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Evidence-Based Dentistry: Using PubMed for EBP

Clinical Tools

These tools are designed for use at the point-of-care.  The evidence is filtered and pre-appraised to only include studies of higher quality, and is updated frequently. Levels of evidence are often included.

LHL Guides about Evidence Based Practice

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Using PubMed to Find Clinical Evidence

For busy clinicians, searching PubMed for evidence to answer all the clinical questions encountered in a day would be a daunting task! 

The 6S Model hierarchy was developed to guide decision-making based on pre-appraised literature. The clinical tools in the box on the left can be used to answer the most common questions using pre-appraised evidence. Start at the top and work down.

When using PubMed to answer clinical questions, use PICO to create an answerable question.  Clinical Queries and using Filters can streamline your search. See the boxes below.

PubMed Clinical Queries

Use PubMed Clinical Queries to quickly locate articles limited to specific clinical research areas. (For comprehensive searches, search PubMed directly.) 

1. Click on Clinical Queries, then type your search into the search box as shown below.

 2. Choose the clinical study category, and Narrow/Broad.  If desired, use the drop down to narrow the Medical Genetics search. The results for the Study Category, Systematic Reviews on the search topic, and results limited to articles about medical genetics will be displayed too.

Levels of Evidence and PubMed Filters

An evidence pyramid is a visual representation of the strength of evidence. When possible, clinical decisions are based on studies at the top of the pyramid.

The level of evidence is based on the research design used to conduct the study. The most scientific, rigorous designs are randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analysis. These designs reduce opportunities for bias and confounders.

  • Bias refers to the systematic error that occurs in the design, conduct or interpretation of a study which may cause a deviation for the underlying truth.
  • Confounders occur when a factor disturbs the true relationship of the study variable because it is also relating to the outcome variable being measured.

Use the "Article Types" filters on the left sidebar in PubMed to limit your search to Meta-Analysis, Systematic Reviews or Randomized Control Trials.  "Practice Guidelines" is also available. If you choose more than one, the limiters will be searched with OR.

Learn more about filters.

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