Role of Panoramic Imaging and Cone Beam CT for Assessment of Inferior Alveolar Nerve Exposure and Subsequent Paresthesia Following Removal of Impacted Mandibular Third Molar
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Pre-operative radiographic evaluation of impacted mandibular third molar and inferior alveolar canal (IAC) is important in preventing a possible nerve exposure and damage during surgical removal. The present study analysed the relation of the mandibular third molar with inferior alveolar canal using panoramic radiography (PAN) and cone beam CT (CBCT) and evaluated the radiographic features suggestive of IAN exposure and post-operative paresthesia.
Materials and Methods
PAN and CBCT findings of 53 impacted mandibular third molars having a close relation with IAC undergoing extraction were analysed. Further, all cases were evaluated for any sensory loss in relation to IAN 1 week post-operatively.
The most common PAN feature was combination of darkening of roots (DR) and interruption of white line (IWL), seen in 35.86% (19) cases. The most common CBCT feature was thinning of lingual cortex in 81.14% (43) cases. The most common location of IAC in CBCT was inferior in 47.16% (25) cases, followed by buccal 26.41% (14). On comparison of PAN and CBCT findings, DR and IWL both exclusively 92.86% (13); 80% (12) cases and in combination 75% (15) were most commonly associated with thinning of lingual cortex. IAN exposure was seen in 7.55% (4) cases, and 3.77% (2) cases reported with paresthesia. Absence of corticalisation and IWL was associated with all cases of nerve exposure, inter-radicular location of IAC seen in three out of the four cases. Cases with paresthesia had DR and deflection of roots (DEFR) with thinning of lingual cortex by roots.
DR with DEFR or IWL in PAN as combination and inter-radicular location of IAC with thinning of lingual cortex by root tips in CBCT are highly predictive of nerve exposure and subsequent paresthesia.
KeywordsCone beam computed tomography Panoramic radiography Impacted mandibular third molars IAN exposure IAN paresthesia
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