Dr Sabita M.Ram
Research is defined as the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings.
Research is the bases of evolution. If research is not perused mankind would perish. The 2020 education policy has placed great emphasis on innovation and research. The policy aims at motivating students to think out of the box. It will also bring out the creativity and foster unique capabilities by promoting, critical thinking with emergence of new ideas to bring out a revolution in technology and treatment.
Prosthodontics is one of the most important branches of dentistry. It believes in preservation of what remained and restoration of what is missing or lost. The evolution in prosthodontics began from ivory and gold restoration/prosthesis to today’s prosthetic dentistry to restore meticulously what is missing, be it intraoral or associated structures. Prosthodontics went beyond mere replacement to also enhancement of facial beauty. It has actually moved from need based to want based treatment.
The Research in prosthodontics globally evolved from manual impression making to virtual - digital impressions, manual casting to CAD-CAM processing of prosthesis, from manual implantology to digitized implantology and many more. This was possible only due to researcher’s who had innovative ideas and worked with other fields of engineering to develop technology, materials, instruments and equipment to take prosthodontics beyond chair side dentistry. In spite of these, the Prosthodontics lacks in clinical research as a whole. There are a few randomised clinical trials and longitudinal studies.
The research in prosthodontics at the institutional level has been focused more in material sciences. The improvement in material has enhanced the outcome of the prosthesis and restoration increasing their longevity leading to patient satisfaction, but clinical evidence has been lacking. Research at the institutions is mostly being done by as a requirement for completion of post-graduation. It would be a good practice to take up longitudinal clinical research where the outcome of treatments rendered are monitored over a period and data collected for making treatment more evidence based.
Research should not be limited to an individual it should be a group of researchers in a department who keep a track and progress of the research. Research also should not be compartmentalised into an intra-discipline research but should be interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary research, only then will it be valued holistically. More multicentre trials must be planned as the same clinical research may have varied data from various centres depending on the region, ethnicity, race and gender. Literature requires more evidence based data to support patient’s needs and treatment modalities. Treatment cannot be based on personal experiences unless it is documented with genuine scientific evidences.
The protocols for clinical research must be written meticulously and have ethical clearance with details of patient information and consent in the languages of the region. No research can be carried without the Ethics clearance. In case a practitioner who is not attached with any institution, can approach any of the ethical committees of the local institutions. Any clinical research must be registered with the Clinical Trial Registry (CTRI) before the clinical study is commenced.
Research does not end with the work done, data collected, analysed and results compiled. Research must be published for other researchers to acknowledge the work, utilised the knowledge of the research and give a feedback with critical evaluations. Research can be used as Evidence for clinical treatment rendered to patients for achieving success and patient satisfaction. Data of research must be published in its pure form, negative results does not imply the research is rejected.
I would like to end by saying “be innovative, visualise new ideas, incubate them and develop technology and techniques, authenticate with evidence through research. This will enable the Prosthodontist to enhance patient care and treatment”.
Dr Sabita M.Ram
Mahatma Gandhi Missions Institute of Health Sciences,