Funding to Boost Dental Records Study

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Thyvalikakath says the effort will help narrow the gap between dental research and medical research. Thyvalikakath says the effort will help narrow the gap between dental research and medical research.

A $1.2 million grant from a national dental organization will support research by the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Dentistry. The study will examine how electronic dental records could improve oral health care nationwide.

The funding is from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research's National Dental Practice-Based Research Network. Researchers will use data from thousands of electronic dental records to assess outcomes of root canal and posterior composite restoration procedures. They will also examine the possibility of combining data from different electronic record systems that use differing formats and operating systems. That has been a major hurdle in the past.

Regenstrief Institute investigator Thankam Thyvalikakath says the effort will help narrow the gap between dental research and medical research. In a release from Indiana University, he says, "We will be closing the circle between data acquisition and data use at the point of care to ultimately improve clinical practice. This will enable dentists to examine both their record-keeping practices and clinical outcomes."

Thyvalikakath says the project will give researchers a "better understanding of what's going on at the dental offices where most Americans receive care." She says giving dentists access to information on the long-term success of root canals or restorations will also help improve the public's oral health.

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