Objective: To compare the diagnostic efficacy of a minipanel series to a conventional 18-radiograph full-mouth series in a disabled adult population in a university clinic. Method and Materials: Eighty patients who attended the New Jersey Dental School special care services clinic between 2004 and 2006 were selected for a double-blind quasiexperimental study based on existing full-mouth series radiographs. A minipanel series consisting of eight radiographs from the 18-radiograph full-mouth series was used as a comparison against a matched pair of an 18-radiograph exam. The diagnostic efficacy of this eight-radiograph series was tested against the more conventional 18-radiograph full-mouth series to determine whether the minipanel series was an acceptable substitute for the full-mouth series in this population group. Traditionally, it is difficult to obtain full-mouth series radiographs in patients with disabilities. Results: From the 80 studied patients, a total of 2,219 teeth were available for study. A median of 29 teeth per patient was found in the full-mouth series and 28 teeth per patient in the minipanel series category. The difference was statistically significant (P < .001). Of the patients evaluated, 78 (97.5%) had at least one problem detected when the full-mouth series was used. Of these 78 with at least one problem, 74 (94.8%) were identified using the minipanel series. The sensitivity for the minipanel series when compared to the gold-standard full-mouth series was 63% (95% confidence interval [CI], 59.2 to 68.0) for tooth-specific disease; the specificity was 92% (95% CI, 92.2 to 94.5). Conclusion: Prospective studies are needed for the acceptance and use of minipanel radiographic series in conjunction with a clinical examination.
Keywords: disabled patients, minipanel series, radiographs