Comparing the outcomes of gold-standard dental examinations with photographic screening by mid-level dental providers

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Objectives: To determine the detectability of the intra-oral photographic method in comparison to the baseline, comprehensive dental examination (CDE), in children when performed by different levels of dental practitioners. Materials and methods: As part of a quality assurance program, intra-oral photographs were obtained from 77 patients (2–18 years) as part of a CDE before undertaking dental treatment under general anaesthesia. A DSLR camera was utilised to acquire images which were subsequently uploaded to a cloud-based server. The baseline for each participant was established during the CDE, utilising both visual and radiographic examination, which was then compared to the assessment made by a mid-level dental practitioners (MLDP). The evaluation was based on utilising an odontogram where the teeth were charted either as decayed or filled. Results: Specificity (95%) was higher than sensitivity (61.5%) when comparing the photographic assessment with the benchmark CDE assessment. The inter-rater reliability between the two methods of assessment was substantial, with a kappa score of 0.62. The photographic assessment method underestimated the decayed and filled teeth, as observed by the caries experience (dft/DFT scores) (CDE = 7.01 vs. photographic assessment = 5.22). There were lower levels of diagnostic detection in the posterior teeth as compared to the anterior teeth assessments. Conclusions: Although the CDE is still considered to be the gold-standard, this study found that the photographic caries assessment by MLDP produced an acceptable diagnostic level of detection particularly for the anterior teeth. Clinical relevance: The photographic method could offer a potential cost-saving and user-friendly screening. © 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2383-2387
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Oral Investigations
Issue number5
Early online date9 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


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