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Study of Electronic Dental Records Reveals Most Effective Therapies
Led by Regenstrief Institute research scientist Thankam Thyvalikakath, DMD, PhD, an associate professor and director of the dental informatics core at Indiana University School of Dentistry, the largest study to date of electronic dental records (EDR) determined that mining EDR data provides information on which dental therapies work — and which do not.
Researchers evaluated data from 217,887 patients of small dental practices in the United States, with the EDRs containing more than 11 million observations, and observation periods as long as 37 years. The investigators suggest that by analyzing data across practices, dentists can compare their results with other practices, ultimately leading to what the authors characterize as “improved care for all.” As just two examples, the team is using the data to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of root canal therapy, as well as composite restorations in posterior teeth.