As an attempt to provide supporting evidence for the formulation of future educational strategies on knowledge translation, this systematic review assessed and synthesised the available evidence related to the dentists' awareness, perceived and actual knowledge of evidence-based dentistry (EBD) principles, methods and practices.
Primary studies that considered dentists' reports collected from interviews, questionnaires, or conversation sessions were selected. Studies enrolling students, dental hygienists, or other health professionals were not included. Reviews, editorials, letters, study protocols, articles presenting knowledge translation strategies and initiatives, examples of EBD approaches to specific clinical questions, and guidelines focused on EBD implementation were also excluded. Cochrane, Embase, PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science databases were searched. Grey literature was partially covered by the Google Scholar search and the reference lists of the pre-selected studies. The study search was concluded in February 2021. Descriptive data of the selected studies were synthesised, and the risk of bias was assessed according to the National Institutes of Health Quality Assessment Tool for observational cohort and cross-sectional studies.
Twenty-one articles were included. High percentages of dentists were aware of EBD. Variable proportions of professionals declared to have some understanding of EBD, although few presented actual knowledge of principles, methods and practices.
Methodologically, most studies presented limitations regarding sample representativity, participation rates, detailing of the outcome measures, and validation of the assessment tools. Additionally, extensive overall ranges of responses were often observed across the studies, possibly as a result of heterogeneity across samples and assessment tools. The authors thus suggest developing valid questionnaires including all dimensions (awareness, perceived knowledge and actual knowledge) within an assessment tool. This would contribute to establishing knowledge translation strategies to overcome specific gaps in EBD knowledge.