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Do the clinical practice guidelines for paediatric dentistry meet the quality standards? A meta-research and quality appraisal using the AGREE II tool.

BACKGROUND: Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) enhance health care and aid clinicians' decisions.

AIM: To evaluate the quality of clinical guidelines in paediatric dentistry using the AGREE II tool.

DESIGN: PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, LIVIVO, Lilacs, international guidelines websites, scientific societies, and gray literature were searched until September 2021. We included paediatric dental clinical guidelines and excluded drafts or guidelines for patients with special needs. Two independent reviewers performed quality assessment using the APPRAISAL OF GUIDELINES FOR RESEARCH & EVALUATION II (AGREE II) instrument. We calculated the mean overall domain scores (95% confidence interval) for each guideline. We used regression analysis to correlate the score of overall assessment and the six domains of AGREE II with guideline characteristics.

RESULTS: Forty-four guidelines were included in this study. Highest mean score was for Domain 4 (Clarity of Presentation; 58%, 95% CI: 50.8-64.9), whereas the lowest was for Domain 5 (Applicability; 16%, 95% CI: 10.8-21.4). The reporting quality was improved in Domains 1-5 with reporting checklists (p < .001), whereas that of Domain 6 was improved by decreasing years since publication (p = .047).

CONCLUSION: Paediatric dental guidelines do not comply with the methodological quality standard, especially in Domain 5 (Applicability). The AGREE reporting checklist should be implemented with a system to evaluate the certainty of evidence for future guidelines.

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