Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology

: 2021  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 275--276

Relevance of compiling the research findings in dentistry

Nymphea Pandit 
 Department of Periodontology, D.A.V. Dental College and Hospital, Yamunanagar, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Nymphea Pandit
Department of Periodontology, D.A.V. Dental College and Hospital, Yamunanagar, Haryana

How to cite this article:
Pandit N. Relevance of compiling the research findings in dentistry.J Indian Soc Periodontol 2021;25:275-276

How to cite this URL:
Pandit N. Relevance of compiling the research findings in dentistry. J Indian Soc Periodontol [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Jul 24 ];25:275-276
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Any medical field including dentistry involves a series of research projects to ascertain the validity of cause-and-effect relationship, diagnostic relevance and treatment options with optimum results. There has been an upsurge in the research globally with the advancing modalities and introduction of more and more sophisticated equipment's and techniques to perfect this science. This research over a period accumulates and may lead to conflicting data related to the preferred treatment modalities confusing the practitioner as to the correct therapeutic approach. In the recent times there is a trend towards analyzing the literature outcomes and reaching some clinically relevant and reliable guidelines. This has ultimately led to the upsurge in a lot of work related to the systematic reviews and meta-analysis.

While as the systematic review only compiles the data of individual research projects, meta- analysis delves a little deeper and actually looks at the raw data, carries out the statistical analysis of all the pooled data with similar baseline objectives to reach a scientifically relevant conclusion. The recent addition to this group is the cumulative meta-analysis which along with the quantitative variables takes into consideration the lack of reporting of any variable as an exclusion criterion for consideration into the meta-analysis.

While as, systematic reviews and Meta-analysis has solved a lot of issues related to the decision making for the clinicians, it has also highlighted some inherent inadequacies in our research methodology. The compilation of various findings over a period of time, although has led to some controversial viewpoints, but it has also consistently refuted or supported some therapeutic modalities. If such an inadequate or neutral modality of treatment is still considered in the present scenario, it should be considered as unethical taking into consideration that if a better and more effective treatment regimen was available, patients cannot be recruited for any research project just to validate previously proven results. So, as with other medical fields, clinical registration number should only be provided to those studies which do not use the non-beneficial therapeutic approaches.

Apart from this, there are other factors contributory to the difficulty in compilation of results and one of the important issues among this is the publication bias where only the studies with positive results find a place in the published articles while as the negative result studies rarely appear in the literature. Besides this, the data obtained from various population groups around the globe may be influenced by the genetic makeup of that particular community. This problem can be solved by multicentric studies which may neutralize some of the errors arising from the genetic influence on the metabolization or response to any therapy. There is another problem related to the field of periodontology involving the differences in the case definitions used by various researchers owing to the consistently changing classification of the diseases. This issue may be partly solved by the latest classification which is more direct and objective. There may also be variation among the researchers related to the parameters and their reliability in a given scenario.

Whenever an attempt is made to compile the existing data of the literature the search engines initially generate a lot of material related to a particular aspect of the medicine or dentistry. But when it is carefully scrutinized, majority of the studies do not fulfill the inclusion criteria and we are left with a handful of relevant data. If such a scenario has to change proper guidelines need to be drafted and disseminated among the concerned researchers.

We recommend that all the future studies should be standardized and should use the effects of previous trials to ensure that they are valid and adequate to deal with the proposed question. Results have to be regarded and presented as a continuum and be pooled as a part of an ongoing process. Clinical trials should also record the quantity of sampling variation alongside factor estimates. This will permit their effects to be included into destiny meta-analyses.