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Evidence-Based Dentistry

Resources to aid oral health providers in making clinical decisions

About EBD

"Evidence-Based Dentistry (EBD) is 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." (American Dental Association).

Evidence-Based Dentistry is part of a larger concept known as Evidence-Based Decision Making (EBDM). EBDM is defined as "the formalized process of using the skills for identifying, searching for and interpreting the results of the best scientific evidence, which is considered in conjunction with the clinician's experience and judgment, the patient's preferences and values, and the clinical/patient circumstances when making patient care decisions" (Forrest, et al., 2020).

Figure 1: Forrest, J. L., & Miller, S. A. (2002). Evidence-based decision making in action: Part 1-Finding the best clinical evidence. Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice3(3), 10-26.

Evidence-Based Dentistry (EBD) definition: ADA Policy Statement on Evidence-Based Dentistry.

Evidence-Based Decision Making (EBDM) definition: Forrest J. L., & Miller S. A.  (2020). EBDM in action: Developing competence in EB practice (2nd ed.). ebdLibrary. 

5 Step EBD Process

The EBD process follows 5 steps:

  1. Ask Converting information needs/problems into clinical questions so that they can be answered
  2. Acquire Conducting a computerized search with maximum efficiency for finding the best external evidence with which to answer the question
  3. Appraise Critically appraising the evidence for its validity and usefulness (clinical applicability)
  4. Apply Applying the results of the appraisal or evidence, in clinical practice
  5. Assess Evaluating the process and examining outcomes

The 5 A’s for EBD are identified in:
Richards D, Clarkson J, Matthews D, Niederman R. Evidence-Based Dentistry: Managing Information for Better Practice. London; Chicago: Quintessence Pub; 2008.

This image “The 5 A’s” by the Medical Library Association Dental Section can be reused under the CC BY-NC-SA license

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Jennifer Silverman

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC
Wilson Dental Library
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Los Angeles, CA 90089-0641

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