Accuracy and reliability of magnetic resonance imaging in orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning—a systematic review and meta-analysis

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BACKGROUND: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-ionizing imaging technique. Using MRI in dentistry may potentially lower the general radiation dose of the examined population, provided MRI can replace various radiation-based images. Furthermore, novel MRI imaging modalities for three-dimensional and two-dimensional cephalometrics have recently been developed for orthodontic diagnosis.

OBJECTIVES: This systematic review aimed to determine the diagnostic accuracy and reliability of MRI in orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning.

SEARCH METHODS: An electronic search was conducted on 20 November 2022 in the following databases: PubMed, LILACS, Web of Science, EMBASE, Scopus, and Cochrane. The search was updated on 30 August 2023. Furthermore, a grey literature search was performed in Google Scholar and Open-Grey.

SELECTION CRITERIA: This review included descriptive, observational, cohort studies, cross-sectional, case-control studies, and randomized/non-randomized trials related to the research question. The study excluded studies related to patients with syndromes, chronic diseases, craniofacial anomalies, or bone diseases.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: The included studies were quality assessed using the "Joanna Brigg's Critical Appraisal Tool for diagnostic test accuracy". The GRADE approach for non-randomized studies was used for strength-of-evidence analysis.

RESULTS: Eight of the 10 included studies compared MRI with either cone beam computed tomography or lateral cephalogram and found a high intra- and inter-rater agreement for landmark identification. The risk of bias was high in four studies, moderate in three, and low in three studies. Homogeneity was lacking among the included studies in terms of MRI imaging parameters and sample characteristics. This should be taken into consideration by future studies where uniformity with respect to these parameters may be considered.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite dissimilarity and heterogeneity in the sample population and other methodological aspects, all the included studies concluded that MRI enjoyed considerable intra- and inter-examiner reliability and was comparable to current diagnostic standards in orthodontics. Furthermore, the studies agreed on the innovative potential of MRI in radiation-free diagnosis and treatment planning in orthodontics in the future.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbercjae019
JournalEuropean Journal of Orthodontics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024


  • accuracy
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • meta-analysis
  • orthodontic diagnosis
  • reliability
  • systematic review
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Malocclusion/diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Orthodontics/methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Cephalometry/methods


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