Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Practice Based Research : The Future of Dentistry

     There are some big changes happening in the world of dental and medical research. Technology affords our patients new and better ways to access the information they can use to improve their health. One of the most significant is "practice based research". This is a model in which hundreds of doctors in private practices throughout the country participate in a research project together, under the guidance and support of a national organization (in our case, the National Dental Practice Based Research Network).
     In my practice, we have been participating in this type of research for several years now. We want the dental care we provide to be "evidence based". That seems obvious. But how do we decide what kinds of evidence we should be using, and how we should be collecting and evaluating it? What does it mean when we say a treatment or a cure is based on "research"? 
     Historically, basic dental research in this country was conducted in teaching hospitals and academic medical centers, and a much of it still is. But full time academics often conduct their studies far from the realities of private practice, and this can hinder their vision of the ultimate goal of research: improving dental practice and patient outcomes.

"Practice based" research is a welcome and growing trend in the profession of dentistry.