Relationship between the prevalence of soft tissue radiopacities on panoramic radiographs and medical conditions


Minerva Stomatologica, vol.69, no.4, pp.235-244, 2020 (ESCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 69 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.23736/s0026-4970.20.04329-0
  • Journal Name: Minerva Stomatologica
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.235-244
  • Keywords: Radiography, panoramic, Incidental findings, Carotid arteries, Radiographic image interpretation, computer-assisted
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


BACKGROUND: This study aimed to describe radiographic characteristics and the prevalence of selected anatomical structures and soft tissue radiopacities on panoramic radiographs and their relationship to medical conditions. METHODS: A retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted with 814 consecutive patients aged 35-88 years and their panoramic radiographs. Soft tissue calcifications found in the mandibular angle area were recorded according to gender, age, and bilaterally. Patient medical records were reviewed for atherogenic risk factors including hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, chronic renal disease, menopause, drug usage and any other systemic condition. Data were analyzed with the x2 test and Fisher's Exact test; P<0.05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS: Among the 814 patients, a total of 74 (9.1%) calcified carotid artery atheromas (CCAA) were identified, of which 34 (4.17%), 40 (3.19%), and 14 (1.7%) were right, left, and bilateral, respectively. Orthopantomographic examination revealed triticeous cartilage (7.3%) in the cervical bifurcation region, asymptomatic styloid process elongation 192 (23.5%), tonsilloliths 27 (3.3%), sialoliths 37 (4.5%), calcified lymph nodes 46 (5.7%), impacted roots 109 (13.4%), and foreign radiopaque materials 23 (%2.8). There was a significant age and gender difference between type II diabetes and CCAA. Apositive correlation was found between styloid process elongation and temporomandibular joint disorders and antidepressant use. CONCLUSIONS: Soft tissue radiopacities can be a validated risk indicator of cardiovascular events or misdiagnosed pain. Dental practitioners must be aware of these atypical findings as they may be related to serious disease states and may require referral for further investigation.