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BMC Oral Health. 2013 Sep 26;13:48. doi: 10.1186/1472-6831-13-48.

Comparison of clinical and dental panoramic findings: a practice-based crossover study.

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Department of Preventive Dentistry, Periodontology and Cariology, University Medical Centre, Robert-Koch Str, 40, Goettingen D-37075, Germany.



Aim was to compare clinical findings with x-ray findings using dental panoramic radiography (DPR). In addition, type and frequency of secondary findings in x-rays were investigated.


Patients were selected on the basis of available DPRs (not older than 12 months). No therapeutic measures were permitted between the DPR and the clinical findings. The clinical findings were carried out by several investigators who had no knowledge of the purpose of the study. A calibrated investigator established the x-ray findings, independently and without prior knowledge of the clinical findings. The evaluation parameters for each tooth were: missing, healthy, carious, restorative or prosthetically sufficient or insufficient treatment. Type and frequency of additional findings in the DPR were documented, e.g. quality of a root canal filling and apical changes.


Findings of 275 patients were available. Comparison showed a correspondence between clinical and radiographic finding in 93.6% of all teeth (n = 7,789). The differences were not significant (p > 0.05). Regarding carious as well as insufficiently restored or prosthetically treated teeth, respectively there were significant differences between the two methods (p < 0.05). The DPRs showed additional findings: root fillings in 259 teeth and 145 teeth with periapical changes.


With reference to the assessment of teeth, there was no difference between the two methods. However, in the evaluation of carious as well as teeth with insufficiently restorative or prosthetic treatment, there was a clear discrepancy between the two methods. Therefore, it would have been possible to have dispensed with x-rays. Nevertheless, additional x-ray findings were found.

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