Mandibular Canal Location: Cone-beam Computed Tomography Examination

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The increased use of implants and potential endodontic misadventures can lead to nerve damage. The purpose of this study was to use cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) measurements to investigate mandibular canal (MC) location in relation to mandibular posterior teeth, the dimension of the buccal and lingual bone over the MC, the diameter of the MC, and the anterior loop location near the mental foramen.


CBCT scans from 106 patients (age, 18–69 years) were used to evaluate measurements from 636 teeth and respective MC areas.


Respective locations of MC to teeth (buccal, inferior, or lingual) were as follows: second molar (57% buccal, 40% inferior, and 3% lingual), first molar (18% buccal, 55% inferior, and 27% lingual), and second premolar (33% buccal, 55% inferior, and 11% lingual). Buccal bone thickness over the MC was thickest at mesial root of second molars and thinnest over the second premolar (5.4 versus 2.6 mm). The lingual bone next to the MC was thickest over the second premolar and thinnest at distal root of first molars (3.8 versus 1.7 mm). The average diameter of the MC along the length of the canal from second molar to second premolar was 3.03 mm on left and 2.91 mm on right. The anterior loop was present in 10.4% of patients, with the average depth below bone of 13.43 mm. The anterior loop was more often seen on the left side than right and occurred bilaterally 50% of the time.


Mandibular bone thickness, nerve location, and dimension data all contribute to a useful knowledge base for practitioners. The application of CBCT imaging techniques aids in the surgical treatment, while offering advantages over conventional periapical and panoramic films.

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