Implementing evidence-based practice in undergraduate teaching clinics: a systematic review and recommendations

J Dent Educ. 2004 Sep;68(9):995-1003.


The objective of this project was to identify an effective methodology of approaching and implementing evidence-based principles in undergraduate teaching clinics to promote evidence-based dentistry in future clinical practice. A systematic review was undertaken to examine evidence-based clinical teaching and faculty continuing education. Research published from 1996 to 2002 was retrieved by searching several databases and the Internet, along with conducting hand searches and reviewing bibliographies maintained by faculty experts. Qualitative checklists for different types of studies were created to evaluate the literature. Relevant studies were selected if they met all four predetermined essential criteria and a minimum of two out of three desirable criteria. Systematic reviews were chosen if they met all five essential criteria. Data from selected articles were extracted, and study quality was assessed. We found that three systematic reviews and nine original research articles were deemed methodologically acceptable. Problem-based learning and evidence-based health care interventions increased student knowledge of medical topics and their ability to search, evaluate, and appraise medical literature. Dental students in a problem-based learning curriculum, emphasizing evidence-based practices, scored higher on the NDB I (National Dentistry Boards, Part I) than students in traditional curricula. While effective modules in implementing theoretical evidence-based principles exist, very few high-quality studies are available that examine these principles in dental undergraduate teaching clinics. No methodologically appropriate studies on the education of faculty in the implementation of evidence-based principles are available. Some studies promote promising theories and methodologies of teaching evidence-based care; based on these theories, a comprehensive model is proposed in this article. Considering the strength of evidence in the reviewed literature, we concluded that an evidence-based approach to clinical care is effective.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Dental Clinics*
  • Education, Dental*
  • Education, Dental, Continuing
  • Educational Measurement
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Faculty, Dental
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics Applications
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Teaching / methods