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The accuracy of teledentistry in caries detection in children - A diagnostic study

HumanInsight The accuracy of teledentistry in caries detection in children - A diagnostic study

Digit Health. 2022 Jun 22;8:20552076221109075. doi: 10.1177/20552076221109075. eCollection 2022 Jan-Dec.


INTRODUCTION: : The increasing burden of dental caries and the lack of effective dental caries screening protocols in non-dental settings, such as schools, demand an innovative and cost-effective approach. Teledentistry is the field of dentistry that combines telecommunication with health records and digital imaging to improve access to dental care and help in epidemiological surveys. This study aimed to assess the accuracy of non-dentist teledentistry in caries detection compared with the clinical dental examination of a sample of 5-10-year-old schoolchildren.

METHODS: A calibrated dentist examined schoolchildren aged 5-10 years old. The dentist and two teachers took intraoral photographs for each child, using a smartphone. The photographs were concealed; therefore, the dentist assessed the three sets of photographs blindly two weeks after the clinical examination. Accuracy was measured to compare the teledentistry examination with the clinical dental examination.

RESULTS: The mean DMFT of primary teeth was 3.38, 3.42, and 3.17 upon clinical examination, dental-teledentistry examination (findings of photographs taken by a dentist), and non-dental teledentistry (findings of photographs taken by teachers), respectively. The mean DMFT of permanent teeth was 0.75, 0.69, and 0.65 upon clinical examination, dental-teledentistry examination, and non-dental teledentistry examination, respectively. In primary teeth, dental teledentistry and non-dental teledentistry examinations showed 95 and 98.3 sensitivity and 94.3 and 91.4 specificity, respectively. In permanent teeth, dental teledentistry and non-dental teledentistry examinations showed 80.8 and 88.5 sensitivity and 94.1 and 96.1 specificity, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Teledentistry has acceptable accuracy for caries detection in schoolchildren compared to a clinical dental examination.

PMID:35774249 | PMC:PMC9237921 | DOI:10.1177/20552076221109075

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