Accuracy of Cone-beam Computed Tomographic Image Interpretation by Endodontists and Endodontic Residents

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Abstract

Introduction:

Limited field cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) imaging has become a modality frequently used by endodontists to evaluate the teeth and surrounding tissues of their patients. Accurate image interpretation is vital to obtain needed treatment information as well as to discern coincidental findings that could be present. The goal of this study was to determine the accuracy of CBCT volume interpretation when performed by endodontists and endodontic residents.

Methods:

Eighteen deidentified limited field CBCT scans were obtained and evaluated by an oral and maxillofacial radiologist and an endodontist experienced in reading CBCT images. Their collective findings were combined as the “gold standard” of interpretation for this investigation. Using standard CBCT software, 4 practicing endodontists and 5 second-year endodontic residents evaluated each scan and recorded any notable findings and whether or not each scan warranted referral to a radiology specialist. Their interpretations were then compared with the gold standard to determine accuracy and any significant differences among the groups.

Results:

The overall accuracy was 58.3% for endodontists and 64.3% for residents. Paired t tests showed no statistically significant differences in accuracy between the 2 groups for findings in teeth or in bone, but residents were significantly better for maxillary sinus findings. Endodontists agreed with the gold standard 38.9% of the time and residents 49.8% of the time on necessity of referral. The Cohen kappa coefficient showed moderate agreement between the groups.

Conclusions:

Endodontists and residents had similar accuracy in CBCT scan evaluation. More training and experience are warranted for both groups in order to maximize image assessment accuracy.

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