Many commissioning bodies for research expect that researchers will actively involve the public and patients in their projects. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), for example, involves members of the public in reviewing funding applications and making recommendations about research funding. The NIHR's portfolio is currently operating in 97% of NHS Trusts and this now includes research sited in primary dental care. This paper presents some case studies of these and other projects which are designed specifically for patient benefit in dental services in the community. This means there is no necessity to translate the outcomes of such research from a university or hospital base to the general population as the projects are undertaken in dental practices that provide primary dental care to (predominantly) NHS patients. The relevance of the outcomes to dental care is, therefore, likely to be of direct interest and importance to commissioners of healthcare funding in the UK who have a duty to use evidence bases for commissioning decisions.