How common are Type I and II errors with dental x-rays?

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    How common are Type I and II errors with dental x-rays?


    False positives (type 2), and false negatives (type 1) errors no doubt can play a part particularly in reading poorly taken X-rays, such that the skill set of the reading physician is crucial, however they are checking for anomolies in hard tissue (bone), and inflamation, that becomes MORE pronounced with time, and it is miniscule (type 1) issues that fail to be discernable for the most part .The most common inspection is to view the apical tip of roots to determine the degree (or presence) of infection/inflammation- and the the suspect tooth has typically ALREADY been flagged by the patient. The x-ray confirms the patients’ object of concern, or shifts the concern to ‘other nearby issues, or perhaps even different origins altogether. When chasing this down with properly exposed x-ray technology, the errors are extremely rare.The other common need for X-ray is in the proper placement of ‘new cores’ in a tooth receiving a root canal; in this instance the density of the new core (wire), and the density of the root-tip yield a very easily read x-ray with no chance of errorfrom the x-ray record (not the procedure itself).

    Benign and not-so benign tumors would be a category where type 1 errors is an issue; X-rays don’t lend themselves all that well to soft-tissue anomolies; swollen areas are chased down, usually, by other techniques if the x-rays are un-helpful… and usually by a specialist.

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