Tell us what do you think about our website?


Pulpotomy for the management of irreversible pulpitis in mature teeth
(Pulpotomy for Irreversible Pulpitis – PIP)

What is PIP?

The PIP Study is looking at alternative ways to treat toothache and tooth decay.

Severe toothache and pain can be caused by tooth decay. Tooth decay is very common and treating decay costs the NHS over £3.4 billion each year. Where the tooth decay has spread deep into the nerve, this is usually treated by taking out the tooth or by Root Canal Treatment. Root canal treatment removes all of the nerve from the tooth.

An alternative treatment for this kind of toothache is called a Pulpotomy. A Pulpotomy removes only the damaged part of the nerve, which can be a quicker and less invasive treatment.

Pulpotomy is already used on children’s teeth and on adult teeth when they are being treated in dental hospitals. However it is not yet routinely used on adult teeth in NHS dental practices.

We are planning a large-scale study to compare Pulpotomy treatment with Root Canal Treatment in NHS dental practices. However, before we do a large study we want to find out more about the patient and dentist experiences of the new treatment (Pulpotomy). We are doing this by running this smaller study called a feasibility study. It will help us to take patients’ and dentists’ experiences into account when planning the larger study.

It will help us find out more about:
  • how many patients might need this kind of treatment.
  • how many patients might be interested in the Pulpotomy treatment.
  • the practicalities of running this kind of study in NHS dental practices.
  • how best to train dentists to deliver the Pulpotomy treatment.

The first part of our study will recruit 10 dental practices and 40 patients. If after the feasibility study, we believe we can deliver the full study, we will recruit 50 dental practices in England and Scotland. The dentists will recruit 530 NHS adult dental patients who have irreversible damage of the nerve of a tooth and who agree to take part.

The PIP Study is a £1.9m multicenter randomised controlled trial.

Professors Clarkson and Ramsay are funded by a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) HTA for this research project. Visit NIHR website

Can I take part?

We are recruiting dental practices in England and Scotland

For more information about taking part in the study please contact


If you are interested in taking part, or have any questions

Where can I take part?

Study news



Trial sites

Latest addition to sites:

Key facts about the study and documents

What is this study about?

I am a dentist – how do I join the study?

The PIP Study

The PIP study will compare the effectiveness of full pulpotomy and root canal treatment for irreversible pulpitis in permanent premolar and molar teeth in adult teeth. The study is to take place in primary care dental practices across Scotland and England.

PIP Feasibility Study

At the start of the PIP Study, we will conduct a small” feasibility study” to determine if conducting a Randomised Controlled Trial in primary care is achievable.

We will recruit 40 patient participants from 10 general dental practices in Scotland and England. We are looking for dental practices to recruit four adult patients (16 years and older) seeking treatment at NHS dental practices with symptoms of irreversible pulpitis and for all of these patients to receive a full pulpotomy. The feasibility study will take place over 12 months and patient participants will be followed up 7 days after treatment.

The NHS National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme has commissioned a collaborative team from the Universities of Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow, King's College London, Liverpool, Sheffield, and NHS Education for Scotland to conduct this research.

If you are interested in being involved in this primary care research study, or would like further details, please contact us to arrange a short briefing to answer any questions you may have about involvement with PIP.

Contact the team:

You can find out more information about PIP here:

Download documents:

Key contacts

Click on cards to find out more


Funding acknowledgement

This study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme ((NIHR HTA ref:129230) and run by University of Dundee and University of Aberdeen. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.