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J Dent Educ. 2010 Aug;74(8):862-8.

Influence of the ICDAS e-learning program for occlusal caries detection on dental students.

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Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Araraquara Dental School, Rua Humaitá, 1680 Centro Araraquara, Sao Paulo 14801-903, Brazil.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of ICDAS training in a group of dental students for occlusal caries detection in permanent teeth. Premolars and molars (N=104) with occlusal surfaces varying from ICDAS scores 0 to 6 were cleaned, one occlusal site per tooth was selected, and a photograph taken to identify the site. Eight senior dental students examined the teeth twice with a one-week interval between examinations during each of two phases: before and after the ICDAS e-learning program. Teeth were histologically assessed for caries extension. Intraclass correlation coefficients for intra- and interexaminer repeatability were high, both before (0.75 and 0.72, respectively) and after e-learning (0.82 and 0.78, respectively). The ICDAS scores decreased significantly from before to after e-learning (p=0.0001). Correlation between ICDAS scores and histology scores was moderate (0.57 before e-learning and 0.61 after). Although the ROC curve shows an improvement in the use of the ICDAS scoring after e-learning, the difference was not significant (p=0.10). Specificity of the ICDAS scores significantly improved after e-learning (77 percent vs. 36 percent), and sensitivity was reduced slightly after e-learning (87 percent vs. 92 percent). The ICDAS e-learning program improved the performance of the diagnostic skills of the investigated students for the detection of occlusal caries lesions.

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