The purpose of the current research was to describe the location of mental foramen (MF) through digital panoramic radiographs in a Chilean population sample. A cross sectional study was carried out in which 500 radiographs taken at a university clinic in Temuco, Chile, were analyzed. Exclusion criteria were applied and the radiographs were analyzed by two previously calibrated examiners. The antero-posterior and supero-inferior positions of the MF were established in relation to longitudinal axes of premolars and the height of their apices, respectively. The distances from the center of the MF to the inferior margin of the mandible, the midline and the height of the dental apices were measured. In total, 163 radiographs were analyzed (93 female, 70 male). On both left and right sides, the MF was most commonly found between the longitudinal axes of premolars (58.49 % and 65.43 %) and below of the apices (94.34 % and 95.68 %), with no significant differences for sex and age. On the right side the mean distance to the inferior margin of the mandible (D1) was 11.87±1.46 mm; to the midline (D2) it was 24.46±2.99 mm and to the height of the apices (D3) it was 5.03±8.44 mm. On the left side the same distances were 11.98±1.62 mm, 25.85±2.87 mm and 4.09±2.21 mm respectively. In conclusions, the distances measured from the MF to anatomical landmarks are smaller in women, however significant differences were only found for D1 (right and left sides) and D3 (left side). D2 was the only distance found to diminish with age (left side).
KEY WORDS: Mental Foramen; Digital Panoramic Radiographs; Morphometry; Chilean population; Localization.