Objective: To elucidate the effect of automatic exposure compensation (AEC) on the diagnostic accuracy of proximal caries by comparing several digital intraoral imaging systems with a film. Materials and methods: Twenty-seven extracted teeth served as proximal caries samples. Three digital radiographic systems; the Compuray, the Dixel, and the Sens-A-Ray without scintillator layer, and Kodak Ekta-speed Plus films were used as recording media. Radiographs of the teeth samples were obtained with each recording medium under seven to eight different exposures including the optimum level. Six oral radiologists evaluated the possibility of proximal caries with the five-grade-confidence-scale. On digital radiographs, image manipulations were allowed after the initial assessment. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were obtained at each exposure in each recording medium. The area under the ROC curve (Az) was used as the representative value of diagnostic accuracy. Diagnostic accuracy (DA) curves were obtained by plotting averaged Az values from all observers as a function of incident exposure in each system. Results: The effect of exposure variation on the DA was slight in the film while it was significantly larger in the digital systems without AEC. Among digital systems, the effect of exposure variation was smaller in the system with AEC than those without AEC. There was no significant effect on the diagnostic accuracy even if digital image manipulation was employed. Conclusion: AEC minimizes the decrease of DA due to inadequate exposures. Since it compensates for the narrow exposure range in the digital intraoral sensor systems, the system with AEC may be preferable for the clinical diagnostic tasks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging