Comparison of orthopantomography and computed tomography image for assessing the relationship between impacted mandibular third molar and mandibular canal

Shravan Kumar Katakam, Uma Shankar, Deepak Thakur, T Praveen Kumar Reddy, K R Hari, Deepti Janga
Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice 2012 November 1, 13 (6): 819-23

BACKGROUND: Permanent mandibular third molar are most commonly impacted teeth. In planning the surgical removal of mandibular third molar, correct diagnosis requires not only their precise spatial location, but also a thorough and accurate assessment of the intimate relationship with adjacent anatomical structures. Various imaging modalities have been used for localizing the mandibular third molar but not satisfactorily.

AIM: This prospective study of 30 patients with 42 impacted mandibular third molars was carried out with the aim of finding evidence for justifying the use of computed tomography and orthopantomography as a diagnostic modality, prior to surgical intervention of impacted mandibular third molar.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Subjective evaluation of the CT and OPG images by two observed had shown that there was significant difference between the CT and OPG for radiographic visibility of mandibular canal in relation to third molar.

RESULTS: Data analysis was done with Chi-square test (X(2)) and z-test to find the significant difference between the two radiographic modalities OPG and CT in localizing special relationship of impacted mandibular third molar. The comparison of OPG and CT showed z-value >1.5 in darkening of roots (1.98), deflection of root (2.00) interruption of z-value = 0 in narrowing of canal and dark, bifid apexes. Also it showed p-value <0.05 in all the radiographic signs except narrowing of mandibular canal and and dark and bifid apexes.

CONCLUSION: The spiral CT image provides a unique opportunity to determine the exact position of impacted mandibular third molar and their relationship to adjacent structure in all three planes.

CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Computed tomography is highly instrumental in depicting the relationship of mandibular third molar with inferior alveolar nerve canal before treatment and accurate appraisal of the several aspects can be made regarding prognosis.

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