This paper presents the events surrounding the dissemination of the results of a major preventive dentistry demonstration program designed and conducted to provide evidence of the effectiveness and actual costs of a combination of commonly used preventive procedures. It then reviews the controversy provoked when the results of that program were counter to the conventional wisdom of the day, prevailing national policy, and public health practice. An analysis of possible reasons for this reaction follows. The paper concludes with some observations about how such a situation might be approached to minimize similar controversy in the future.
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