Integrating evidence-based dentistry concepts throughout pre-doctoral dental curriculum
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Evidence-based dentistry (EBD), an evolving educational tool that started its rise in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, is being used more every year in dentistry. EBD combines the most current scientific and clinical evidence with the dentists’ expertise and the patients’ needs and preferences to formulate the best option to treat the patient. Since patients are taking more time to research their oral health issues before seeing their dentists, the dentists and the dental team must be prepared for all types of questions. Having the tools necessary to understand the latest and most significant research allows dental professionals to consistently educate themselves. However, there is no independent committee that handles the current issues facing dentistry. Using the topic of asymptomatic removal of third molars as a framework for EBD education, it can be used to help improve how schools educate their students. It is important that both the dental community and the public understand the scientific literature behind the removal of third molars because the existing practice of removing third molars without adverse symptoms is not statistically supported. Unfortunately, there is not enough evidence in favor of either side of the situation. Major databases, like PubMed, contain very little research on the asymptomatic removal of third molars, and those studies were not done recently. For EBD to be successful in dentistry, it must function in the clinical environment, but initial training in the concepts of EBD must start during pre-doctoral education. The dental practitioner still must rely on his or her own experience, but the patient must also trust his or her dentist. EBD is based on trust because it is based on the trust you have demonstrated through your skills and your usage of all available resources. If the dentist can compile pertinent scientific data and information to share with the patient and make the best decision together, then the use of EBD will be beneficial to the field of dentistry.