Bayesian Network Meta-analysis of Multiple Outcomes in Dental Research

Menglu Liang, Qinshu Lian, Georgios A. Kotsakis, Bryan S. Michalowicz, Mike T. John, Haitao Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives: Dental research typically targets multiple outcomes. Interdental cleaning devices such as interdental brushes (IB) and water jet devices (WJ) share a sizable portion of the medical device market. However, recommendations for device selection are limited by the conflicting evidence from multiple outcomes in available studies and the lack of an appropriate synthesis approach to summarize evidences taken from multiple outcomes. In particular, both pairwise meta-analyses and single-outcome network meta-analyses can give discordant results. The purpose of this multioutcome, Bayesian network meta-analysis is to introduce this innovative method to the dental research community using data from interdental cleaning device studies for illustrative purposes. Methods: We reanalyzed a network meta-analysis of interproximal oral hygiene methods in the reduction of clinical indices of inflammation, which included 22 trials assessing 10 interproximal oral hygiene aids. We focused on the primary outcome of gingival inflammation, which was measured by 2 correlated outcome variables, the Gingival Index (GI) and bleeding on probing (BOP). Results: In our previous single-outcome analysis, we concluded that IB and WJ rank high for reducing gingival inflammation while toothpick and flossing rank last. In this multioutcome Bayesian network meta-analysis with equal weight on GI and BOP, the surface under the cumulative ranking curve was 0.87 for WJ and 0.85 for IB. WJ and IB remained ranked as the 2 best devices across different sets of weightings for the GI and BOP. Conclusion: In conclusion, multioutcome Bayesian network meta-analysis naturally takes the correlations among multiple outcomes into account, which in turn can provide more comprehensive evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101403
JournalJournal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Drs. Chu, John, and Kotsakis were supported by NIDCR grant R03 DE024750 . Dr. Kotsakis has received an unrestricted research grant from Water Pik Inc. in the past. Ms. Liang and Drs. Lian, Michalowicz, John, and Chu report no potential conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • Bayesian network meta-analysis
  • Dental hygiene
  • Evidence-based dentistry/health care
  • Meta-analysis
  • Multiple outcomes


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