Imaging Sci Dent.  2019 Mar;49(1):65-70. 10.5624/isd.2019.49.1.65.

More frequent detection of calcified carotid atherosclerotic plaques and mineralized laryngeal cartilages on digital than on film-based panoramic radiographs

  • 1Department of Clinical Dentistry, Federal University of Espirito Santo, Vitoria-ES, Brazil.
  • 2Division of Oral Radiology, Department of Oral Diagnosis, Piracicaba Dental School, University of Campinas, Piracicaba-SP, Brazil.


To determine whether calcified carotid atherosclerotic plaques (CCAPs) and mineralized laryngeal cartilages (MLCs) were more frequently detected on digital or film-based panoramic radiographs. The clinical relevance of this question is that some radiopacities seen on digital radiographs may correspond to medium-density tissues that are not necessarily mineralized.
Data were collected from panoramic radiographs and the respective reports issued by 2 private oral radiology centers. A total of 388 radiographs and reports were divided into film-based (group A) and digital (group D) radiographs. The frequencies of CCAPs and MLCs were analyzed using the Fisher exact test, and odds ratios were also calculated (α=1%).
The mean age of patients whose reports and radiographs showed CCAPs and/or MLCs ranged from 50.1 to 54.1 years. There was a predominance of females. A higher frequency of CCAPs and MLCs was observed in group D than in group A at both centers (P<0.01). CCAPs and MLCs were detected 4 times more frequently in group D than in group A at one of the centers.
CCAPs and MLCs were more frequently detected on digital than on film-based panoramic radiographs. Further studies are needed to determine whether such radiopacities do indeed correspond to mineralized, rather than medium-density, tissues.


Atherosclerosis; Incidental Findings; Radiography, Panoramic; Radiography, Dental, Digital

MeSH Terms

Incidental Findings
Laryngeal Cartilages*
Odds Ratio
Plaque, Atherosclerotic*
Radiography, Dental, Digital
Radiography, Panoramic


  • Fig. 1 Film-based (A) and digital (B) panoramic radiographs show radiopacities suggestive of mineralized laryngeal cartilages (superior horn of the thyroid cartilage) indicated by white arrows.


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