Evaluating compliance of dental radiography for paediatric patient assessment in specialised tertiary care units: a United Kingdom multi-centre survey


Aim The aim of this survey was to determine compliance towards dental radiography selection criteria for paediatric patients undergoing new patient examinations in specialised tertiary care centres in the United Kingdom.

Methods Five university-associated dental hospitals were included in this study. Retrospective data was collected reviewing all paediatric patients on the new patient assessment clinics, where dental imaging was requested or the patient had relevant previous imaging. Data was collected from 28 June 2018, continuing retrospectively for a maximum of six months or until 150 patients were reached. Patients referred solely for orthodontic assessment were excluded.

Results Seven hundred and fifty patients were included with an average age of eight years - 95.5% of patients had a radiographic justification provided. All patients were grouped into 56 disease categories and a total range of one cross-sectional and nine planar radiographs were prescribed in this cohort. Each radiograph was assessed for compliance to the Faculty of General Dental Practice, European Association of Paediatric Dentistry and national Italian guidelines for dental diagnostic imaging. Additionally, selection criteria for CBCT scans were taken from SEDENTEXCT guidelines. Full panoramic radiographs were the most commonly prescribed at 34.8% (n = 261). However, this demonstrated the lowest compliance rate as per selection criteria at 75.9%. This was due to referrers requesting radiographs primarily for assessing dental development (18.8%; n = 49) and caries assessment (2.7%; n = 7). Other radiograph formats demonstrated varying levels of guideline compliance ranging from 93.5-100%.

Conclusion This study identifies common radiograph request errors and can inform paediatric clinicians to improve compliance to guidelines and reduce radiation exposure to young patients.

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The authors would like to thank the dental hospitals involved for their assistance in providing data for this study, and Dr Clarissa Dale and Dr Fionnuala Loy for their help in data collection.

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The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare for this article.

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Correspondence to Manas Dave.

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Dave, M., Barry, S., Henderson, N. et al. Evaluating compliance of dental radiography for paediatric patient assessment in specialised tertiary care units: a United Kingdom multi-centre survey. Br Dent J 229, 184–189 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-020-1921-z

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