Alice M. Horowitz, Ph.D., and Patricia F. Anderson, M.I.L.S.:
The RTI/UNC review was conducted to address some or most aspects of three of the questions developed by the organizing committee of this Consensus Development Conference. Independent reviewers (non-RTI), however, have addressed the majority of the questions. We prevailed upon numerous independent reviewers to conduct systematic reviews.
Because most of the researchers identified in the particular content areas to be addressed were not experienced in the methods used in conducting a systematic review, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) provided two training sessions. Dr. Amid Ismail conducted these training sessions; Dr. Jim Bader provided background on how RTI/UNC conducted their reviews; and during the second session, Ms. Patricia Anderson, a University of Michigan librarian, explained how to develop appropriate search strategies of MEDLINE and EMBASE. Each reviewer submitted a proposal for his or her review that was discussed and revised during the second training session.
Subsequently, Ms. Anderson was contracted to conduct the searches for each non-RTI review. The searching for each team was an iterative, multistage process. The findings of these searches can be found on http://www.lib.umich.edu/dentlib/nihcdc/. Each reviewer received lists of references with abstracts. The reviewers read the abstracts and either included or excluded studies, based upon criteria that were developed independently by each review team. The full reports of the included studies were photocopied and abstracted in evidence tables. The reviewers did not conduct meta-analyses of the evidence. The independent reviewers were provided with guidelines on abstraction and a step-by-step manual on how to conduct the reviews.
In the section on primary prevention of dental caries, the review by Dr. Rozier is based on recent systematic and other reviews conducted on fluorides, dental sealants, antimicrobials, and patient counseling.
In the section on clinical decision-making for dental caries management, Dr. White was asked to provide an overview of clinical decision-making as a framework for the presentations on implications for clinical practice and research. Three of the reviewers in this section (Tinanoff, Anusavice, Leake) were asked to synthesize the evidence obtained to provide directions for clinical decision-making for the management of dental caries in primary and permanent dentitions as well as root surfaces and related research.