Diagnostic accuracy of conventional and digital radiography for detecting misfit between the tooth and restoration in metal-restored teeth


Statement of problem

Although the postprocessing of digital images with enhancement filters could lead to the presence of artifacts and result in false-positive diagnoses, no study has analyzed whether the use of digital radiographs and/or postprocessing of digital images interferes with the diagnosis of marginal adaptation in metal-restored teeth.


The purpose of this study was to compare the diagnostic accuracy of conventional and digital radiographic images with and without filters for detecting a misfit between the tooth and restoration in metal-restored teeth.

Material and methods

Forty teeth with mesial-occlusal-distal inlays and 40 with complete crowns (each with a perfect fit, 20 with a 0.2-mm gap and 20 with a 0.4-mm gap) were imaged with conventional film and digital phosphor plate systems. Digital radiographs were exported as original images and with edge enhancement (high and low), inversion, and pseudo-3-dimensional filters. Four examiners assessed the presence of gaps by using a categorical scale (fit, misfit, cannot decide). Sensitivity, specificity, and overall accuracy were calculated for each variable. In addition, time spent scoring the images was recorded. A multivariate logistic regression was performed with accuracy as the dependent variable.


Of the images, 6.2% received the score “cannot decide,” most of them with a high edge enhancement filter and in the crown group. A tendency for higher sensitivity (range 0.67-0.83), specificity (range 0.81-0.92), and accuracy (range 0.73-0.86) values was found in conventional and digital original images. Results of a logistic regression found that restoration type, gap size, and high enhancement and inversion filters had a statistically significant impact on accuracy (P<.05).


Original nonfiltered images should be used to assess teeth with metal restorations. High enhancement filters and image inversion should be avoided, especially when metal crowns are present.


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