Intuition usually results in poorer decisions than an evidence-based decision-making process. However, research has shown there are certain circumstances when intuition is equivalent or superior to evidence based decision-making. The first pre-requisite is domain expertise and being a dentist is insufficient – a minimum of five years additional practicing experience is needed. Intuition allows the expert to store information in subconscious frameworks and extract that data without conscious thought at a rapid rate. Decisions that have severe time constraints, problems that are complex and ambiguous in nature, and a lack of scientific evidence are some factors that are suitable for intuition-based clinical decision-making.
The objective of this article is to discuss those circumstances in which intuition may result in a better final decision than an evidence based clinical decision-making process. Recognising these special situations will empower clinicians and help them to understand when not to use intuition but rely on the evidence.