Aim: To evaluate and compare the frequency of common operator errors seen on panoramic radiographs in dental private practices and in the dental hospital (taken by informally and formally trained operators, respectively) in Trinidad and Tobago.
Method: One thousand panoramic radiographs of patients over the age of 10 years were included in this study. These comprised 500 from the dental hospital and 500 from dental private practices. The radiographs were reviewed using standardized criteria to identify the most common operator errors.
Results: There were only 21 (4.2%) error free radiographs in the dental private practice sample and 29 (5.8%) in the dental hospital sample. Frequencies of specific errors were significantly higher in the dental private practice sample in each category except for “Chin tipped too low” (Chi-square p < 0.05)
Conclusion: This study supports the need for the introduction of statutory guidelines with respect to the use of ionizing radiation in dentistry in Trinidad and Tobago and in particular, the implementation of formally assessed dedicated dental radiography training for all operators of dental X-ray equipment.