Objective : To familiarize new criteria to access vertical position of mental foramen in panoramic radiographs. Furthermore, to determine and compare the position and symmetry of mental foramen in horizontal as well as in vertical plane in Indian population and to compare the results with those reported for other populations in the literature. Further gender differences in mental foramen position were also accessed to comment on the reliability of panoramic radiographs for sex determination. Methods and Material : Six hundred digital panoramic radiographs were selected and studied regarding the location and symmetry of mental foramen. They were also compared with the other studies in the literature. The method employed is similar to that described by Al Jasser and Nwoku for horizontal position and Fishal et al. for vertical position of mental foramen. Certain modifications were carried out in Fishal’s criteria for vertical position assessment. Results : The commonest position of the mental foramen in horizontal plane was in line with the longitudinal axis of the second premolar (61.0%) while in vertical plane it was found to be located inferior to the apex of second premolar (72.2%). Conclusion : Mental foramen exists in different locations and possesses many variations. Hence, Individual, gender, age, race and assessing technique largely influence these variations. It suggests that the clinicians should carefully identify these anatomical landmarks, by analyzing all influencing factors, prior to their diagnostic or the other dental, surgical and implant operation.
Keywords: Horizontal position, mental foramen, panoramic radiographs, vertical position.