Radiological diagnosis of periapical bone tissue lesions in endodontics: a systematic review


Arne Petersson, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Faculty of Odontology, Malmö University, SE-205 06 Malmö, Sweden (e-mail:


Petersson A, Axelsson S, Davidson T, Frisk F, Hakeberg M, Kvist T, Norlund A, Mejàre I, Portenier I, Sandberg H, Tranæus S, Bergenholtz G. Radiological diagnosis of periapical bone tissue lesions in endodontics: a systematic review. International Endodontic Journal45, 783–801, 2012.


This systematic review evaluates the diagnostic accuracy of radiographic methods employed to indicate presence/absence and changes over time of periapical bone lesions. Also investigated were the leads radiographic images may give about the nature of the process and the condition of the pulp in nonendodontically treated teeth. Electronic literature search included the databases PubMed, Embase and CENTRAL from January 1950 to June 2011. All languages were accepted provided there was an abstract in English. The MeSH terms were ‘Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT)’, ‘Radiography, panoramic’, ‘Periapical diseases’, ‘Dental pulp diseases’, ‘Sensitivity and specificity’, ‘receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve’, ‘Cadaver’, ‘Endodontics’ and ‘Radiography dental’. Two reviewers independently assessed abstracts and full text articles. An article was read in full text if at least one of the two reviewers considered an abstract to be potentially relevant. Altogether, 181 articles were read in full text. The GRADE approach was used to assess the quality of evidence of each radiographic method based on studies of high or moderate quality. Twenty-six studies fulfilled criteria set for inclusion. None was of high quality; 11 were of moderate quality. There is insufficient evidence that the digital intraoral radiographic technique is diagnostically as accurate as the conventional film technique. The same applies to CBCT. No conclusions can be drawn regarding the accuracy of radiological examination in identifying various forms of periapical bone tissue changes or about the pulpal condition.