What is the Return Project?

Lots of people put off visiting the dentist until they have a problem. Toothache can mean sleepless nights, time off work and a lot of bother. Some people even go to their doctor rather than a dentist and can end up needing antibiotics too.

RETURN is a project which aims to develop and test some material to help adults who only use dental services when they have a problem.

The project started in August 2018. The team have spent 2 years closely with local people to develop material they would find useful. We tested this material in a pilot study in 2020 and in 2021 will be starting a large study involving over 1,000 people.

They will be asked to take part when they visit a dental service with an urgent problem. This will help us see if the material works and helps them get back into dental care.


Health Inequalities
Putting off dental visits is more common in poorer areas of the country and is a cause of health inequalities because decayed teeth might need to be taken out rather than just filled when dental treatment is delayed. This affects people’s smiles and how confident they feel.

Meet the team

Research led by

In collaboration with

This study/project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) [PGfAR project reference RP-PG-0616-20004]. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.