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Annual session course examines Dental Practice-Based Research Networks

Orlando, Fla.—This year at annual session, dentists and their team members can learn about practice-based research networks.

Dr. DeNucci
Dr. DeNucci

PBRNs present an opportunity for practicing dentists and the academic community to partner in shaping the future of dentistry. (See related story here.) The session course will show how dentists and their staff can contribute to building the science base for clinical dentistry.

Dental PBRNs are groups of practices that collectively conduct studies on pressing clinical questions related to the oral health care of patients. The studies are designed to have clear and easily defined outcome measures while minimizing any disruption to a practice's daily routines, said Dr. Donald DeNucci, the PBRN program specialist for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. They also rely on the experience and insights of clinicians to help identify and frame research questions with the overlay of academic expertise to design the research projects.

The ADA and National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research are teaming up to offer Networked Dentistry: Providing Answers to Important Clinical Questions, Tuesday, Oct. 12 (course 8308) from 8-10:30 a.m. (ticket required) at the Orange County Convention Center.

Dr. DeNucci will lead/moderate the no-fee symposium, which features the PBRN network directors and selected practitioners who will explain the advantages of combining practice-based research and the Association's evidence-based dentistry program.

Scott Drew, a practice research coordinator with the PEARL Network
Research: Scott Drew, a practice research coordinator with the PEARL Network, reviews the informed consent with a patient before a study.

"By the end of the course, participants will understand the rationale for conducting oral health research in dental practice and also gain an appreciation for the kinds of studies best suited for practice-based research," Dr. DeNucci said. "They will also learn about the results of several important studies conducted in practice-based research networks."

Since 2005, the NIDCR has funded three national dental PBRNs: the Practitioners Engaged in Applied Research and Learning (PEARL) network at the New York University College of Dentistry; the Dental Practice-Based Research Network (DPBRN) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; and Northwest Practice-Based Research Collaborative in Evidence-Based Dentistry (NW PRECEDENT) at the University of Washington and Oregon Health and Sciences University.

Each network operates independently, but shares a common goal in conducting studies that have an immediate, direct impact on the delivery and effectiveness of clinical care. All comprise practitioners who conduct clinical research in the context of normal dental practice. They strive to make research patient- and clinician-friendly, as well as rigorous and meaningful to practitioners and patients alike. When dentists join a PBRN, they plug into a network of like-minded, research-oriented practitioners seeking answers to real-world clinical questions. Currently, more than 800 dentists participate in more than 30 studies on topics such as pulp capping, analgesic prescribing patterns and dental restoration outcomes. In addition, the three PBRNs have collaborated on a study of osteonecrosis of the jaw that has recently been submitted for publication.