Aim: This study was conducted to compare the in vivo effectiveness of DIAGNOdent with other conventional methods (visual, tactile and bitewing radiographs) for the detection of occlusal caries in primary molars. Another objective of the study was to calculate new cut-off limits for the detection of caries by DIAGNOdent in primary teeth.
Materials and methods: Eighty-four primary molars in 52 children (aged 8-12 years), which were indicated for extraction, were selected and evaluated for dental caries using DIAGNOdent, visual and tactile examination and bitewing radiographs. Histological examination of the sections, prepared subsequent to extraction of the teeth, served as the gold standard for comparison of the above-mentioned methods.
Results: When considering enamel caries, values obtained for sensitivity, specificity and accuracy were 48.15, 100 and 49.40% for visual examination, 48.15, 100.00 and 49.40% for tactile examination, 49.38, 50.00 and 49.40% for bitewing radiographs, 85.19, 50.00 and 84.34% for DIAGNOdent scores interpreted according to manufacturer's cut-off limits and 81.48, 100.00 and 81.93% for DIAGNOdent scores interpreted according to newly formulated cut-off limits, respectively. At dentin caries cut-off levels, the values of sensitivity, specificity and accuracy for visual examination were 52.78, 89.36 and 73.49%; 50.00, 91.49 and 73.49% for tactile examination; 30.56, 82.98 and 60.24% for bitewing radiographs; 72.22, 76.60 and 74.70% for DIAGNOdent scores when interpreted according to manufacturer's cut-off limits and 77.48, 74.47 and 75.90%, respectively, for the DIAGNOdent scores when interpreted according to the newly formulated cut-off limits.
Conclusions: DIAGNOdent showed higher sensitivity and accuracy as compared with other conventional methods for detection of enamel caries, whereas for detection of dentinal caries, even though the sensitivity was high, accuracy of the DIAGNOdent device was similar to other conventional caries diagnostic methods.