Background: The mental foramen (MF) is located bilaterally on the anterior surface of the mandible. It is usually seen between the roots of the first and second mandibular premolars. It is challenging to locate the MF clinically; the knowledge of the exact location of the MF is vital before placing implants to achieve effective mental nerve block anesthesia. Hence the current study was aimed at evaluating the location of MF by Cone- Beam computed tomography (CBCT) for patients visiting dental clinics at Qassim University.
Methodology: The study sample of 43 CBCT images, with MF visible on both sides of the mandible, was selected from achieves, with age groups ranged 20-60 years. After determining the horizontal and vertical diameter of each MF, a ratio of both diameters (H:V) was calculated and used to classify the form of MF into one of three types: Type I (oval horizontal form), Type II (oval vertical form), and Type III (round form). The location of the MF was noted. The variables were statistically analyzed using Statistica 12.5 PL software (StatSoft, Poland).
Results: The current study revealed that the most frequent anterior-posterior position of the MF on both the right and left sides in female and male subgroups was a location between the first and second premolar. While the most frequent superior-inferior position of the MF was below the apices of the first and second mandibular premolar teeth roots. Type II MF was the most rarely observed type in a whole studied population.
Conclusion: The current study showed that CBCT analysis for the type and location of MF could contribute to the success of implant planning and to avoid future complications.
Key words: Cone beam computed tomography, mental foramen, implant dentistry