Quantitative analysis of periodontal defects in a skull model by subtraction radiography using a digital imaging device

Shawn J. Young, Mohamad S. Chaibi, Dana T. Graves, Zeina Majzoub, Fred Boustany, David Cochran, Pirkka Nummikosk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


THIS PAPER DESCRIBES A QUANTITATIVE STUDY of periodontal defects produced in a skull model using subtraction images obtained with a digital imaging device, radiovisiography (RVG). Analysis using radiovisiography was compared to changes in weight and volume determined by physical measurements. Four types of periodontal defects were studied: 2-wall, 3-wall, crater, and furcation. All defects were fabricated on posterior teeth in alveolar bone and done with triplicate samples. Defects were made progressively larger in approximately 1 mm steps allowing examination of defects ranging from 1 mm to 5 mm. Radiographic images before and after each step were obtained with a radiovisiography system and subtracted. Changes in weight and defect volume were also recorded and compared to the results obtained after each step from the digital subtraction. For each defect type, a regression analysis was performed to compare changes in bone mass determined by weight with calculated bone loss determined by subtraction radiography or by volume measurements. When the calculated bone losses were compared to the true bone losses it was evident that the subtraction method frequently, but not always, underestimated the lesion sizes. For all lesions the average underestimation was 22%. The largest underestimation occurred with furcation lesions where the measured bone loss was underestimated on average by 67%. Two-walled lesions were underestimated by 30%, 3-wall lesions by 3%, and crater lesions were overestimated by 10%. Furthermore, the accuracy of each 1 mm step in bone loss varied considerably. At present, the imaging system is not sufficiently accurate to establish absolute determinations of the bone loss, but would be clinically useful in determining relative changes in bone loss or gain after treatment. In addition, caution must be taken in interpreting a given change in calculated bone loss, since considerable variation may result in either underestimation or overestimation of bone loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-769
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of periodontology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1996


  • Bone loss/diagnosis
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Periodontal diseases/radiography
  • Radiography, dental
  • Subtraction techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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