Teeth: what radiologists should know

Radiographics. Nov-Dec 2012;32(7):1927-44. doi: 10.1148/rg.327125717.


Disease of the teeth and their support structures is common and frequently seen at imaging of the head and neck. Recognition of dental disease by the interpreting radiologist has the potential to alter the course of patient care, such as when periapical disease is identified as the cause of sinusitis or pericoronitis is identified as the cause of deep neck infection. Furthermore, incidental recognition of carious lesions in both children and adults who are undergoing CT for other reasons may alert the patient and care team of the need for a dental consultation. In fact, most of the images of dental and periodontal conditions that are used in this article were obtained from CT studies that were performed to investigate other problems. Familiarity with the imaging appearance of common dental conditions, such as hyperdontia and hypodontia, tooth trauma, periodontal disease, caries, periapical disease, odontogenic sinusitis, and deep neck infections, allows the radiologist to render a timely, confident, and specific diagnosis of dental abnormalities, even when such findings are unexpected.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidental Findings
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography, Dental / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Tooth Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Young Adult