Objective: To determine the quality of the evidence for the uses of fluoroscopy in dentistry.
Methods: A systematic review using Ovid and MEDLINE was conducted to identify papers showing the uses of fluoroscopy in dentistry published between 1953 and September 2009. Human, animal and phantom/skull/mannequin studies on fluoroscopy with regard to its diagnostic value, research performance, and clinical and safety applications in dentistry were included in this analysis. Studies that were not in English, as well as those that employed fluoroscopy in dentistry without the use of image intensification, were excluded. Articles were evaluated, classified and graded by levels of evidence.
Results: Fifty-five out of 139 papers fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Amongst them, 19 were related to diagnosis, 15 to research, 12 to clinical and nine to safety applications. Fluoroscopy has contributed to nine different areas of dentistry. Also, it was used on 895 dental patients, 37 animals and 17 phantoms/skulls/mannequins. Two randomised controlled trials, two cohort studies, two case controls, 48 case reports and one expert opinion were found.
Conclusion: Fluoroscopy with image intensification has been a useful, but not consistently used tool in dentistry for over 50 years. Several lines of evidence have shown fluoroscopy's diagnostic potential, research use, and clinical and safety applications in dentistry.
Keywords: fluoroscopy, radiology, systematic review, evidence-based dentistry, dental imaging