Conventional Bitewing Radiographs

  • Falk SchwendickeEmail author
  • Gerd Göstemeyer


Bitewing radiographs complement visual detection of dental caries, particularly in proximal surfaces. Bitewing radiography has a sensitivity of around 0.4 for detecting proximal lesions, with high specificity (0.9 or above). On occlusal surfaces bitewing radiographs are not useful for detection of very early enamel lesions, but are useful to identify moderate lesions and determine proximity to the pulp with overall sensitivity/specific values at 0.4/0.8 respectively. It is also useful detecting proximal secondary lesions (0.5/0.8), while on smooth (buccal, lingual) surfaces, bitewing radiography is not useful. Bitewings also allow for monitoring lesions over time, especially when using individualized holders. Bitewing radiography is a useful caries detection aid, with some limitations as to its accuracy, but more so its applicability in many settings, and its repeatability (given the release of ionizing radiation) in short intervals for caries detection.


Accuracy Cavitation Caries detection Decision-making Dental caries Radiograph 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of HealthBerlinGermany

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