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ADA Science division offers members a wealth of top research

September 15, 2014
image of Dr. Truelove
Dr. Truelove
Like the ADA itself, the ADA Division of Science has strong roots in bolstering both organized dentistry and the practicing dentist at chairside.

Members can drill down into the division to find plenty of valuable benefits, an array of programs and other useful resources.

A cornerstone of the Science division is the ADA Laboratories. Dentists, dental material specialists, microbiologists, chemists and engineers comprise the labs staff. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs and the ADA Research Agenda identify public health issues and develop the ADA Research Agenda that guide the labs' scientific investigations.

The labs report findings in peer-reviewed journals, presentations at scientific meetings and publishes evaluations of professional dental products such as materials and instruments in the ADA Professional Product Review. The Review is a quarterly CSA publication that highlights ADA Laboratory evaluations, clinical collaborations, expert panel discussions, dental therapeutics, product alerts and more. The online publication can be at ADA.org/ppr.

In the laboratories, scientists also administer the ADA Seal program, which is the gold standard when it comes to evaluating the safety and efficacy of over-the-counter consumer dental products.  The labs' chemistry department tests fluoride levels for some of the products in the ADA Seal of Acceptance program.

"The ADA has charged the Division of Science with the responsibility of supporting members in assuring that scientifically determined evidence guides all aspects of patient care," said Dr. Edmond Truelove, chair of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.  "The panel of volunteer scientists that make up the council and their consultant experts, supported by the highly skilled staff of the science division, focus on all aspects of science that impact the profession."

Also at home in the Science division, the ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry operates under the advisement of the CSA to develop resources that help dentists integrate clinically relevant scientific evidence at the point of care. The EBD Center puts on the annual EBD Champions Conference and otherwise introduces dental professionals to the tenets of EBD, which integrates the dentist's clinical expertise, the patient's needs and preferences, and the most current, clinically relevant evidence.

"It is essential that the foundation of all modern health care delivery be based on sound scientific evidence," Dr. Truelove said.

The 2014 conference wrapped in late May and attracted more than 170 dental professionals, many of them returning participants, who came to explore the 2014 theme "EBD Champions 2.0 Conference: Implementing Science in Practice," including hearing a lineup of experts address evidence vetting and chairside applications of EBD.

The EBD Center is growing, adding new programs and offerings. In February, it co-created the Evidence-Based Dentistry Faculty Award with the American Association for Dental Research. The award, for which the application period ended June 30, acknowledges a dental faculty member who has made significant contributions to implement and advance evidence-based dentistry.

The center also developed and launched a new podcast series featuring expert voices sharing their EBD knowledge.

Customized workshops, such as ones designed for Loma Linda University School of Dentistry faculty and Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine, also are available through the Center. For more details about the EBD Center, visit ebd.ada.org.

As part of the Dental Practice Institute, the work of the ADA Standards Administration Department intersects closely with the work of the Science division. Standards leads the development of dental product standards so that the materials, instruments and equipment used by dentists meet basic requirements for safety and efficacy in patient care.

ADA Laboratories develop test methods for evaluation of the performance of dental products for which new standards are being developed.
 
The ADA is an accredited standards organization by the American National Standards Institute, which also has designated the ADA as the official United States representative for the International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee 106 Dentistry.

The Standards department awards the annual John W. Stanford and the Robert H. Ahlstrom New Investigator Awards.

The ADA created the Stanford Award in 2011 to encourage new dentists and dental students to conduct standards-based research in the area of dental products; while the Ahlstrom award is newly created to honor research in the area of dental informatics. Applications for the award are due Feb. 1, 2015.

For more details on the Standards department, visit ADA.org/dentalstandards.