative strategies are emerging in the behavioural sciences area; however, screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRTs) methods can be difficult to apply to the individual patients.

How is dentistry research at the University of Sydney addressing this issue?

Professor Heiko Spallek, Pro-Dean of Dentistry at the University of Sydney  and Dr Brad Rindal, Associate Dental Director for Research at HealthPartners Institute, Minnesota are conducting a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of Clinical Decision Support (CDS) to improve dental provider delivery of SBIRTs.

What does the clinical trial involve?

The overarching goal of this research is to reduce smoking-associated morbidity and mortality by increasing the number of dental patients who are referred for tobacco cessation counseling. This program aims to

  • evaluate the effectiveness of clinical decision support (CDS) and,
  • improve dental provider delivery of brief tobacco interventions and referrals to tobacco quitlines for further tobacco counseling.

In this research, the CDS is being integrated within two commonly used electronic dental record systems and will generate personalised evidence-based recommendations for dental providers. These records will help dental professionals to actively engage with patients who smoke as part of the course of usual dental care.

The tobacco CDS will be tested within two dental schools, the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and the Indiana University School of Dentistry as well as sixteen private-practice clinics. The research project is funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research for over two million US dollars.

Sydney Dentistry’s Doctor of Dental Medicine

The Sydney Dental School’s DMD is a graduate-entry program that has been purposefully designed to adhere to the well-rounded course structure of the North American postgraduate model, but has also maintained the sophisticated clinical training for which the University of Sydney has come to be renowned, giving students an applicable knowledge of dental health from the community to the laboratory.

Program: Doctor of Medicine (MD)
Location: Sydney, New South Wales (Camperdown/Darlington campus)
Semester intake: February each year
Duration: 4 years

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Are you interested in dentistry at the University of Sydney ? Email OzTREKK’s Australian Dental Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com for more information!

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