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Management of Acute Dental Problems

The Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) published guidance on the Management of Acute Dental Problems in March 2013. Available in several formats, it aims to encourage the consistent provision of safe and effective care that is tailored to each patient’s needs. This guidance is intended for use by staff in any healthcare setting who may be asked to advise or manage patients with acute dental problems. This includes non-dental professionals, such as general medical practitioners, emergency department and pharmacy staff, as well as members of the dental team. The Quick Reference Guide (PDF) and Web App may be of particular interest to non-dental professionals.


To inform and support the development of this guidance and its translation into practice a scoping exercise was conducted in general dental practice, general medical practice and community pharmacy. The aim was to understand current practice and attitudes towards the clinical management of patients presenting with acute dental conditions and to help establish what different healthcare professionals wanted from the guidance. Summary reports for dentists (PDF) and pharmacists (PDF) are available.


During the guidance consultation period, semi-structured interviews were conducted with general dental practitioners. The interview schedule (PDF)  followed a standardised structure to identify salient beliefs regarding barriers and facilitators and advantages and disadvantages that relate to implementation of the guidance. The findings from the interviews were considered by the guidance development group and several amendments to the guidance were made. A summary report (PDF) is available.

Post publication evaluation

In August 2013, TRiaDS, in partnership with SDCEP, conducted an online survey of end users’ awareness and perceived usefulness of the guidance. The survey was circulated to dental, medical and pharmacy professions via the NHS Education for Scotland Portal. Over 1100 responses were received. A presentation (PDF) summarising the findings is available.

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