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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.

Writing the Introduction

Writing the Introduction (Leake et al., 2001):

1.0          Background and purpose:
(1)Root caries is a disease of humans, which manifests as lesions on the root surfaces of teeth producing loss of the natural tooth structure. (2)The lesions progress to deeper and deeper levels of the root as well as spreading laterally to enwrap it. (3)Ultimately a lesion can progress to involve the pulp, threatening the viability of the tooth resulting in pain and eventual tooth loss. (4)When located between the teeth, the lesions are difficult to acess and therefore difficult to excise and restore. (5)In otherwise healthy, North American populations, root caries lesions increase with age.
(6)This report sets out to provide evidence-based guidelines on the prevention of root caries for Toronto Public Helath staff on the best available evidence.
(1)defines the problem; it answers the question ‘what is root caries?’
(2, 3 & 4) expand on the definition.
(5)introduces the key concept that ‘root caries lesions increase with age’, thus providing a transition to the next section, which reveals that the target population is seniors.
(6) clearly states the purpose of the report

2.0          Target Population:
[1]This report is aimed at the management of root caries among people, but especially seniors, who are eligible for care from Toronto Public Health.  [2] Toronto is a multicultural metropolis of about 2.4 million people of which 10% are seniors (Toronto District Health Council, 1998). [3] Residents of seniors homes (who are often over 85 years of age) and the poor independently-living elderly are more likely to experience dental diseases, less likely to be served by private dentists and more likely to become clients of Toronto Public Health.
[1] Identifies the target population.
[2] Relates to the significance of the problem, identifying that there are hundreds of thousands of seniors in Toronto.
[3] also relates to the significance of the problem, identifying why this population is more likely to come to TPH for dental diseases such as root caries.

                Dental staff of Toronto Public Health provide care to seniors in seniors’ residences and to independently-living seniors. Until now, they have had no evidence-based guidelines to assist them in providing the most appropriate care. Thus, staff of the health department need guidelines to serve their dentate, elderly, lower income, multicultural clientele.
This concluding paragraph connects all the key words  from the first two paragraphs in a logical sequence. It ties the whole argument together.