Dentists’ knowledge about osteoporosis and their ability to identify the disease

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Background: Osteoporosis is an underdiagnosed condition, and its seriousness is not considered until severe complications arise. This study aimed to evaluate general dentists’ knowledge about osteoporosis and their ability to identify patients with this disease by assessing mandibular cortical width (MCW) and mandibular cortical index (MCI) on panoramic dental radiographs using a visual method. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, an email questionnaire regarding the diagnosis and prevention of osteoporosis was sent to 20,773 dentists in 2016. Those who completed the questionnaire were invited to participate in radiomorphometric training and then to analyze the MCI and MCW of 114 panoramic radiographs of postmenopausal women who underwent both panoramic radiography and bone densitometry. Based on the radiomorphometric indices and while blinded to the densitometry results, the dentists determined whether they would indicate densitometry for these patients. Results: The response rate was 2.3%: 485 dentists completed the questionnaire, and 50 evaluated panoramic radiographs using the MCW and MCI. All of them reported some knowledge about osteoporosis, but 41.6% demonstrated a misleading conceptualization of the disease. Approximately 90% reported minimal access to this information during graduation, and only 27.0% were exposed to the topic during their postgraduate studies. Interest in osteoporosis prevention was expressed by 70.7% of the respondents, and interest in learning the radiomorphometric indices was expressed by 99.0%. The sensitivity in the detection of low bone mineral density through the MCW and MCI was 52.9%, and the specificity was 64%. Conclusions: Brazilian dentists demonstrated insufficient knowledge about osteoporosis and a low ability to detect osteopenia or osteoporosis by applying radiomorphometric indices.




Ferreira, R. V., Roizenblatt, S., & Szejnfeld, V. L. (2021). Dentists’ knowledge about osteoporosis and their ability to identify the disease. Advances in Rheumatology, 61(1).

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