Fracture Prediction with Dental X-Rays

It is very difficult to predict when accidents or injuries will happen – especially if a person is not known to be exposed to the risk factors that can cause accidents or injuries, such as engaging in contact sports, or having a job that is exposed to dangerous situations on a regular basis. But what if the possibility of fractures can be predicted with the help of dental x-rays? The University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy’s researchers have recently reported that the structure of the jaw bone can now be investigated to check on the possibility of fractures happening in the future – even in other parts of the patient’s body. The dental x-rays of a patient’s lower jaw bone structure can indicate whether a patient has a greater risk of having fractures. This research involved 731 women, whose jaw bone structures have been checked and examined on a number of occasions since 1968 – when their ages were between 38-60 years old. The results of the x-ray images of the jaw bones of these women were scrutinised in detail in 1968, and then again in 1980; the results were then related to the occurrence of subsequent fractures. For the first 12 years, follow-up examinations revealed the occurrence of the fractures to the women included in the research; however the medical registers started identifying the fractures starting in the 1980s, when this identification possibility arose. There were a total of 222 fractures that were properly identified during the whole observation period. This particular research also shows that lower jaw bone structures that seem to be weak (as seen in the X-rays), poses the possibility of greater risk of fractures for the patient. The study can help dentists and doctors in educating patients of their risk factors when it comes to fractures, so that they can do the necessary steps to keep themselves as far away from harm as possible. Source :