Calcified facial and maxillary arteries: Incidental radiographic findings indicative of Mönckeberg arteriosclerosis

J Am Dent Assoc. 2021 Nov;152(11):943-946. doi: 10.1016/j.adaj.2021.04.018. Epub 2021 Aug 7.


Background and overview: Mönckeberg arteriosclerosis is a disease of unknown etiology characterized by dystrophic calcifications within the tunica media of small- and medium-sized arteries, leading to reduced arterial compliance. The authors report a case discovered incidentally on dental radiographs.

Case description: A 78-year-old man with a complex medical history was seen for routine oral health care. Panoramic and bite-wing radiographs revealed a tortuous, linear calcification in the area of the left mandibular first molar anterior to the angle of the mandible and suggestive of a calcified facial artery.

Conclusions and practical implications: Medical radiologists have used the presence of arterial calcifications to determine the severity and prognosis of such diseases as primary hyperparathyroidism, secondary hyperparathyroidism, coronary artery disease, and diabetes. The presence of Mönckeberg arteriosclerosis on dental radiographs can help oral health care professionals identify patients with undiagnosed systemic disease.

Keywords: Radiology; calcifications; chronic kidney disease; dental; diabetes; panoramic radiograph; pathology.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arteriosclerosis* / complications
  • Arteriosclerosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Calcinosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maxillary Artery
  • Monckeberg Medial Calcific Sclerosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography, Panoramic
  • Tunica Media