Comparison between panoramic and intra-oral radiographs for the assessment of alveolar bone levels in a periodontal maintenance population

J Clin Periodontol. 2003 Sep;30(9):833-9. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-051x.2003.00379.x.


Background: Information about the agreement between intra-oral (I-O) and panoramic (OPG) radiographs is limited.

Aims: : (1) To assess the agreement between I-Os and OPGs for direct measurements of the distance between the cemento-enamel junction (CEJ) and the alveolar bone level (BL) as well as the proportional values in relation to the root length (CEJ-BL/root length), and (2) to explore the symmetry between the left- and right-side measurements.

Material and methods: I-Os and OPGs were studied in 292 periodontal maintenance subjects (mean age 55.5 years, SD+/-12.6) with on average 22.4 teeth (SD+/-4.1 range: 6-28). The images were measured using a PC software program. Site-based I-O and OPG values for CEJ-BL as well as CEJ-BL/root length were compared. OPG values of CEJ-BL/root length values between the left and right sides were also studied.

Results: A total of 11,395 linear distances (CEJ-BL plus CEJ-apex) from the I-Os and 21,462 linear distances from the OPGs were measured. The intra-class correlation coefficients (ICCs) between sets of readings of CEJ-BL varied between 0.80 and 0.89 (p<0.001), with the best agreement for tooth 22 (ICC: 0.89; 95% CI: 0.83-0.92). The ICCs for CEJ-BL/root length varied between 0.54 and 0.92. Mean differences between I-O and OPG values were in the 0.00-0.04 mm range for the CEJ-BL/root length comparisons. The maxillary anterior sextant demonstrated a 1.4 x enlargement by OPG for the CEJ-BL/root length comparisons. No distortions were observed for mandibular sextants. Left- and right-side symmetry of periodontal bone loss was demonstrated. ICC varied between 0.79 (95.00% CI: 0.71-0.84, p<0.01) and 0.53 (95.00% CI: 0.36-0.65, p< 0.01).

Conclusions: I-O and OPG radiograph readings are in great agreement. Alveolar bone loss appeared to have a symmetrical distribution pattern. Hence for periodontal assessments, OPG radiographic readings may, at least in part, substitute for full-mouth periapical radiographic evaluation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alveolar Bone Loss / diagnostic imaging
  • Alveolar Process / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cephalometry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Periodontal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Radiography, Bitewing*
  • Radiography, Panoramic*
  • Tooth Apex / diagnostic imaging
  • Tooth Cervix / diagnostic imaging
  • Tooth Root / diagnostic imaging