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Research Guides@Tufts

Evidence-Based Dentistry (EBD)

What is this guide?

This research guide aims to provide and remind you of the skills you need to conduct Evidence-Based Dentistry (EBD) through a series of short, self-guided tutorials, linked on the left-hand side.

To help determine where to start, please see the box below that introduces EBD and the EBD Cycle.

What is Evidence-Based Dentistry (EBD)?

Defining Evidence-Based Dentistry (EBD)

EBD brings research and patient-centered care into the clinical practice alongside the dentist’s expertise.

Three circles overlap. Where they overlap is the word "EBD." Each circle is titled: Dentist's Expertise, Patient Needs and Preferences, and Scientific Evidence.

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 above.

The EBD Cycle: The 5 A's

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

  1. A cycle is displayed with 5 boxes. It starts with the word Ask which leads into Acquire then Appraise then Apply then Assess, which in turn leads back to Ask.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.


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.


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. This is part of why the process is conceived of as a cycle.

Relevant Tutorial

Need or want more context on EBD and The 5 A's? Check out the Evidence-Based Practice and Research: An Introduction tutorial. 

Formats available:

BaSiCSsss Note

3rd years should use this guide to aid them in their BaSiCSsss presentation.

1st, 2nd, and 4th years should use this other guide to aid them in their BaSiCSsss presentation

Guide Author

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Hannah Ellingson

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