Detection of incidental carotid artery calcifications during dental examinations: panoramic radiography as an important aid in dentistry

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2011 Oct;112(4):e11-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tripleo.2011.02.048. Epub 2011 Jun 12.


Objective: This study aimed to determine the diagnostic reliability of panoramic radiographs (PRs) in the detection of carotid artery calcifications (CACs) during routine dental examination by comparing them with color Doppler ultrasound (CDUS) examination as the criterion standard. The correlations between CAC formation and systemic diseases, body mass index, smoking, and age were also examined.

Study design: A total of 70 patients >40 years old diagnosed with CACs from PRs obtained during routine dental examination between January 2008 and September 2009 and 35 patients with no CACs (control group) were referred for further ultrasound examination.

Results: Compared with CDUS examination of 210 carotid arteries in 105 patients, PRs were found to have sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy rates of 79.8%, 81.1%, and 80.5%, respectively, in the diagnosis of CACs. CACs were found to be significantly correlated with chronic diseases, such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and heart disease, but not with diabetes mellitus or renal disease. In addition, correlations were found between CACs and smoking and beween CACs and menopause.

Conclusions: The findings of PRs and ultrasound are consistent enough to warrant the referral of patients prediagnosed with suspected CACs from PRs for further medical evaluation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Stenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Cervical Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Diabetes Complications
  • False Negative Reactions
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / complications
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / complications
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Incidental Findings*
  • Kidney Diseases / complications
  • Male
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography, Panoramic*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Smoking
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color