AARD 2005

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This review of current dental literature published in 2004 summarizes articles selected on the basis of new information or important confirmatory results that contribute to the advance of dentistry. In addition to the summary presented, there are comments on the relative strength of the evidence presented in the published reports cited. The quality and validity of the current dental literature is widely variable, and the literature is often misleading or inaccurate. Careful interpretation of scientific information is a requirement for the practicing dentist to remain current and provide state-of-the-art dental care, but is a formidable task.

Evidence-based research methods introduce objective, nonbiased studies as a scientific foundation for treatment decisions and choices of materials and techniques. The highest order of scientific evidence for treatment effectiveness is the randomized, controlled clinical trial, which is blinded and longitudinal. Next, in order of importance, are cohort or longitudinal studies, case-controlled studies, noncontrolled case studies, descriptive studies, and animal or laboratory studies. The primary goal of this review is to aid the practicing dentist in critically analyzing the current literature and in recognizing the hierarchy of evidence. This scientific approach is especially necessary today, as new products and techniques are promoted during lectures and through advertising media, but have had neither sufficient time in use nor any valid scientific evaluation.

In an effort to assist dentists in developing viable evidence-based practices, the Committee on Scientific Investigation of The American Academy of Restorative Dentistry has compiled this review of selected articles published during the year 2004. As in recent years, this review presents a more thorough review of the significant literature rather than a broad but brief overview of many articles. Comments on research design, methods of analysis, and strength of findings are included to aid the reader in determining the validity of the research. Meta-analyses are included again this year because of the strength of evidence they provide. Meta-analysis is a synthesis of available literature about a topic. It is a structured statistical review process, ideally of randomized trials, to arrive at a single summary estimate that shows the combined effect for the full sample. The analysis of the literature is divided into 6 sections: (1) Caries and Pulp Pathology; (2) Periodontics; (3) Occlusion and Temporomandibular Disorder; (4) Dental Materials; (5) Prosthodontics; and (6) Implant Dentistry.

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