BACKGROUND: Significant national investments have aided the development of practice-based research networks (PBRNs) in both medicine and dentistry. Little evidence has examined the translational impact of these efforts and whether PBRN involvement corresponds to better adoption of best available evidence. This study addresses that gap in knowledge and examines changes in early dental decay among PBRN participants and non-participants with access to the same evidence-based guideline. This study examines the following questions regarding PBRN participation: are practice patterns of providers with PBRN engagement in greater concordance with current evidence? Does provider participation in a PBRNs increase concordance with current evidence? Do providers who participate in PBRN activities disseminate knowledge to their colleagues?