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Assessing the Use of Radiographs Alone to Determine Air Force Dental Readiness Classification

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[Technical Report, Master's Thesis]

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As a cost savings, it has been suggested that an examination of radiograph-only may be used to determine a military members readiness classification in lieu of a clinical examination plus radiographs. The primary aim of this study was to determine how sensitive the use of radiographs alone were in diagnosing Dental Readiness Classification DRC 3 based on caries, periodontal conditions, and other conditions separately. A secondary aim was to determine the ability to diagnose caries using radiographs alone compared to a clinical exam which included radiographs. Methods Twelve months after completion of the 2018 Air Force Recruit Oral Health Study AFROHS, five of the original 10 dentists reviewed only radiographs from 535 of the original 1362 subjects. The DRC for caries, periodontal conditions, and for conditions other than caries and periodontal conditions from the radiograph-only examination were compared to those from the AFROHS examination. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated for each DRC to assess the ability of the radiograph-only examination to detect DRC 3 conditions. Total number of caries per patient were also compared. Secondary analyses examined the mean confidence level of providers for each variable recorded using a 5-point Likert scale. Results The sensitivity of using radiographs alone to identify DRC 3 based on caries 58.4, periodontal conditions 8.3 and other conditions 55.9.For caries count, radiograph-only scores were significantly lower than a clinical exam with radiographs scores, p0.05. Overall, the provider confidence levels were within the somewhat not confident level of the 5-point Likert scale. Radiographs alone can detect true DRC 3 for caries or other approximately one-half of the time and periodontal conditions less than 10 of the time.

Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Anatomy and Physiology

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[A, Approved For Public Release]