The public's expectation of keeping for life a well restored functional dentition of good appearance is growing. Comparison of the first and second Adult Dental Health Surveys in 1968 and 1978 and Dental Practice Board statistics clearly indicate these trends. Great emphasis in research activity is placed upon preserving a patient's natural dentition by the prevention of dental disease, by realistic appraisal of the increasingly sophisticated restorative treatment offered and by the investigation of behaviour management approaches. Although more sophisticated forms of treatment are offered by General Dental Practitioners, there is inevitably an increase in the number of problems associated with patient management, diagnosis, treatment and maintenance, with which primary care practitioners, have difficulties.
Consultants in academic departments combine their service commitment with researching many aspects of restorative care. These range from epidemiology to research into the latest dental materials that can be used. Clinical trials are undertaken into the effectiveness of treatment procedures, contributing to the development of evidence based dentistry.