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Research Guides@Tufts

Evidence-Based Dentistry (EBD)

What is Evidence-Based Dentistry (EBD)?

Evidence-Based Dentistry (EBD) brings research and patient-centered care into the clinical practice alongside the dentist’s expertise.


The American Dental Association (ADA) defines EBD as, “an approach to oral healthcare that requires the judicious integration of systematic assessments of clinically relevant scientific evidence, relating to the patient’s oral and medical condition and history, with the dentist’s clinical expertise and the patient’s treatment needs and preferences,” and illustrates it with the image below.

The 5 A's

Within clinical practice, EBD is a 5-step process that may be remembered as the “5 A’s:

  1. Ask
    Turn your clinical problem into a question.

  2. Acquire
    Search for the best evidence.

  3. Appraise
    Critically appraise the evidence found.

  4. Apply
    Apply the results of the appraisal into clinical practice.

  5. Assess
    Evaluate the outcomes in the clinical setting.


Often completing step 5 leads right into beginning at step 1 again. In other words, assessing how the application of the results went often leads to another clinical question.


Steps 1 through 3 are addressed on the left-hand side of this guide.


Steps 4 and 5 are addressed in the clinical setting. Consult your faculty member, colleague with more experience in EBD, or the resources listed on the left-hand side under "More Resources" to learn about those final two steps.



Guide Author

Amanda Nevius
Hirsh Health Sciences Library
Tufts University
145 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02111

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