A Survey of Cone-beam Computed Tomographic Use among Endodontic Practitioners in the United States

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Abstract

Introduction:

Cone-beam computed tomographic (CBCT) imaging is an emerging technology for clinical endodontic practice. The aim of this study was to investigate the acceptance, accessibility, and usage of CBCT imaging among American Association of Endodontists members in the United States by means of an online survey.

Methods:

An invitation to participate in a web-based survey was sent to 3076 members of the American Association of Endodontists. The survey consisted of 8 questions on demographics, access to CBCT machines, field of view (FOV), frequency of use for particular applications, and reasons in case CBCT was not used.

Results:

A total of 1083 participants completed the survey, giving an overall completed response rate of 35.2%; 80.30% of the participants had access to a CBCT scan, of which 50.69% (n = 443) were on-site and 49.31% (n = 431) were off-site, and 19.30% of all respondents denied having access to CBCT imaging. Limited FOV was used by 55.26% participants, 22.37% used larger FOV formats, and the remaining 22.37% were not sure about the format. There was a significantly greater usage of CBCT technology in residency programs (n = 78/84 [92.86%]) compared with practitioners who had finished an endodontic specialty program (n = 796/999 [79.68%]) (χ2 = 10.30, P = .02). Practitioners used CBCT imaging “frequent” or “always” for internal or external resorptions (47.28%), preoperatively for surgical retreatment or intentional replantation (45.34%), missing canals (25.39%), preoperatively for nonsurgical retreatments (24.91%), differential diagnosis (21.16%), identifying periradicular lesions (18.26%), calcified cases (13.54%), immature teeth (4.71%), and to assess healing (3.87%). There was a significant difference in on-site and off-site CBCT imaging use for any of these applications (P < .001). Prevalent reasons for not using CBCT technology were cost (53.79%) and lack of installation space (8.29%). General concerns were expressed about resolution limitations, radiation exposure, and cost to the patient.

Conclusions:

There is a widespread application of CBCT technology in endodontic practice; however, results from the survey also confirmed that the benefit versus risk ratio should always be in favor of the patient if CBCT scans are taken.

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