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Evidence-Based Dentistry: Clinical Questions: Use PICO

Clinical Questions

This page shows how to formulate an answerable question to use in database searches using PICO.

Using PICO

A well formed clinical question covers the following areas (PICO):

  • Patient or population or problem
  • Intervention or exposure or prognostic factor
  • Comparison (not always included)
  • Outcome

Examples of formulating questions using PICO:

 

Patient/Population/Problem Intervention/Exposure/  Prognostic Factor   Comparison    Outcome

adult patient with sleep bruxism

occlusal splint 

n/a*

reduce jaw muscle discomfort

patient with Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome 

 Botox

 mouthguard    

alleviate pain, joint clicking, and muscle tenderness

Questions:

1. In an adult patient with sleep bruxism, will an occlusal splint reduce jaw muscle discomfort?

2.  In patients with Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome, will Botox, as compared with a mouthguard, alleviate pain, joint clicking, and muscle tenderness?

*Note that there does not always have to be a comparison

A Brief (10 min.) PICO Overview Video

The video below provides demonstrations as to how to develop effective clinical and research questions using PICOT.

Contact Dorothy

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Jill Deaver
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PICO Worksheets

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