• cone beam computed tomography;
  • mandibular incisive canal;
  • panoramic radiography


Purpose: Panoramic radiography is often used to analyze the anatomical structure of the teeth, jaws, and temporomandibular joints. Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) imaging allows multiple axial slices of the image to be obtained through these anatomical structures. The aim of this study was to assess CBCT compared with panoramic radiography to verify the presence, location, and dimensions of the mandibular incisive canal.

Materials and Methods: CBCT scan images and panoramic radiographs of 89 subjects were compared for the presence of the mandibular incisive canal, its location, size, and anterior-posterior length. The distance between the incisive canal and the buccal and lingual plate of the alveolar bone, and the distance from the canal to the inferior border of the mandible and the tooth apex were also measured. A paired t-test was used to calculate any significant difference between the two imaging techniques.

Results: Eighty-three percent of the CBCT scans showed the presence of the incisive canal, as did 11% of the panoramic radiographs. The range of the incisive canal diameter, as seen in the CBCT scans, was from 0.4 × 0.4 mm to 4.6 × 3.2 mm. The mean length of the canal was 7 ± 3.8 mm. The distance from the inferior border of the mandible to the canal was 10.2 ± 2.4 mm, and the mean distance to the buccal plate was 2.4 mm. The apex–canal distance (in dentate subjects) was 5.3 mm.

Conclusion: The presence, location, and dimensions of the mandibular incisive canal are better determined by CBCT imaging than by panoramic radiography.