The aim of this ex vivo study was to compare the diagnostic performances of panoramic radiography and cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) in detecting implant-related injuries of the inferior alveolar canal. Monocortical bone windows were created in 60 fresh sheep hemimandibles, the inferior alveolar canals were revealed and 120 dental implants were inserted. Three types of injuries, described as pilot drill damage (PDRILL), collapsing of the superior border of the canal (COLL), penetration of the implant tip into the canal (PENET) and one control group were simulated. Standard (PANO) and dentition mode panoramic (PANO-DENT) images as well as CBCT data presented as multiplanar reconstruction (MPR) and cross-sectional (CROSS) views were evaluated by six observers who had also expressed their level of confidence to their final diagnosis. Intra- and inter-observer agreement scores were rated good. The area under the curve (AUC) values and the confidence scores for CROSS and MPR views were both significantly higher than those of PANO and PANO-DENT (P < .05 for each) in PDRILL group. In COLL group, observers showed less confidence to PANO and PANO-DENT compared to CROSS and MPR techniques (P < .05 for each). No other significant differences were found. Within the limits of this experimental study, it can be suggested that the standard and dentition modes of panoramic radiography can be as effective as CBCT in the detection of penetrating and collapsing injuries, but multiplanar and cross-sectional views of the CBCT are more accurate than panoramic radiography in the detection of pilot drill injuries in sheep mandible.

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