Objective: To evaluate if digital compensation for exponential attenuation and the characteristics of the human visual system improves the diagnosis of approximal caries from digital radiographs. Material and methods: Forty premolar teeth were mounted in plaster blocks. Radiographs of the teeth were exposed with the Dixi digital intraoral system employing a Prostyle Intra dental X-ray unit (Planmeca Oy, Helsinki, Finland). Thirteen radiographs were then processed to compensate for the exponential attenuation and for the characteristic of the human visual system using equations presented in the paper. Ten observers were asked to diagnose approximal caries in all radiographs. ROC analyses were performed. The teeth were subsequently sectioned for histological validation of the lesions. The areas under ROC curves of original and processed radiographs were compared and analysed using Wilcoxon's signed-ranks test. Results: There were significant diagnostic differences between the two types of radiographs (all lesions P = 0.005, enamel P = 0.028, and dentine P = 0.050). Conclusion: Digital radiographs processed to compensate for exponential attenuation and the characteristics of the human visual system significantly improves the diagnosis of approximal caries in vitro.
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