Objectives: Technological development and the need for electronic health records management resulted in the need for a computer with dedicated, commercial software in daily dental practice. The alternative for commercial software may be open-source solutions. Therefore, this study reviewed the current literature on the availability and use of open-source software (OSS) in dentistry.
Methods: A comprehensive database search was performed on February 1, 2017. Only articles published in peer-reviewed journals with a focus on the use or description of OSS were retrieved. The level of evidence, according to Oxford EBM Centre Levels of Evidence Scale was classified for all studies. Experimental studies underwent additional quality reporting assessment.
Results: The screening and evaluation process resulted in twenty-one studies from 1,940 articles found, with 10 of them being experimental studies. None of the articles provided level 1 evidence, and only one study was considered high quality following quality assessment.
Twenty-six different OSS programs were described in the included studies of which ten were used for image visualization, five were used for healthcare records management, four were used for educations processes, one was used for remote consultation and simulation, and six were used for general purposes.
Conclusions: Our analysis revealed that the dental literature on OSS consists of scarce, incomplete, and methodologically low quality information.