The Risk of Bias in Randomized Trials in General Dentistry Journals
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The use of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) research design is considered the gold standard for conducting evidence-based clinical research. In this present study, we aimed to assess the quality of RCTs in dentistry and create a general foundation for evidence-based dentistry on which to perform subsequent RCTs. We conducted a systematic assessment of bias of RCTs in seven general dentistry journals published between January 2011 and March 2012. We extracted study characteristics in duplicate and assessed each trial's quality using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. We compared risk of bias across studies graphically. Among 1,755 studies across seven journals, we identified 67 RCTs. Many included studies were conducted in Europe (39%), with an average sample size of 358 participants. These studies included 52% female participants and the maximum follow-up period was 13 years. Overall, we found a high percentage of unclear risk of bias among included RCTs, indicating poor quality of reporting within the included studies. An overall high proportion of trials with an "unclear risk of bias" suggests the need for better quality of reporting in dentistry. As such, key concepts in dental research and future trials should focus on high-quality reporting.
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