The purpose of the study was to analyse longitudinal vertical facial and dentoalveolar changes using panoramic radiographs (PRs) and to compare the results with measurements on lateral cephalometric radiographs (LCRs) in order to determine whether, under certain circumstances, the radiation dose for a patient may be reduced by taking only a PR instead of a PR and a LCR. Pre- and post-treatment PRs and LCRs of 30 (15 females and 15 males) orthodontically treated adolescents (mean age pre-treatment 10.9 years, post-treatment 13.4 years) were analysed using Pearson's correlation coefficients and gender differences using Fisher's z-transformation.
The results revealed that most variables exhibited larger absolute values on PRs than on LCRs. Comparison of dentoskeletal morphology between the LCRs and the PRs revealed moderate to high, mostly statistically significant, interrelations both before and after orthodontic treatment. The lowest correlations were found for the maxillary jaw base angle (NL/H; r=0.35***) and the highest for the gonial angle (ML/RL; r=0.90***). However, when assessing the combined growth and treatment changes from before to after treatment, only weak to moderate, not statistically significant, interrelations were found between LCRs and PRs. Anterior face height (AFH; r=0.43***), the mandibular plane angle (ML/H; r=0.06*), and the distance of the incisal tip of the most extruded mandibular incisor to the ML-line (ii-ML; r=−0.21*) were the only statistically significant parameters. The average group differences for growth and treatment changes, however, were small for most parameters.
Analysis of vertical facial and dentoalveolar parameters on PRs delivers a moderate approximation to the situation depicted on LCRs. However, PRs cannot be recommended for the analysis of individual longitudinal changes in vertical facial and dentoalveolar parameters.