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Estimation of skeletal bone mineral density by means of the trabecular pattern of the alveolar bone, its interdental thickness, and the bone mass of the mandible.

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  • 1Department of Orthodontics, Göteborg University, Sweden.



We sought to evaluate the use of the alveolar trabecular pattern, the mandibular alveolar bone mass (MABM) measured by photodensitometry, and the interdental alveolar thickness for prediction of the skeletal bone mineral density (BMD).


MABM and the coarseness of trabeculation were assessed by using periapical radiographs in 80 dentate women. The interdental alveolar thickness was measured on casts, and BMD of the forearm with dual X-ray absorptiometry.


Significant correlations were found between skeletal BMD and MABM (r = 0.46, P <.001) as well as the coarseness of the trabeculation (r = 0.62, P <.001). The interdental alveolar thickness improved the correlation between skeletal BMD and MABM (R2 = 0.44, P <.001). Age, but not interdental thickness, improved the correlation between the coarseness of trabeculation and skeletal BMD (R2 = 0.52, P <.001).


Evaluation of the coarseness of trabeculation of the alveolar bone as seen on intraoral radiographs is a helpful clinical indicator of skeletal BMD and better than densitometric measurements of the alveolar bone. Dense trabeculation is a strong indicator of high BMD, whereas sparse trabeculation may be used to predict low BMD.

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