Incidence of dental radiographic procedures during a 48-month population-based study of dentate adults

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2003 Aug;96(2):243-9. doi: 10.1016/s1079-2104(03)00347-0.


Objectives: The purpose of this population-based study was to quantify the incidence of radiographic procedures and the intervals between radiographic exposures.

Study design: The Florida Dental Care Study was a prospective cohort study of a representative sample of dentate adults. In-person interviews and dental examinations were conducted at baseline, with subsequent interviews every 6 months during 48 months of follow-up. Dental record information was abstracted afterward.

Results: Thirteen percent of all dental procedures, and 42% of all diagnostic procedures, were radiographic. Annual person-level incidence of receipt of any radiograph was 48%. Incidence of specific types of radiographic procedures ranged from 5% to 30%. Among the 45% of the sample population who had had more than 1 bitewing procedure, 70% of the intervals between bitewing exposures were 1 year or longer. Receiving more than 1 full-mouth series or panoramic radiographic in any 24-month period was very rare.

Conclusions: Annual incidence of radiographic procedures was substantially higher than the incidence reported in previous studies based on responses by dentists to hypothetical situations, but was stable during the 4 years of follow-up. On the basis only of intervals between exposures, and not of clinical status on the day of service, there was no substantial evidence of inappropriately frequent radiographic examinations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography, Bitewing / statistics & numerical data
  • Radiography, Dental / statistics & numerical data*
  • Radiography, Panoramic / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors