EVALUATING BENEFITS AND HARM OF THERAPIES

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Abstract

Objective

This third article in a series of 4 aims to inform dental practitioners on the importance of weighing benefits and harm when making clinical treatment decisions.

Methods

This article describes some examples of important consequences to patients' health when potential side effects of interventions are not taken into consideration in the decision-making process. Some information to help dental practitioners search for data on negative effects of therapies is also presented, and the need to weigh benefits and harm of therapies is discussed.

Results

Therapeutic interventions in dentistry may cause several side effects, such as nerve damage caused by dental implant placement. Adequate evaluation of potential side effects before performing a procedure and comprehensive communication with the patient about these side effects are sine qua non conditions for any clinical decision.

Conclusions

The information provided in this article may encourage dental practitioners to obtain more information regarding negative aspects of clinical interventions, to more comprehensively inform patients and to improve clinical decision-making.

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