Dentists who apply the principles of evidence-based medicine – more pertinent here to speak of Evidence Based Dentistry (EBD) – proceed by a series of nearly mechanical stages when practicing their profession:
- they get an overall picture of the patient’s problems, asking the patient questions and about specific objectives,
- using the correct method, they look for the best solutions possible, turning to the most valuable scientific proofs of efficacy in the medical literature,
- they critically interpret them, in relation to their own experience and ability, according to the assistance targeted on that patient,
- they build up a therapeutic alliance with the patient for his/her active participation in implementing the treatment in the best way possible,
- they check the results and modify the treatment strategies with the same methodology.
In this issue of the journal, we are publishing a paper about the planning and structuring of a research article specifically in the context of EBD.
The need to plan a clinical study arises from a question that the researcher wants to answer through the study. The primum movens originates from past professional experiences, personal curiosity, attendance at conferences and the observation of patients. The question could be an unexplored area that, despite being small, needs light to be shone on it. However, all researchers need to get an answer for their ideas by going through a codified structure to ensure that the answers expected from the study are clear and coherent: the international literature indicates the direction that should be taken to avoid incorrectly analyzing and interpreting the data collected.
This applies in all cases, whether we are talking about an experimental study or about a case report that describes a clinical situation observed in a single individual in order to provide clinical information for recognizing a disease, investigate its mechanisms, and illustrate the treatment methods.
The authors of the work published here provide useful indications for the design of a research work, through a path that leads to using the best evidence available in the literature, ultimately defining a systematic, transparent and reproducible methodology. They also note that commitment to dental research is considerable but that, up to now, probably not sufficient attention has been paid to the clinical and therapeutic aspects of dental problems, with the consequent positive effects on patients: this is what we intend to follow more attentively in the Italian Journal of Dental Medicine.