Educating Patients using Evidence-Based-Dentistry

By | May 23, 2014
Dr. Partha Mukherji

Dr. Partha Mukherji

When it comes to oral health there is a lot of misinformation circulating in the public imagination. What’s the best course of action when a patient makes a request or assertion that isn’t supported by science?

Dr. Partha Mukherji is a general dentist practicing in Ft. Worth, Texas, and a supporter of Evidence-Based dentistry. He spoke with New Dentist Now about strategies dentists can use when patients are misinformed about science.

New Dentist Now

Let’s start with a quick definition of Evidence-Based Dentistry

Dr. Partha Mukherji

Sure—Evidence-Based Dentistry, or EBD, is the point where scientific evidence, my expertise as a dentist and the patient’s treatment needs and preferences all intersect. EBD isn’t new, but it has received increased focus in recent years, especially as junk science has gained prominence in the public imagination.

NDN

How do you integrate EBD into your practice on a day-to-day basis?

Dr. Partha Mukherji

It starts with my team—I’ve worked to make sure that everyone in my practice is familiar with Evidence-Based-Dentistry and how to use tools such as EBD.ADA.org. The site has some quick tutorials that can help bring newcomers up-to-speed.

I think it’s also important to share this information with patients. It has always been our role to educate patients, and this adds another dimension. It moves the conversation beyond, ‘Well I’m the dentist and I say so.”

NDN

What happens when a patient presents a real challenge, such as presenting an oral health myth as fact?

Dr. Partha Mukherji

It’s a two-step process. First of all I use it as a teachable moment, to explain how I use EBD to support my decisions, and to give an overview of how I assess scientific research. I find that many patients aren’t familiar with the basics about science—for instance the difference between correlation and causation.

And second, I work to demonstrate respect for the patient’s perspective, even as I maintain respect for my own integrity as a dentist. So I might say, “I am recommending scaling and root planing as a treatment plan. If you want to research that approach independently or seek a second opinion, I support that completely. However science doesn’t support oil pulling as an alternative.” I’ve found that helps to strike a balance between the patient’s wishes and my responsibility as a clinician.

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The ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry is at EBD.ADA.org

16 thoughts on “Educating Patients using Evidence-Based-Dentistry

  1. Jerry Jones

    Thank you, I appreciate the sensibility you bring to the field. I too tire with people questioning a doctor’s authority based on some junk science. I blame social media.
    Jerry Jones | http://www.paramountdentistry.ca

    Reply
  2. Steven Horwitz

    Very interesting. I’m wondering exactly how you incorporate evidence based dentistry into your work. For example, youre unsure about a clinical decision. 2 ways of doing something but youre unsure what would be the best plan. How do you proceed in that situation to use ebd to make your decision? Another example. You do a root canal. Pt is in pain. You cant seem to understand why. Can you use ebd in that situation as well? Thanks!!

    Reply
  3. Rico D. Short D.M.D

    Thank you for putting educating the public at the forefront. There are many myths out there regarding dentistry especially in my area of expertise root canal therapy. I make a primary goal to educate every single patient about what I do and why I do it before just jumping in on treatment. It’s nice to have the evidence based science to back it up. I still have to explain the focal infection theory to patients often. Too much fear is still lingering out there.

    Reply
  4. Dr. Michael Bolten

    For Dr. Partha Mukherji, I see that he is offering nothing more than simple facts to his patients. Plain and simple with common sense behind it.

    Reply
  5. Frank Nelson DDS

    I appreciate your attention to this. Thanks for the link, I was unaware of EBD.ADA.org
    What do you do with procedures that we all do, but the evidence is not clear?
    For instance is there “evidence base” whether an implant level crown is better or worse than a crown cemented to an abutment?
    Or, is 3 month recall on perio evidence based or just a reasonable result is obtained when we do this vs 6 months?
    thanks
    Frank M Nelson DDS

    Reply
  6. Nathan Resick

    Sometimes I wonder about all this “holistic” dental services that they offer these days. Seems like people are quick to jump on any vegan / holistic / all natural nonsense they can get their hands on without putting any thought into things.

    Reply
  7. Barry Johnsin DDS

    Interesting article on EBD by Dr. Mukerjil. I didn’t know anything about this until now. It was interesting to read and if this is a service he offers at his dental office I think it’s great.

    Reply
  8. Cristina

    There are still a lot of misinformation about dentistry and with the help of professionals like Dr. Partha Mukherji, we can all gradually help clear things up through evidence-based dentistry. Kudos to you!

    Reply
  9. dentist dubai

    Very nice article by Dr. Partha Mukherji on Evidence-Based-Dentistry that doesn’t get a mention from my dentist. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  10. Mark Blake

    Very interesting read. EBD is has proven to be quite useful in the decision making process for patient care.

    Reply
  11. javin

    Thanks for sharing a informative piece of advice,Truly helpful for everyone
    Keep us updated

    Reply

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