65% of British households have access to the Internet.1 The Web has endless possibilities of use including commerce, communication, gaming, and learning. Accordingly its potential has been engaged and used to create online stores and businesses, television channels, blogs, social and gaming networks, and vast libraries of information. With a "paradigm shift from the Web as a publishing medium to a medium of interaction and participation", it has evolved into Web 2.0, and a semantic �Web 3.0� is now on the horizon.2
The internet has had a positive impact on dentistry.3 The potential of it�s use in dental practice is slowly being realised4 and researched. Dental informatics, a nascent discipline regarding �the application of computer and information science to improve dental practice, research, and education� is emerging from medical informatics.5 There is literature on the application of the Web for continuous education of the oral health team and patient education.6,7,8,9
Regulations governing the content of dental practice websites exist from the Council of European Dentists. They contain limited lists of information which should and should not be present on dental websites,10 which provide the basis for providing credible and useful information for patients. However, the growing array of web design companies specialised in the creation of dental websites seem to place an emphasis on the use of dental practice websites as marketing tools rather than their potential to provide a service to patients, and this philosophy has been reinforced in the literature.11 Moreover research suggests there is little compliance with the regulations issued by the Council of European Dentists.12
This study aims to examine the extent that dental practices have embraced the Web and the role that dental practice websites play in primary dental care.
The study plans to investigate the following points:
� The percentage of dental practices that have a website
� The existence of a trend in content/functions of dental practice websites
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