Intra-oral scanners helpful in paediatric dentistry

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Intra-oral scanners helpful in paediatric dental communication—study

The researchers behind a recent study on the use of intra-oral scanners in paediatric dental care say that the technology “can clearly be recommended as a visual aid to improve the communication of dental findings”. (Image: Inna photographer/Shuterstock)

Mon. 26. February 2024


GIESSEN, Germany: Researchers in Germany have studied the efficacy of intra-oral scanners as a communication tool in paediatric dentistry by comparing the comprehension of information provided in verbal explanations with that supplemented by a scan of the patient’s mouth. According to the researchers, the technology had a positive effect, and the use of intra-oral scans could lead to greater treatment acceptance among primary guardians.

In the study, a total of 60 children received a dental examination and half of them had their mouths scanned using a TRIOS 4 intra-oral scanner. Information about the patients’ dentition and proposed treatment plans was explained verbally to primary guardians in the control group, and intra-oral scans were used as a visual aid in addition to a verbal explanation for the study group. The primary guardians then completed a questionnaire about the children’s diagnoses, proposed treatment needs and oral hygiene. 

The patients presented with 441 permanent teeth and 276 primary teeth. In the primary dentition, a total of 114 teeth had caries, 13 were missing and 24 had been filled. Of the permanent teeth, 42 showed carious lesions, three were missing and 35 were filled. Molar incisor hypomineralisation was observed in 28 teeth, and there were two cases of lateral occlusion. 

The researchers noted a significant difference between the questionnaire responses from the two groups. The study group was able to answer 85.5 of the questions correctly, compared with 57.2 correct answers in the control group. In particular, it was observed that the control group had difficulty answering questions concerning treatment needs and proposed therapy. 

The researchers explained that the members of the study group demonstrated a significantly greater comprehension of their children’s oral health and that using intra-oral scans as visual aids had enabled the treating dentist to detail more specifically the affected teeth or areas requiring improved oral hygiene. “The conditions that caused the planned treatment were understood better, which may result in better treatment acceptance,” they wrote. 

“[An intra-oral scan] can clearly be recommended as a visual aid to improve the communication of dental findings with [primary guardians] in paediatric dentistry as it significantly increases comprehension, especially regarding treatment issues,” the authors concluded. 

The study, titled “Improving the communication of dental findings in pediatric dentistry by using intraoral scans as a visual aid: A randomized clinical trial”, was published on 17 January 2024 in Dentistry Journal. 

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