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J Clin Periodontol. 2000 Apr;27(4):224-30.

Radiographic detection and assessment of the periodontal endosseous defects.

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  • 1Department of Periodontology, School of Dentistry, University of Athens, Greece.



The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential of conventional radiography in detecting and accurately imaging periodontal endosseous (or osseous) defects when compared to surgical measurements. A further objective of the study was the selection of the most successful radiographic method for the assessment of endosseous defects.


Surgical measurements, during periodontal flap surgery, and radiographic measurements, from periapical and panoramic radiographs, were obtained from 5,072 proximal surfaces of 100 patients presenting with periodontitis.


Statistical evaluation of the surgical and radiographic measurements revealed the following. (1) The ability of the radiographs to detect periodontal osseous defects was relatively low. (2) For periapical radiography, it depended, in descending order, on the depth and buccolingual width of the defect, the number of osseous walls and the jaw location. For panoramic radiography, it depended only on buccolingual width. (3) Osseous defects of small depth and/or small buccolingual width were the most difficult to detect radiographically. (4) Periapical radiography was more successful than panoramic in detecting osseous defects, and more accurate in assessing the defect dimensions (depth, mesiodistal width). (5) The difference in the defect detection ability between the 2 radiographic methods, the accuracy of the radiographic defect dimensions assessment as well as the degree of agreement between periapical and panoramic assessment depended on defect location and dimensions.


Periapical radiography is superior to panoramic in detecting and accurately imaging periodontal osseous destruction.

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