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Interactive Super Session eyes impact of EBD on practice

October 20, 2014

By Stacie Crozier

phot of man in orange shirt
Weighing in: A participant votes on a question during the interactive session.
San Antonio
— Participants logged on and weighed in on third molar extractions Oct. 10 in a session designed to explore the role of scientific evidence in practice.

Moderator Julie Frantsve-Hawley, R.D.H., Ph.D. and presenters Drs. Robert Weyant and Thomas Dodson launched the session by helping participants access online polling technology which initially quizzed them on their favorite San Antonio cuisine to make sure they were signed on and tuned in. (Tacos edged out barbecue ribs 48 percent to 33 percent, and cornbread and clam chowder trailed behind.)

Presenters and participants used the polling technology as a starting point for a discussion on systematic reviews of third molar extractions and how and where to access them.

"Systematic reviews can be a concise way to review a comprehensive summary of the extensive literature available," Dr. Weyant said. "SRs are a front line weapon against information overload. A lot of clinicians also get information from colleagues and continuing education courses, but online resources like the ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, the Cochrane Library, PubMed and Google Scholar are an easy go-to."

Dr. Dodson asked participants if studies influence their clinical decisions and noted that "evidence-based decision-making isn't advocating a position, but seeing where the data take you. Wisdom teeth are just a microcosm of the risks and benefits we need to explain to our patients. We need to give them the most balanced treatment options we can."

Presenters also noted that clinicians should talk with patients to find out what they are thinking and that a large percentage of patients accept treatment plans because they have dental insurance.

"I like EBD because I am better able to give my patients a perspective on what risks they might face down the road if they opt to wait on a treatment," said Dr. Alma Garza, a San Antonio dentist who has practiced for more than 25 years. "I might tell a patient with periocoronitis that he or she may need a wisdom tooth extraction. About one in five will say OK. But it may have to happen two or three times before they agree. And later they will say, 'I wish I had done this sooner.'"