Visual interpretation of panoramic radiographs in dental students using eye-tracking technology

Felsy Premila Gnanasekaran, Latha Nirmal, P. Sujitha, R. Bhavyaa, M. S. Muthu, Vanessa Y. Cho, Nigel M. King, Robert P. Anthonappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)


Purpose: While eye-tracking technology is a validated tool in the field of education it is still in its infancy in the field of Pediatric Dentistry. The primary aim of this study was to determine dental undergraduates’ search patterns and visual fixations while viewing panoramic radiographs (PR) using an eye-tracker. The secondary aim was to decide on the potential opportunities to enhance teaching-learning strategies when studying these radiographs. Methods: Sixty-five dental undergraduates in the final year of their dental education consented to and participated in this study. A Tobii Pro Nano screen-based eye-tracking camera was mounted to the lower edge of a laptop with five different PR uploaded onto the Tobii Studio software. Regions of Interest (ROIs) were pre-determined for the five PR. The participants (17 males and 48 females) viewed all the PR images with no time restrictions and a “think-aloud” protocol was exercised. Results: The average view time for the PR was 245.58 ± 106.7 s. Participants spent significantly less time examining the surrounding structures (14.85 s) than the dentitions (primary: 97.58 s and permanent: 37.58 s). Males demonstrated a slightly higher view time (290.88 ± 97.7 s) than females (229.53 ± 106.05 s). Conclusions: The results revealed that though the participants focused on the ROI, most of them failed to make the correct diagnosis. In addition, the search patterns of the participants unveiled no sequential viewing of PR. Hence the need to revise the teaching-learning strategies for the systematic interpretation of PR images in the dental curriculum is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-892
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Dental Education
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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