Decisions made by oral health professionals concerning patient therapy or oral health products should be based on research findings. For example, is the basis for completing periodontal debridement (a) root smoothness or (b) absence of bleeding upon probing at a follow-up appointment? Research supports the latter criteria (b).1 Should a practitioner recommend a particular dentifrice because the product advertisement claims that it contains an effective anticaries agent? Research studies must demonstrate the efficacy of the anticaries product before the practitioner decides to recommend it to patients. Research reports are the basis for evidence-based decision-making in clinical practice. This continuing education course will serve as the first of two articles on how to use published research for making decisions about patient care.
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