Diagnostic accuracy for the detection of caries of digital images using an intraoral camera in a primary school setting. A pilot study.

Project Details


Aim: A cross-sectional study was carried out to compare the diagnostic accuracy of digital images using an intraoral camera with visual examination for the detection of caries in a primary school setting as part of a supervised toothbrushing programme.

Methods: Qualified Dental Care Professionals (DCPs) captured intraoral digital images of all children from two randomly selected schools participating in a supervised toothbrushing program using an intraoral camera between January and February 2023. In parallel, an experienced dentist performed a visual examination on all children using a dental mirror and a torch. Examinations were assisted by DCP students. All children received supervised toothbrushing training and fluoride varnish application. Subsequently, digital images were remotely and asynchronously evaluated by another dentist. High-risk cases were referred to local dental services. The study was approved by the University of Portsmouth Ethics Committee (SHFEC 2022 – 100) and parental consent was obtained for each child.

Key findings

Results: 56 children (Mean age=5.7 years old) from two primary schools were screened. A total of 547 digital images were obtained. On average, 7 images per child were considered usable. Caries prevalence was 21.4% with a visual examination and 51.8% using digital photographs. Digital images had 91.7% sensitivity and specificity 59.1% compared with the visual screening for caries detection.

Conclusions: Digital images obtained through intraoral cameras showed comparable diagnostic accuracy to visual examination for caries detection in children. The digital images had a high sensitivity for caries detection. Asynchronous assessment of digital images may serve as an alternative approach for caries detection in oral health screening programs in school settings.
Short titleTeleBrushUP
Effective start/end date3/10/2231/07/23