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Use evidence-based dentistry as a foundation to build a successful practice

September 21, 2015

By Michelle Manchir

Dr. Benjamin
Dr. Paul Benjamin compares using evidence-based dentistry to treat patients to using Zagat or Yelp for deciding on a place to eat.

"Wouldn't it be nice if dentistry had its own Zagat; not to find the best pizza parlor, but as a resource to use so we can better answer questions that arise in our daily practice?" Dr. Benjamin said, adding that EBD can act as that resource.

"What are the best guidelines to use so we can obtain the best results for our patients? How are we to judge the content offered at courses we attend, or how are we to critically appraise the information we are confronted with on a daily basis? By understanding how to find and use the best evidence in science and research, clinicians can get answers to those questions and others. Not only does this save us money and time in the long run, but this will also result in better treatment for our patients. Talk about a win-win," Dr. Benjamin said.

Dr. Benjamin, who this summer sold his private practice in Miami after 39 years to teach at the University of Florida Hialeah Dental Center, is among the presenters at the ADA Evidence-Based Champions Conference Nov. 3-4 in Washington, D.C. It immediately precedes ADA 2015 – America's Dental Meeting.

Sponsored by Colgate and the ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, the conference aims to teach the basics of EBD and how to apply its principles and tools in clinical decision-making.

"Dentists are bombarded with new products and technologies on an almost daily basis. It is critical they have the knowledge and skills to evaluate which of these new technologies will help improve outcomes for their patients," said Dr. Barbara Shearer, director of scientific affairs at Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals. "Today's students learn the principles of evidence-based dentistry at dental school, but for the rest of us, we need programs such as the Evidence-Based champions conference to make sure we are at the cutting edge of decision making."

Anyone who wishes to improve their patient outcomes and learn to better understand how to critically appraise what they're reading about should consider attending the conference, Dr. Benjamin said. "You'll get better information; you'll make better decisions."

He should know.  During his decades of seeing patients, he remembers many times patients brought him news articles about their concerns on topics like silver fillings or fluoride.  Being able to turn to a scientific article online, print it out and hand it over to a patient benefits everyone, Dr. Benjamin said.

"Many times, just showing patients that you understand their concerns and then guiding them to the best science often results in them making better oral care choices, while simultaneously showing patients that you and your staff are up to date with the latest information," he said.

The conference will help dentists learn how they can quickly and effectively access the best scientific information available, and also how to engage dental staff and colleagues in implementing EBD strategies. Dr. Benjamin will discuss his involvement with the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network.

This network, which is funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, aims to improve oral health by conducting dental practice-based research in the real world of daily dental practice. Since most patient care occurs in our practice there is no better place to find answers to our dental care questions than our offices, Dr. Benjamin said.

Dr. Benjamin, who has attended every EBD conference since the first in 2008, said discussion is lively at the events.

"Some of the most important information you'll take away from the conference comes from sitting down in a workshop and interacting with other dentists," he said.

For more information about the conference or to register for it, visit ebd.ada.org.