To determine the validity and reliability of novel digitalized tools for dental plaque detection and explore the benefits and limitations connected to their use.
Reporting followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) Extension for Scoping Reviews. All human clinical studies comparing dental plaque detection using digitalized systems against a standard reference were included.
PubMed and Scopus were screened from 01 January 2013 to 28 September 2023. Bibliographies of primary studies and principal peer-reviewed scientific journals were manually searched.
The initial search identified 576 articles, with a total of 13 included in the review, published between 2015 and 2023. Most of the studies included (77 %) were cross-sectional with three being prospective. Digital devices captured 2D and 3D images via cameras and intra-oral scanners, respectively. The Turesky’s modified plaque index was the most frequent clinical index. Correlation with clinical examination was moderate to strong, with good to excellent intra- and inter-system agreement.
Within the limitations of this scoping review, image analysis-based plaque detection systems demonstrated good correlations with clinical plaque indices, using both 2D and 3D imaging systems. Whilst digital plaque detection devices offer advantages in terms of procedural standardization and reproducibility, they also have limitations, therefore currently, their application should be underpinned by a comprehensive clinical examination.
Digital plaque detection tools, that provide standardized measurements and store acquired images, facilitate more informed feedback to patients. This objective analysis may enhance clinician confidence in their utility for clinical trials and other applications.