Anesthesia Progress– Dentist anesthesiologists (DAs) are a small but effective group when it comes to conducting research that advances their field. While only 1.5% of dentists who contribute to research in dental anesthesiology are trained DAs, they are responsible for 10% of the publications. A recent study sought to determine how actively DAs contribute to research and new knowledge in the field of dental anesthesiology.
The authors of an article published in the current issue of the journal Anesthesia Progress sought to measure the amount and quality of dental anesthesiology research work. The authors’ goal was to compare research performed by DAs with research by six other clinically oriented dental specialties.
DAs are required by American Dental Association guidelines to complete two years of hospital-based general anesthesia residency. In 2007, the Commission on Dental Accreditation began formally accrediting such two-year programs and is considering new standards that would require three years of residency. Despite these requirements, the American Dental Association does not formally recognize dental anesthesiology as a specialty, creating an obstacle to active research in the field.
To measure something as subjective as published research, the authors used the h-index, also known as the Hirsch index. This index applies a measure of productivity and impact to scientific research through a formula that includes a professional’s number of published papers and the number of citations of those papers elsewhere. For this study, the authors conducted a literature search to include the broadest selection of articles available before applying the h-index.
The authors found that research by DAs has a similar impact to research by professionals in the six clinically oriented specialties of the American Dental Association. The authors therefore concluded that DAs actively contribute to research and acquisition of new knowledge in their field. This study determined that research by DAs was "not different" and "noninferior" to that by other dental specialists. This shows that the six currently recognized clinically oriented dental specialties do not provide a significantly different level of research than DAs.
Full text of the article, "Contribution of Dentist Anesthesiologists to Dental Anesthesiology Research," Anesthesia Progress,Vol. 58, No. 1, 2011,is available at http://www.anesthesiaprogress.org/doi/full/10.2344/0003-3006-58.1.14
Anesthesia Progressis the official publication of the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology (ADSA). The quarterly journal is dedicated to providing a better understanding of the advances being made in the science of pain and anxiety control in dentistry. The journal invites submissions of review articles, reports on clinical techniques, case reports, and conference summaries. To learn more about the ADSA, visit:http://www.adsahome.org/.