Combining public datasets for automated tooth assessment in panoramic radiographs

N. van Nistelrooij, K. Ghoul, T. Xi, A. Saha, S. Kempers, M. Cenci, B. Loomans, T. Fl├╝gge, B. van Ginneken and S. Vinayahalingam

BMC Oral Health 2024;24.




Panoramic radiographs (PRs) provide a comprehensive view of the oral and maxillofacial region and are used routinely to assess dental and osseous pathologies. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to improve the diagnostic accuracy of PRs compared to bitewings and periapical radiographs. This study aimed to evaluate the advantages and challenges of using publicly available datasets in dental AI research, focusing on solving the novel task of predicting tooth segmentations, FDI numbers, and tooth diagnoses, simultaneously.

Materials and methods

Datasets from the OdontoAI platform (tooth instance segmentations) and the DENTEX challenge (tooth bounding boxes with associated diagnoses) were combined to develop a two-stage AI model. The first stage implemented tooth instance segmentation with FDI numbering and extracted regions of interest around each tooth segmentation, whereafter the second stage implemented multi-label classification to detect dental caries, impacted teeth, and periapical lesions in PRs. The performance of the automated tooth segmentation algorithm was evaluated using a free-response receiver-operating-characteristics (FROC) curve and mean average precision (mAP) metrics. The diagnostic accuracy of detection and classification of dental pathology was evaluated with ROC curves and F1 and AUC metrics.


The two-stage AI model achieved high accuracy in tooth segmentations with a FROC score of 0.988 and a mAP of 0.848. High accuracy was also achieved in the diagnostic classification of impacted teeth (F1 = 0.901, AUC = 0.996), whereas moderate accuracy was achieved in the diagnostic classification of deep caries (F1 = 0.683, AUC = 0.960), early caries (F1 = 0.662, AUC = 0.881), and periapical lesions (F1 = 0.603, AUC = 0.974). The model's performance correlated positively with the quality of annotations in the used public datasets. Selected samples from the DENTEX dataset revealed cases of missing (false-negative) and incorrect (false-positive) diagnoses, which negatively influenced the performance of the AI model.


The use and pooling of public datasets in dental AI research can significantly accelerate the development of new AI models and enable fast exploration of novel tasks. However, standardized quality assurance is essential before using the datasets to ensure reliable outcomes and limit potential biases.