Differential Diagnosis of Periapical Radiopacities and Radiolucencies

Dent Clin North Am. 2020 Jan;64(1):163-189. doi: 10.1016/j.cden.2019.08.010. Epub 2019 Oct 17.


Periapical pathoses represent changes noted at the apices of teeth within the alveolar process that are suspected on examination, visualized via imaging, and confirmed via histopathology. They can be bone forming or destructive. There are pathologic entities that show both types of changes at the apical regions. These lesions must be identified if they are odontogenic in origin because treatment modalities differ. This article discusses identification of radiopaque and radiolucent lesions noted on radiographs. The common opacities and lucencies are described. When required, advanced imaging is used to depict changes within the bone near the periapical regions of mandibular and maxillary teeth.

Keywords: Benign tumor; Cyst; Dentoalveolar abscess; Granuloma; Malignant tumor; Metastases; Radiolucency; Radiopacity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alveolar Process
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Mandible*
  • Tooth*