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Evidence-based dental practice: searching the literature and writing a report

This guide will help you search and assess literature to support dental research questions.

Step One - Identify main concepts and keywords

Brainstorm how you would like to approach your topic, use an EBM tool like PICO, identify the main concepts or keywords, transfer your question into a searchable question by making it more specific.

  • P: Patient, problem, population
  • I: Intervention
  • C: Comparison, control (optional)
  • O: Outcomes (clinical and your own search outcomes)

Example 1:

Original question: "What is the most efficient way of dealing with anxious children undergoing dental treatment?"

  • P: Children, dental treatment
  • I: Pharmacological therapies: Nitrous Oxide (or use another drug)
  • C: Behavioral, cognitive therapies
  • O: Alleviate dental anxiety

Research question: What is the most efficient way of dealing with anxious children undergoing dental treatment, pharmacological therapies, or behavioral, cognitive therapies?

Example 2:

Original question: A fifty-six-year-old, systematically healthy male patient with chronic periodontitis is looking for treatment. He is afraid of dental procedures and would like to avoid staying in the dental chair too long.

  • P: Periodontitis
  • I: Sonic, machine-driven
  • C: Manual instruments
  • O: Efficient

Research question: In adult patients with chronic periodontitis, does nonsurgical periodontal treatment (sonic/ultrasonic scalers) or manual instruments reduce duration of treatment?

Adapted from : Faggion, C. M.,Jr, & Tu, Y. K. (2007). Evidence-based dentistry: A model for clinical practice. Journal of dental education, 71(6), 825-831.

PICO