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Professor Iain Pretty BDS(Hons), MSc, PhD, MFDSRCS (Ed), FDS (DPH) RCS (Ed)

Photograph of Iain Pretty

Professor of Public Health Dentistry

The Dental Health Unit 
Williams House
Manchester Science Park
Lloyd Street North
M15 6SE


I am the co-director of the Colgate Palmolive Dental Health Unit at the School of Dentistry and an honarary consultant in Dental Public Health.  I also have an interest in forensic dentistry and in particular the evidence base supporting the use of bitemark analyses in court proceedings.


  • Recently we have been involved in the following projects:
  • Water fluoridation studies in Thailand looking at dose response and fluorosis
  • Water fluoridation studies in schools in Newcastle and Manchester
  • Investigating the role of diet assessment in clinical trials
  • Undertaking health technology assessments of new diagnostic systems
  • Hyperspectral imaging systems including Near Infra-red
  • Gingival blood flow measurements


My teaching responsibilities relate to the delivery of courses to PGR students as well as running one of the first year symposia on Caries Management and Diagnosis. I was previously a clinical teacher for several years working to deliver the undergraduate programme.


Research Interests

I am a Professor Public Health Dentistry and former NIHR Clinician Scientist.  I joined the School of Dentistry at the University of Manchester in 2002 as a clinical teacher and then spent a year as a Research Fellow at the Dental health Unit. My research interests lie in the assessment of diagnostic methodologies in dentistry, the provision and services of primary care dentistry and the interface with secondary care. I have attracted over $1.5 million in research funding for these projects.

Our diagnostic team is currently examining the following aspects of oral diagnosis:

  • Caries
    Assessment of optical and electronic methods of early caries detection including the assessment of QLF, ECM and other novel devices.
  • Gingivitis
    We are examining the possibility of using laser doppler, thermal imaging and 3D laser scanning to assess gingival inflammation and assess novel means of objectively measuring this condition.
  • Fluorosis
    Using fluorescent imaging we can develop more objective and quantative measures of enamel fluorosis; this is a key target of the MRC and Department of Health. We are also working with the CDC in the United States to incorporate this technology in the NHANES survey

I am also interested in the following aspects of health services research:

  • Demand Management

I am interested in referral patterns and practice from primary care to secondary care.  We have undertaken work in developing indicators of need (such as the IOSN for dental sedation) and well as referal management systems using the latest web based technologies. Our research explores the need, demand and provider structure interfaces.  Such work aims to improve access for patients, reduce wait times and ensures that services provide value for money while developing quality

  • End of life & start of life care

Our research group is currently exploring the nature of populations who access care at the start and end of life.  For children we are keen to explore the reason why so many indivdiuals in the North West continue to access general anaesthetic extraction services.  For those adults in residential and nursing homes we are keen to explore their needs and what dental services need to do in order to secure health and well being.


Our research team is based at the Dental Health Unit - a co-funded organization with Colgate-Palmolive.

Collaborators and affiliated staff

Our group collaborates widely within and outside of the University:

  • Oral Health Unit
  • University of Chaing-Mai, Thailand
  • University of Cheng-Du, China
  • University of Indiana, USA



  • McGrady, M. G., Ellwood, R. P., & Pretty, I. A. (2099).

    The water fluoridation debate.Dental Update, 38(1).

. Publication link: b77e7a47-1eb5-48c5-b399-87f193f636af | PubMed:21366151


. Publication link: 1803e513-ce65-420a-b9bd-2e861d4136aa | PubMed:26009973

  • Goodwin, M., Sanders, C., & Pretty, I. A. (2015).

    A study of the provision of hospital based dental general anaesthetic services for children in the northwest of England: part 1--a comparison of service delivery between six hospitals.BMC oral health, 15(50). DOI:10.1186/s12903-015-0028-4. Publication link: e306f9c4-3ee1-4a42-b545-8c12337c4dd4 | PubMed:25912074

  • Goodwin, M., Sanders, C., Davies, G., Walsh, T., & Pretty, I. A. (2015).

    Issues arising following a referral and subsequent wait for extraction under general anaesthetic: impact on children.BMC oral health, 15(1), 3. DOI:10.1186/1472-6831-15-3. Publication link: 3fbe46cf-1bea-456d-858c-cd0557faf591 | PubMed:25595299

  • Sanders, C., Goodwin, M., & Pretty, I. (2015).

    A study of the provision of hospital based dental General Anaesthetic services for children in the North West of England: Part 2 - the views and experience of families and dentists regarding service needs, treatment and prevention. B M C Oral Health, 15(47). DOI:10.1186/s12903-015-0029-3. Publication link: b01694a0-fdb4-4943-9b6a-8341b1efce7e | PubMed:25881325

  • 2014
















    Research projects