The position of the mental foramen and the anterior loop length of the inferior alveolar nerve serve as important anatomical landmarks for surgical procedures in the anterior mandibular region. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between the anterior loop of the inferior alveolar nerve and the mental foramen by combining cone beam computed tomography and Mimics, a software used to construct 3-dimensional (3D) interactive models of anatomical structures.Methods
Cone beam computed tomography images from a total of 60 patients were obtained and studied using GALAXY viewer or were imported into Mimics. The anterior loop of the inferior alveolar nerve was reconstructed 3-dimensionally, and then relevant parameters were measured.Results
The parameters were measured, and their values include mean (SD) anterior loop length, 1.16 (1.78) mm; anterior loop angle, 19.13 (26.89) degrees; inferior alveolar canal diameter, 3.01 (0.67) mm; height of the inferior alveolar canal, 10.32 (1.56) mm; 2-dimensional mental foramen diameter, 2.97 (0.61) mm; 3D mental foramen diameter, 2.95 (0.59) mm; 2-dimensional vertical height of the mental foramen, 14.67 (1.67) mm; and 3D vertical height of the mental foramen, 14.61 (1.69) mm. The mental foramen was located apically between the first and second premolars in 51.67% and below the second premolar in 40.83% of the cases.Conclusions
A relationship was observed between the location of the mental foramen and the presence of the anterior loop of the inferior alveolar nerve. We highlight the effectiveness of cone beam computed tomography and 3D reconstruction in the identification of important anatomical structures relevant for preoperative assessment for surgical procedures in the anterior region of the mandible.