Influence of Cone-beam Computed Tomography in Clinical Decision Making among Specialists

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Clinical information and diagnostic imaging are essential components of preoperative diagnosis. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of cone-beam computed tomographic (CBCT) imaging on clinical decision-making choices among different specialists (prosthodontists, endodontists, oral surgeons, and periodontists) in endodontic treatment planning. A secondary objective was to assess the self-reported level of difficulty in making a treatment choice before and after viewing a preoperative CBCT scan.


In accordance with the endodontic case difficulty guidelines of the American Association of Endodontists, 30 endodontic cases with varying degrees of complexity were selected. Each case included clinical photographs, digital periapical radiographs, and a small-volume CBCT scan. In the first evaluation, examiners were given all the information of each case, except the CBCT scan. Examiners were asked to select one of the proposed treatment alternatives and assess the difficulty of making a decision. One month later, the examiners reviewed randomly the same 30 cases with the additional information from the CBCT data.


The CBCT scans only had a significant influence on the treatment plan when the endodontic case was classified as high difficulty (P < .05). The level of difficulty in choosing a treatment choice was significantly more difficult after viewing a preoperative CBCT scan (P < .05), with the exception of the endodontists (P = .033). After viewing the CBCT scan, the extraction option increased significantly (P < .05).


CBCT imaging has a substantial impact on endodontic decision making among specialists, particularly in high difficulty cases.

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