About our research

We are a unique interdisciplinary team of people reaching across clinical specialities and social sciences with a common interest in understanding and improving oral health and well-being for both individuals and populations.

The team includes academics and researchers in orthodontics, health psychology, ethics, paediatric dentistry, sociology, dental public health and social policy.

Our unique strengths enable us to produce innovative and world-class theoretical and methodological-oriented research that makes significant contributions to academic debates across disciplines as well as clinical practice. Our person-centred approach to oral health and dental research is exciting and groundbreaking both nationally and internationally.

Principal aims

The aim of this research group is to plan, conduct and implement high quality research in oral health utilising the theories and empirical traditions of Dental Public Health, Sociology and Psychology with the purpose of improving the oral health of individuals and populations.

Our novel and interdisciplinary research bridges the gap between the theoretical and methodological traditions of the social sciences and clinical specialities to highlight and advance a person-centred approach in the field of dentistry. The group’s expertise is in a number of areas working across a number of levels; individual, group, society and health services; encompassing a range of methodologies, from traditional quantitative approaches (epidemiology, psychometrics) to more innovative qualitative paradigms (systems theory, narrative).


  • To explain the experience of oral health and disease from individual and population perspectives.
  • To explore the structural and psychosocial aspects of oral health.
  • To identify ways in which the oral health of individuals and populations can be improved.
  • To contribute to national and international academic debates in dentistry and social sciences applied to oral health
  • To develop innovative and enabling research methods in relation to oral health
A summary of PAPOR's research. Individual. Society. Group. Health services.
Patient-reported oral health measures

Dentine Hypersensitivity Experience Questionnaire

Funded by: Glaxosmithkline

The DHEQ was developed by a team of researchers, including Sarah Baker, Barry Gibson and Peter Robinson at the School of Clinical Dentistry with funding from Glaxosmithkline. It has been widely used since 2010 in clinical trials, research projects and population surveys. There are currently two versions; the DHEQ consisting of 34-items which assess functional restrictions, social impacts, coping adaptations, emotional impacts, and identity impacts as a result of dentine hypersensitivity. The second version which is available is the DHEQ-15 short form.

Publications relating to the DHEQ and DHEQ-15 include:

Baker SR, Gibson BJ, Sufi F, Barlow A & Robinson PG (2014) The Dentine Hypersensitivity Experience Questionnaire: A longitudinal validation study. Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 41(1), 52-59.

Machuca C, Baker SR, Sufi F, Mason S, Barlow A & Robinson PG (2014) Derivation of a short form of the Dentine Hypersensitivity Experience Questionnaire.Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 41(1), 46-51.

Porritt JM, Sufi F, Barlow A & Baker SR (2014) The role of illness beliefs and coping in the adjustment to dentine hypersensitivity.. J Clin Periodontol, 41(1), 60-69.

Boiko OV, Baker SR, Gibson BJ, Locker D, Sufi F, Barlow AP & Robinson PG (2010) Construction and validation of the quality of life measure for dentine hypersensitivity (DHEQ).. J Clin Periodontol, 37(11), 973-980.

Robinson PG. (2014). Dentine Hypersensitivity: Developing a Person-Centred Approach to Oral Health. Academic Press.

Does orthodontic treatment improve oral health-related quality of life? 

Investigators: Philip Benson, Hanieh Javidi, Susan Cunningham (UCL Eastman Dental Institute), Colin Wallis and Neil Patel (specialist orthodontic practice), Jayne Harrison (Liverpool University Dental Hospital and School of Dentistry), Karen Juggins (University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM) NHS Trust), Zoe Marshman, Sarah Baker.

Organisations involved: University of Sheffield, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and collaborations outlined above.

Funding source: Faculty of Dental Surgeons Royal College of Surgeons of England-British Orthodontic Society training fellowship application (HJ) deadline for submission 27 January 2017

There is evidence that the appearance of the teeth can adversely affect the social and emotional well-being of young people, particularly during adolescence. We propose to carry out a study following a group of young people, aged 11 to 16 years, who are having braces in five centres (one busy specialist orthodontic practice, one busy district general hospital orthodontic department and three dental teaching hospital orthodontic departments). The objective is to see how treatment affects OHQoL. Data on OHQoL, clinical changes, self-esteem and socio-economic status (based on home postcode) will be collected at the start of treatment and at the first retainer review, 3 to 6 months after the brace has been removed. We also propose to follow participants up for a year after their braces have been removed. In addition to looking at changes in OHQoL, we will investigate the relationships between clinical status and other factors according to two models of health.

Development of an orthodontic appliance (brace) impact questionnaire.

Investigators: Philip Benson, Sarah Bell, Amy Hyde, Zoe Marshman, Fiona Gilchrist, Jennifer Kettle.

Organisations involved: University of Sheffield, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Funding source: British Orthodontic Society Foundation grant application submitted 29 July 2016.

Incomplete orthodontic treatment represents a considerable waste of time and money to the young people, their parents, clinicians and the NHS. Investigating the impact of orthodontic appliances on young people might give some insight into why some young people cannot tolerate orthodontic appliances and give up part way through treatment. The aim of the study is to obtain the views of young people about how their orthodontic appliance affects their everyday life and incorporate these views into a new impact of orthodontic appliance questionnaire. We also plan to undertake some initial cross-sectional testing of the measure. The design will be a mixed-methods approach, involving firstly qualitative interviews with young people aged 11 to 17 years, to identify items to include in the questionnaire. This will be followed by validation of the items and cross-sectional testing, using psychometric analyses of test-re-test reliability, internal consistency, interpretability and content, criterion and construct validity. Item reduction and analysis of differential item functioning will be achieved through Rasch analysis.

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Resin-modified glass ionomer or composite for orthodontic bonding?

Investigators: Philip Benson, Declan Millett (Cork, Ireland), Fiona Dyer (Sheffield, UK), Anjli Patel (Crewe, UK), Stephen Cotter (Killarney, Ireland), Jonathan Alexander-Abt (Stevenage, UK).

Organisations involved: University of Sheffield, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Eastman Dental Institute and collaborators.

Funding source: Sheffield Hospitals Charitable Trust.

Demineralization during orthodontic treatment is a common clinical problem. A recent systematic review has shown little evidence that current methods of delivering fluoride are effective at reducing this problem. The design is a multi-centre randomised single blinded controlled clinical trial will be conducted with two parallel groups. Participants were treated by six specialist orthodontists in both hospitals and specialist orthodontic practices. The interventions were bonding all teeth in front of the first permanent molars with either a resin-modified glass ionomer cement (Fuji Ortho LC) or a light cured composite control (Transbond). The two main outcome measures are difference in demineralization of the anterior teeth before and after treatment assessed from photographs and the number of debonded brackets during treatment.

Benson PE, Parkin N, Dyer F, Millett DT, Furness S, Germain P. Fluorides for the prevention of early tooth decay (demineralised white lesions) during fixed brace treatment. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2013; 12: CD003809. 10.1002/14651858.CD003809.pub3.


Given our unique position in the UK as the interdisciplinary team in person-centred research in dentistry, we can offer unrivalled in-depth research and consultancy services in relation to a wide range of oral health projects based on the latest research findings, methods and tools.

Expertise includes:

  • Workforce modelling
  • Development and evaluation of person-reported outcome measures (PROMs) for dentistry
  • Design, approval and coordination of randomised clinical trials
  • Psychology as applied to oral health
  • Development and delivery of systematic reviews
  • Inclusive research with disabled people, and people with mild, moderate, and profound learning difficulties
  • Child-centred research
  • Work with marginalised populations
  • Cultural perspectives on oral health
  • Development and implementation of Grounded Theory studies
  • Sociology of the mouth and oral health

For further information, please contact:

Dr Sarah Baker (Research Group Leader)
The School of Clinical Dentistry
University of Sheffield
Claremont Crescent
Sheffield, S10 2TA

Phone: +44 (0)114 271 7837

Email: s.r.baker@sheffield.ac.uk


Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth

Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth is an interdisciplinary research centre bringing together a wealth of expertise in health and the social sciences. 


Leeds INCENTIVE: Improving the organisation and delivery of dental health care to patients - innovation in commissioning and delivery of primary dental care service delivery and organisation. This project seek to explore how to improve the structure of general dental services to become more focused on health instead of disease.

University of Lund

Collaborating with the Department of Philosophy At the University of Lund in Sweden on the development of the grounded theory method. This research involves clarifying the meaning and procedures at the heart of grounded theory. Supervising students and undertaking grounded theory studies. Coming in 2013 will be a series of workshops on grounded theory in Sweden and Sheffield.

NIHR HTA FiCTION Trial - Filling Children's Teeth: Indicated or Not?

The FiCTION trial aims to investigate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of restoring caries in children's primary teeth. The FiCTION trial is being led from the University of Dundee in collaboration with the Universities of Sheffield, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, London and Newcastle and through recruitment of dental practices across the UK. 


Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.