In oral surgery, and oral pathology in particular, most of the lesions and shadows that can be seen on an x-ray are named using words that describe the lesion’s appearance and location. For example, the part of the jawbone that can be seen between the teeth on an x-ray is described as “interradicular”, and the presence of a dark shadow on an x-ray is described as a “radiolucency”. Together, these words represent the way in which your oral surgeon and your dentist can communicate about the presence of a dark shadow between the roots of the teeth.
The term interradicular radiolucency does not differentiate between a healthy and an unhealthy lesion, but it does help to describe the relative location of the lesion and also its appearance. Using that descriptive name as a starting point, your oral surgeon can further investigate the health of the lesion, often without the need for oral surgery.
There are a number of dark shadows between the roots of the teeth that are considered normal or anatomic. These are dark shadows that are part of a healthy jawbone. This includes:
- Primary tooth crypts (the space where a new tooth will develop in a small child)
- Mental and Incisive Foramen (a small opening that allows the nerve to enter and exit the upper and lower jaw)
- Maxillary Sinus (a hollow space in the upper jaw that can sometimes extend into the space between the roots of the upper teeth)
- Bone Marrow Patterns and Nutrient Canals (Normal patterns in the jawbone that may be more prominent or obvious in some individuals than others)
Occasionally, there are interradicular radiolucencies that represent an unhealthy health condition. Areas of bone loss or periodontal pockets between the teeth will appear as dark shadows on an x-ray. Several varieties of cysts and tumors are also categorized as interradicular radiolucencies, and many of these lesions are benign in nature. These lesions tend to have smooth, regularly shaped borders, while a malignant or cancerous lesion tends to have poorly-defined borders.
For an in-depth explanation of the interradicular radiolucencies that may be seen on your own x-rays, please call ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000 to schedule an appointment today.