Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether some mandibular measurements on panoramic radiographs are associated with low bone mineral density in postmenopausal women.
Methods: A sample of 122 panoramic dental radiographs and bone density tests from women 50 years or older were examined. Bone mineral density was measured in the lumbar spine and proximal femur regions through dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. The mandibular cortical bone thickness below the mental foramen, mandibular alveolar bone resorption, and panoramic mandibular index were measured.
Results: The mandibular cortical thickness and mandibular alveolar bone resorption showed the highest specificity (lumbar spine: 89.8% vs 73.5%, proximal femur: 83.6% vs 71.2%, respectively). The panoramic mandibular index demonstrated the highest sensitivity (lumbar spine: 43.8%; proximal femur: 40.8%). The association between the mandibular cortical thickness and bone mineral density was statistically significant even after adjustment for hormonal treatment, smoking, age at menopause, and body mass index (P = 0.04).
Conclusions: It is suggested that panoramic radiography may be useful for confirming individuals who present with low bone mineral density.