Inter-examiner reliability of salivary diagnostic tests in a practice-based research network

Journal Name: 
J Dent Hyg
PURPOSE: Patient salivary characteristics are being measured as part of the Northwest PRECEDENT (Practice-based REsearch Collaborative in Evidence-based DENTistry) study on caries risk assessment. Prior to the implementation of these salivary diagnostic tests in a practice-based cohort study, inter-examiner reliability was assessed for resting salivary pH, stimulated salivary flow rate, pH and buffering capacity. METHODS: An initial evaluation of inter-examiner reliability of the 4 salivary tests was conducted among 6 dental auxiliary examiners using a convenience sample of 40 dental students. An in complete block design was used to assign samples to examiners (3 examiners per sample and 20 samples per examiner). Inter-examiner reliability testing was conducted on a patient population representative of the practice-based network in 4 member practices. Two dental assistants per practice independently conducted the salivary tests on samples provided by a random selection of 20 to 25 patients. A separate analysis was performed for each study. For each test, an inter-examiner reliability index was computed. RESULTS: Results from two studies are reported. In the first, stimulated salivary flow rate demonstrated excellent inter-examiner reliability, and resting salivary pH showed high inter-examiner reliability, while buffering capacity and stimulated salivary pH had moderate and very low inter-examiner reliability, respectively. In the second, inter-examiner reliability was excellent for the stimulated salivary flow rate and the resting salivary pH. The inter-examiner reliability for the stimulated salivary pH was also high and the stimulated salivary buffering capacity test had moderate reliability. CONCLUSION: The small variance in stimulated salivary pH and buffering capacity in dental students may have artificially made the reliability appear low in the first attempt at inter-examiner reliability testing. In the second study, all 4 tests had an accept able performance
20, 40, analysis, Cohort Studies, Dental Auxiliaries, Dentistry, diagnostic, electronic, evaluation, Evidence-Based Dentistry, Methods, patient, Patients, population, Research, Research Support, Risk, Risk Assessment, Students, support