Introduction: An evidence synthesis approach compiling biological/laboratory data is effective in advancing health-related knowledge. However, this approach is still underused in the oral health field.
Methods: This commentary discusses the opportunities and challenges of systematic and scoping reviews of laboratory data in dentistry. Special focus is on the potential of these reviews to elucidate etiological and treatment concepts of oral diseases, such as periodontitis and peri-implantitis.
Results: The following difficulties associated with such studies are discussed: (i) selection of ideal study design, (ii) assessment of "risk of bias" and definition of "certainty of evidence", (iii) evidence assembly and summary, and (iv) the paper review process.
Discussion: Despite those challenges, high-quality reviews integrating laboratory data may generate relevant scientific information and help identify new avenues for future investigations. Experts in different oral health topics should build a process capable of helping researchers assemble and interpret these types of data.
Keywords: immunology; microbiology; periodontitis; scoping review; synthesis approach; systematic review.
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