Aim: The lateral cephalometric radiograph is a standard component of clinical records taken for orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning. The present study was conducted to assess the utility of cephalometric radiography and analysis in modern orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning.
Materials and methods: A research survey was conducted at Jacksonville University School of Orthodontics. Thirty-one residents and faculty were the participants. The survey sample was collected from the university patients’ pool. A survey was given to participants at two time points. At the first time point (T1), the participants were given full records without lateral cephalogram. At the second time point (T2), they were given full records with lateral cephalogram. Two measures were analyzed: (1) a change in orthodontic treatment decision and (2) a change in the orthodontic treatment plan. A traditional McNemar's test was used on paired binary data. We used the conditional logistic regression model with robust variance at a participant level to adjust for a participant-level clustering effect to test the difference in treatment decision before and after. A statistical significance was determined at p = 0.05.
Results: It was found that 93.6% of the treatment decisions and 70% of the extraction decisions were consistent after the introduction of lateral cephalograms. There was no statistically significant association observed between two outcome measures and the use of cephalograms (p = 0.80).
Conclusion: Sufficient evidence does not exist to warrant lateral cephalometric radiographs be taken as a part of standard diagnostic records on every individual seeking orthodontic treatment.
Clinical significance: Evidenced-based selection criteria for prescribing lateral cephalometric radiographs should be developed to reduce the amount of radiation exposure to the general public.
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