I’ve noticed that the issue of overdiagnosis is really getting a lot of attention in the medical world. Overdiagnosis occurs when a person is diagnosed with a disease, but that disease, if left untreated would never have caused symptoms or death. This results in treatment being provided to people when they could have been left alone and never would have suffered. It is especially problematic when testing is involved that returns abnormalities that can be interpreted to indicate disease, but the test is inaccurate. It is also especially problematic when the treatment has significant consequences or side effects.
There was a conference held on the topic last year in the UK and I see this year’s conference is sold out. httpv://www.preventingoverdiagnosis.net/
I must admit that after reading a bit on the topic, there are a lot of aspects of overdiagnosis that apply to dentistry, as we are so focused on prevention of disease, and we do a lot of tests (pulp testing, bitewing and PA radiographs, probing of fissures) that can return both false positives and false negatives. Also, our treatments are invasive, costly and often irreversible.
This youtube video gives an easy to understand overview of testing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4_3fditnWg.
What are people’s thoughts on this? Do you think we are guilty?