• mandible;
  • incisive canal;
  • bone;
  • inferior alveolar nerve;
  • dental implant


The morphology of the mandibular canal after loss of teeth has received little detailed attention. Improved documentation of this topic would allow better interpretation of dental radiographs and would enable those engaged in tooth implantation to better understand the nature of the tissue into which the prostheses are placed. In this study on mandibles from seven dissecting room cadavers panoramic radiographs usually showed the mandibular canal clearly, an incisive canal less so. The wall of the mandibular canal was similar in dentate and edentulous mandibles, and was highly perforated, as suggested by Cryer (Anderson et al., 1991). In edentulous specimens, it was composed mainly of cancellous bone with only occasional single osteons. The inferior alveolar nerve near the mandibular foramen was a large trunk, consisting of three to four nerve bundles with connective tissue sheaths. It became more loosely arranged toward the mental foramen. Medial to the mental foramen, the nerves were frequently in the form of small bundles in the marrow. Any incisive canal was ill-defined and neurovascular bundles, when present, ran through a labyrinth of intertrabecular spaces. Clin. Anat. 6:445–452, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.