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Dentists learn new tools at EBD Champions Conference

April 09, 2012

By Jean Williams, ADA News staff

They came for different personal and professional reasons, but ultimately they sought the same thing: the distinction of being a champion.

At the mic: Dr. Stanley Shih, Jersey City, N.J., asks a question.

With that goal in mind, more than 100 dentists spent three days learning to effectively marry their clinical expertise and their patients’ needs and preferences with the application of the best available evidence at the 5th annual Evidence-Based Dentistry Champions Conference March 8-10 at ADA Headquarters.

Most of the dentists in attendance were new to EBD, but Dr. Partha Mukherji of Fort Worth, Texas, was back a second year as a speaker. He first attended the 2011 EBD Champions Conference. In 2012, he came to relay his EBD champion experiences during the time in between.

“It’s kind of like being a Paul Revere,” Dr. Mukherji said. “You’ve just got to go out there and say, 'EBD is coming!’ What I took away when I left was, wow, I’ve got on board with this.”

In his presentation, How Can I Be a Champion, Dr. Mukherji shared how he met another dentist, Dr. Tonya Fuqua, from Texas at his first EBD Champions Conference and how they teamed up to champion EBD to the Fort Worth District Dental Society by briefly presenting at the general meeting and writing a few newsletter articles.

He also shared how EBD plays an important part in his new practice—M Dentistry—which he opened in February after practicing for a decade.

After his presentation, Dr. Mukherji fielded some challenging questions about how EBD fits into his new practice. “I enjoyed some of the discussions after the presentation,” he said. “It was really pretty cool to have some of my colleagues come up to me and ask questions like, 'What did you really mean by doing this, by implementing EBD into your practice?’ My intention was to encourage the participants to sift through the literature, review higher levels of clinically significant data, and to utilize research libraries, such as Cochrane or PubMed.

Head of the class: Dr. Partha Mukherji of Fort Worth, Texas, presents a lecture.

“I’m by no means an expert on evidence-based dentistry. I’m still evolving. I’m learning how to sift through scientific information as I purchase products or make clinical decisions with the sole purpose being to educate myself and provide the best care I possibly can for our patients.”

Dr. Mukherji said he wanted dentists who aren’t familiar with EBD to know what it is not. “EBD is not a mandate on how we should or should not practice. It is simply an adjunctive tool to create an awareness of clinically relevant and applicable research,” he said.

Many dentists are most comfortable practicing according to the methods they learned in dental school, suggested Dr. Mukherji, who graduated from Baylor College of Dentistry before EBD was integrated in the

“At Baylor, competency based requirements were essential,” he said. “There is no doubt I had some of the best educators and clinicians in the country teaching me. Now, much like other schools, evidence-based principles play an integral role in the curriculum.”

Dr. Letisha Edwards of Atlanta echoed those thoughts. “I do what I was taught in school, and that’s what most dentists do,” Dr. Edwards said. “We could do the same procedures on the East Coast as on the West Coast, but if your professor who taught you does it West Coast style, then that’s what you do.”

Dr. Edwards is a dental public health resident and is scheduled to complete the residency with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in August.

Her long-term goal is to become a state dental health director. “As a state dental health director, I can use evidence-based dentistry to direct some of the programs for the state,” she said.

Raise your hand: EBD champions engage in audience participation. 

Dr. Shailee Gupta of Austin, Texas, attended the conference to apply EBD to her work with underprivileged children at St. David’s Foundation. Her goal was to become a champion to spread the word among her dental colleagues at St. David’s. “I’m planning to do some training with our staff to teach them, using a lot of the ideas that we’ve talked about to help my staff learn and understand EBD,” she said.

Champions were encouraged to use the ADA’s EBD resources, including the suggestion to make the ADA EBD website their home page and make use of the ADA’s Cochrane Library subscription, which can be accessed via the ADA Library page at

Other EBD content is accessible from the ADA Center for Evidence-based Dentistry website (

“There are so many resources out there,” said Dr. Gupta. “I think the ADA website is a good starting point.” In her pursuit of EBD, she plans to access Cochrane Library—an ADA members-only benefit—through the ADA website, she said.

Other 2012 conference speakers and moderators included John Rugh, Ph.D., and Drs. J. Leslie Winston, Philippe Hujoel, Jane Gillette, Christopher Smiley, James Zahrowski, William Kohn, Robert Weyant, Janet Clarkson, Brian Kennedy, Elliott Abt and Paul Benjamin.