Electronic Resources for Access and Appraisal of Clinical Information

ANSI/ADA Technical Report No. 1095 Executive Summary

What is ANSI/ADA Technical Report No. 1095 about?

Locating and appraising dental research are essential to providing optimal patient care. This technical report provides information on electronic resources that will in turn provide detailed guidance on searching for clinically relevant research and determining the quality of what is found to help in clinical decision making. Examples of such resources include clinical practice guidelines and critical summaries of best available evidence. 

What are the issues covered in this technical report?

The report introduces the basic tenets of evidence-based dentistry – rationale, framing the clinical question, and search process. The various forms of clinical research information, ranging from clinical practice guidelines to case studies are outlined, focusing on the practical application of using this vetted information every day chairside. Other forms of electronic resources included are databases and search engines, evidence-based journals, websites, drug databases, digital textbooks, and dental apps for mobile devices. Selected electronic resources with additional reading for detailed understanding are provided with direct website links.

What does every dentist need to know?

  • Evidence-based dentistry (EBD) has been defined as “an approach to oral healthcare that requires the judicious integration of systematic assessments of clinically relevant scientific evidence, relating to the patient’s oral and medical condition and history, with the dentist’s clinical expertise and the patient’s treatment needs and preferences.” Evidence-based practice guidelines are considered to be the most authoritative source as they should be created using an unbiased, transparent process of appraising the best clinical evidence to answer a particular clinical question. The report provides guidance on using ADA Evidence-based Clinical Guidelines and other clinical sources.
  • Information skills are critical to finding answers quickly and accurately in all types of publications from systematic reviews to case studies. These include formulating a clinical question that will facilitate the search for evidence and assist you in determining whether the evidence is relevant; utilizing effective search strategies that can be applied to any search tool or database; and conducting critical appraisals to examine the research for trustworthiness, value and relevance. The report provides guidance on developing your information skills.