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DENH: Dental Hygiene

Resources for Dental Hygiene Research

What is a literature review?

A literature review is a summary of the content of sources on a particular topic.  The literature review has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.  The literature review is organized by topics and subtopics based on the sources similarities and contrasts.  You will be reading the sources and summarizing the information and then analyze the relationship of the articles.  You can use headings in your paper to organize the themes or subtopics that come out of your research.


Here is more information on writing a literature review.

Tips for research

Pick a topic that is interesting too you. Look in journals or dental websites for "hot" topics.

Pick a second topic in case you cannot find enough resources for your first topic.

List of topics

  • Xerostomia
  • Ergonomics
  • Piercings
  • Cleft Palette
  • Silver fillings
  • Oral cancer
  • HPV
  • Patient compliance
  • Dental fear
  • Oral health and pregnancy
  • Violence and abuse
  • Children
  • Fluoridation  


Make a list of words to use as your search terms from:

the subjects assigned to the article

the key words assigned to the article

related words that you find while reading articles

Primary sources will provide in depth research via a study or a trial.  Use the information in the abstract, introduction, and conclusion to locate relevant information.

Secondary sources will give you background information and facts about the topics related to your client case.

For more information about primary and secondary sources, click on the tab : Primary or Secondary sources on the left.

Use APA formatting for your papers.

1. 12 point Times New Roman font

2. Double spaced

3. 1 inch margins on all sides

4. Title page that includes the name of the paper, your name, the school you attend, and the date written.

5. A reference page on its own page with the word References centered across the top

6. Page numbers are to be centered on each page at the bottom.  Do not put a page number on the title page.

7. Paper length: 7 - 10 pages.




Primary vs. Secondary Sources

These articles are original research on an experiment and they are usually found using these databases: Dentistry and Oral Science Source (EBSCO), PubMed, and PubMed Central.

Types of articles: Evidence - Based

  • Studies: cohort, case control, clinical trials and randomized controlled trial (RCT), clinical trial

Format of article:

  • a structured article with the following pieces: abstract/introduction, methodology/materials/methods, results, conclusion/discussion. reference

Resources to use: Dentistry and Oral Sciences Source (EBSCO), PubMed, and PubMed Central. 

Tips for finding primary sources in Dentistry and Oral Sciences Science, PubMed Central,  and EBSCO Discovery Service.

  • In the search box add the word trial or study to your topic.

Example: toothbrush study

Example: toothbrush trial

Tips for finding primary sources in PubMed

  • Select: Clinical Trial and Randomized Controlled Trial

These sources are usually summaries or reviews of articles on a specific topic. These sources are found using PubMed, Dentistry and Oral Sciences Source (EBSCO), PubMed Central, Cochrane Library and online magazines, books, and oral health websites.

Types of articles:

  • Evidence-Based Secondary Sources

Literature Review

Review, Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis

Clinical Analysis or Clinical Guidelines  

  • Not Evidence – Based

General article from a magazine or journal

Information from books

Information from recommended or reliable web sites: organization, health facility, corporation

Pamphlet, newsletter or fact sheet

Format for Evidence-Based Sources

Abstract/Introduction, Methods/Methodology, Results, Conclusion/Discussion, References

Resources to use to find Evidence-Based Secondary Sources: PubMed, PubMed Central, Dentistry and Oral Sciences Source (EBSCO), ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry

Sources that are not Evidence-Based 

There is not a standard format.

Resources to use to find secondary sources that are not Evidence-Based: Websites for organizations, health facility, corporation: PubMed Central, Dentistry and Oral Sciences Source (EBSCO), and online journals.