Drs. Kim and Niederman are affiliated with the Offices of Evidence-Based Dentistry at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and the Forsyth Institute, Boston, MA. Drs. Lin and White are affiliated with the Department of Restorative Dentistry, Division of Endodontics, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA.
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The purpose of this study was to identify and quantify the endodontic literature available for clinical decision making. A search strategy based on Medical Subject Headings for endodontics was developed to examine MEDLINE. The identified articles were limited to human subjects and English. Sensitive and specific methodological search filters identified four categories of information: etiology, diagnosis, therapy, and prognosis. The results were then subdivided by year to identify trends. Between 1990 and 1998 MEDLINE identified 3,152 articles published in English on endodontics in humans. The number of articles per year (mean ± SD) for sensitive and specific searches was etiology (28 ± 10, 1 ± 2), diagnosis (38 ± 11, 1 ± 1), therapy (59 ± 15, 3 ± 3), and prognosis (40 ± 13, 10 ± 5), respectively. The number of articles in each category increased by 1 to 3% each year. There were 150 articles/yr in endodontics in at least 120 journals cited on MEDLINE (see Table 5) on which to base clinical decisions.