Benchmarking the clinical prosthetic dental literature on MEDLINE

Kenichi Nishimura, Faheem Rasool, Michael B. Ferguson, Morton Sobel, Richard Niederman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Statement of problem. The utility of evidence-based clinical prosthetic dental decision making is, in part, predicated on the availability of high-quality clinical trials and the use of current best evidence. With literature or outcomes continually evoking, it is difficult to know how much information is available, how fast it changes, or where it is located. Purpose. This study identified and quantified the availability of high-quality prosthetic dental clinical trials, determined the dynamics of literature increase, and identified the location of relevant literature published within a specific decade. Material and methods. A search strategy based on the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) vocabulary for prosthetic dentistry was developed to examine MEDLINE with use of the Ovid Web Gateway search engine between the years 1990-1999. Specific and sensitive methodologic search filters identified 4 categories of information: etiology, diagnosis, therapy, and prognosis. The identified studies were limited to human subjects and to articles written in English. The results were subdivided by year to identify trends and location of the literature. This evaluation did not include the following: (1) other databases or languages or (2) an evaluation of the validity or clinical applicability of the literature. The first factor would increase the estimated number of relevant articles, whereas the second factor would decrease it. Results. Between 1990 and 1999, MEDLINE identified 10,258 articles published in English on human prosthodontic issues. When subdivided by clinical category, the number of articles per year (mean ± SD) for specific and sensitive searches, respectively, was as follows: etiology, 10 ± 6 and 95 ± 27; diagnosis, 11 ± 5 and 77 ± 21; therapy, 6 ± 2 and 153 ± 52; and prognosis, 13 ± 6 and 91 ± 27. For sensitive searches, this amounted to approximately 416 articles per year. The time-course analysis indicated that the number of articles in each category increased by approximately 7% per year. The articles were published in more than 60 different journals: approximately 50% of the articles were published in 14 journals, whereas the remaining articles were published in 46 journals. Conclusion. There appears to be substantial clinical prosthetic dental literature upon which to base clinical decisions. With the sensitive search strategy used as an estimate, to stay current, one would need to read and absorb approximately 8 articles per week, 52 weeks per year, across 60 different journals. Increases in the volume of literature each year make access even more difficult. These trends suggest the need for computer-based clinical knowledge systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-541
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Prosthetic Dentistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery


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