A seriously good-looking salesman schedules a lunch-n-learn during your 30-minute lunch break, and you’re happy to attend so you can study his heavily fringed, brilliant blue eyes and buff body. He’s talking to the clinical team about a new non-fluoride remineralization product. You’re trying to pay attention but you get a whiff of his cologne, and your ability to concentrate on what he’s telling you just went out the window. After the presentation, you re-enter your operatory and start thinking about this product and decide you want to re-affirm what he’s just told you about.
It’s a $20 office dispensed product, and you want to be sure the patient’s going to have an improved outcome. So, where do you search for information and why is it important to do the search?
Practicing in a way that gives you more credibility with patients is part of what evidence-based practice (EBP) is all about. It’s not just about “science,” but it’s an approach to decision-making that results in better patient outcomes and helps to contain costs.
Consider reading other articles by Lynne Slim
EBP isn’t talked about much in dental hygiene, but it has gained tremendous momentum in nursing and medicine. I’d like to introduce it to dental hygiene circles and this new e-column will be a good start.
The impetus for this movement comes from several sources:
- payor and health-care facility cost containment
- greater availability of information and a need to sort through it systematically
- growing consumer savvy about treatment options
I promise (just like I used to do in Girl Scouts) not to bore you with a lot of statistics and I’m planning on keeping the column short but chock full of practical takeaways that will help you become an evidence-based clinician.
Leave the nerdy stuff for me to figure out and I’ll show you the way.
About that topic of remineralization. There are probably thousands of articles/individual studies on this topic. So how do you decide which ones are relevant? Before you start any kind of search, pull up this article on levels of evidence and we’ll discuss it.
Study the pyramid and become familiar with lower and higher levels of evidence. When searching for reliable evidence for remineralization products, I would start with the ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry.
Although not listed in the pyramid, these clinical recommendations are a higher level of evidence than individual studies. Under the sponsorship of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs and the ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, these recommendations are developed through evaluation of the collective body of evidence on a particular topic to provide practical applications. The clinical recommendations are graded according to the strength of the evidence that forms the basis for the recommendation. The grade reflects the quality of scientific evidence to support the recommendation.
The ADA, Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry has recently published clinical recommendations on Non-Fluoride Caries Preventive Agents.