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Oral Health Prev Dent. 2016;14(6):555-561. doi: 10.3290/j.ohpd.a37140.

Effectiveness of DIAGNOdent in Detecting Root Caries Without Dental Scaling Among Community-dwelling Elderly.



The purpose of this clinical research was to analyze the effectiveness of DIAGNOdent in detecting root caries without dental scaling.


The status of 750 exposed, unfilled root surfaces was assessed by visual-tactile examination and DIAGNOdent before and after root scaling. The sensitivity and specificity of different cut-off DIAGNOdent values in diagnosing root caries with reference to visual-tactile criteria were evaluated on those root surfaces without visible plaque/calculus. The DIAGNOdent values from sound and carious root surfaces were compared using the nonparametric Mann-Whitney U-test. The level of statistical significance was set at 0.05.


On root surfaces without plaque/calculus, significantly different (p < 0.05) DIAGNOdent readings were obtained from sound root surfaces (12.2 ± 11.1), active carious root surfaces (37.6 ± 31.7) and inactive carious root surfaces (20.9 ± 10.5) before scaling. On root surfaces with visible plaque, DIAGNOdent readings obtained from active carious root surfaces (29.6 ± 20.8) and inactive carious root surfaces (27.0 ± 7.2) were not statistically significantly different (p > 0.05). Furthermore, on root surfaces with visible calculus, all DIAGNOdent readings obtained from sound root surfaces were > 50, which might be misinterpreted as carious. After scaling, the DIAGNOdent readings obtained from sound root surfaces (8.1 ± 11.3), active carious root surfaces (37.9 ± 31.9) and inactive carious root surfaces (24.9 ± 11.5) presented significant differences (p < 0.05). A cut-off value between 10 and 15 yielded the highest combined sensitivity and specificity in detecting root caries on root surfaces without visible plaque/calculus before scaling, but the combined sensitivity and specificity are both around 70%.


These findings suggest that on exposed, unfilled root surfaces without visible plaque/calculus, DIAGNOdent can be used as an adjunct to the visual-tactile criteria in detecting root-surface status without pre-treatment by dental scaling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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