Subjects. The investigators studied patients in the Florida Dental Care Study, a prospective observational cohort study of oral health and dental care among noninstitutionalized adults over 45 years of age. These patients were representative of those who resided in 4 north Florida counties, had telephones, and could engage in a coherent telephone conversation. This is a communitybased sample of dentate adults without regard to these adults' past dental care use. The financial and sociodemographic aspects of this sample have been described in previous publications. The total number of subjects enrolled at the beginning of the study was 873. There were 788 subjects remaining at 24 months (weighted to reflect population in the counties studied). Of these, 677 ultimately had at least 1 dental visit during first 48 months of the study. These patients had a total of 286 dentists, and of these, 276 participated by contributing records. Attrition bias was evaluated in another publication and was estimated to be nonsignificant. There were 743 subjects remaining after 48 months (weighted). Of these, 622 had dental charts located, and of these, 594 had complete charts available. These were the subjects of the current article. Telephone interviews were conducted with each patient at 6, 12, 18, 30, 26, and 42 months after a baseline in-person interview and clinical dental examination. Dental records were obtained from all dental practices seen by each patient during the study period. Only 4 of 764 patients declined permission for this records review; 10 of 286 dental practices did not provide requested records. Diagnostic test. The investigators simply described the incidence of, and intervals between, the following procedures: • Full-mouth series • Periapical radiographs (first, and/or additional, other than those in a full mouth series) • Bitewing radiographs (single, 2 or 4, other than those in a full mouth series) • Panoramic radiograph Main results. Dental radiographic procedures comprised 13% of all dental procedures and 42% of all dental diagnostic procedures performed. Single periapical radiographs (per patient) comprised 34% of all radiographs; single and additional periapical radiographs (other than those taken as part of a full mouth series) comprised 42%, and any bitewing radiograph(s) (other than those taken as part of full mouth series) comprised 40%. Panoramic comprised 9.3%; full mouth series comprised 8.7%. See Tables 1 and 2. Conclusions. The annual incidence of dental radiographic procedures was substantially higher than the incidence reported in previous studies of dentists responding to hypothetical patients. The radiographic incidence was stable over the 4-year study period. The authors stated that although the frequency of radiographic use was reasonable, the appropriateness of these radiographs was not evaluated.
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