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11 July 2018

ACFF Dental Policy Lab aims to repeat last year's success

The Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF) is a global, not-for-profit organisation, which seeks to promote integrated clinical and public health action to fight caries and progress towards a cavity-free future for all. It is run from the Dental Innovation and Translation Centre at King’s College London Dental Institute.


A key ACFF initiative, in collaboration with the King’s College London Dental Institute and the Policy Institute, has been the development of the dental ‘Policy Labs’, a series of collaborative workshops that bring together a diverse group of experts and challenges them to solve a pressing issue within clinical practice and public health.

The first Dental Policy Lab was held in June 2017, looking at how we could increase the focus of dental health resource allocation onto caries prevention and control (rather than fillings).

The Lab was seen as “ground breaking” and “very valuable” by participants and stakeholder groups, who have asked that the work be continued in a focused manner to build on the momentum created.

The Lab has had an immediate impact on global public health policy, with the French National Health Service (Assurance Maladie), the ICDAS / ICCMS™ Group, FDI Chief Dental Officers/Dental Public Health Section and The World Health Organisation Oral Health Unit, taking action based on the Lab findings.

The full report created from the Lab can be read here.

The second Policy Lab – Paying for Health in Dentistry - is now set for the 23-24 July 2018, focusing on how to create and implement acceptable prevention-based dental payment systems, as:

  • The majority of oral health systems for dentists have been built around providing only later stage treatment (such as dealing with cavities by filling). They are mainly on a ‘Fee For Service’ model, paying per treatment offered.
  • Current payment systems do not typically pay dentists to ‘do prevention and caries control’ and there is no financial incentive for dentists to follow a preventatively-oriented pathway. In most current dental health systems, doing this would significantly reduce their incomes.
  • With a system geared towards prevention, patients might be wary of paying a regular fee without receiving a traditional surgical intervention from a dentist.
  • In order to ensure what is truly best for the patient a balance needs to be struck, as fee for service payment systems often lead to overtreatment, whilst those working within capitation systems tend to undertreat.

ACFF Global Chairman Professor Nigel Pitts says:

“The Policy Lab is a methodology developed by the Policy Institute at King’s that has now proven itself immensely valuable in finding effective solutions to embedded, complex issues within Oral Health systems. The second Dental Lab will not only seek to repeat the success of the first, but build on it. We are very excited and proud at the prospect of this innovative project pointing the way to a cavity free future for all.”

In this story

Nigel  Pitts

Dean of Research Impact