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Nucl Med Commun. 2004 Mar;25(3):305-10.

Dental diseases and radionuclide imaging of the jaws.

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  • 1Faculty of Health Sciences, Alfonso X el Sabio University, Villanueva de la Canada, Madrid, Spain.


The aim of this study was to compare the results of radionuclide bone scans of the jaws with data obtained at the nuclear medicine department from a brief and feasible dental history, taking special account of cases with a positive scan and no recent dental events. Ninety-eight patients undergoing radionuclide bone scan as part of their diagnosis in non-dental, oncological and non-oncological diseases were imaged with 99mTc-labelled oxidronate. Superior and inferior halves of the mandible and maxilla (392 quadrants) were regarded as normal or having an abnormally high uptake. A recent (1 year) dental history was also obtained through a brief questionnaire and data were referred to each quadrant of the jaws. The association between the bone scan and dental disease was assessed by means of the chi-squared test. The overall results of scintigraphy and history coincided in 66 patients (46 with abnormal and 20 with normal findings; P = 0.002). Twenty-five patients had a positive scintigram without any known dental disorder. Results of scintigraphy and history coincided in 254 quadrants (78 with abnormal and 176 with normal findings; P < 0.001). Eighty-three quadrants had hot spots in the scintigram without any known dental lesion. It can be concluded that abnormal jaw scintigrams are frequent in patients without known dental disease, and this may indicate silent osteoblastic activity. These observations should be reported to the dentist for several reasons. First, they may reveal asymptomatic dental lesions. Second, the use of oral prostheses and implants is increasing and they require the support of healthy alveolar bone.

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