NIH organizes major conferences that produce consensus statements on important and controversial topics in medicine and dentistry. Each conference is jointly sponsored and administered by one or more Institutes, Centers or Divisions of NIH and by the Office of Medical Applications of Research (OMAR).
The purpose of a CDC is to evaluate the available scientific information on biomedical technology and to develop a consensus statement that advances understanding of the technology or issue in question and that will be useful to health professionals and the public at large. A panel listens to the scientific data presented by the experts, weighs the information, and then composes a consensus statement that addresses a set of questions previously posed to the panel. This statement is an independent report of the panel; not a policy statement of NIH. The NIH/NIDCR has held numerous CDCs since the program began in 1977, but this conference is the first to use systematic reviews of the literature.
Questions and Research Topics
The following questions were developed by the Planning Committee to be addressed by the CDC panel:
- What are the best methods for detecting early and advanced dental caries [validity and feasibility of traditional methods; validity and feasibility of emerging methods]?
- What are the best indicators for an increased risk of dental caries?
- What are the best methods available for the primary prevention of dental caries initiation throughout life?
- What are the best treatments available for reversing or arresting the progression of early dental caries?
- How should clinical decisions regarding prevention and/or treatment be affected by detection methods and risk assessment?
- What are promising new research directions for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dental caries?
These questions served as the point of origin for developing multiple research topics, which will be explored throughout the Consensus Development Conference.