Background: The knowledge of the position of the mental foramen (MF) is important for administrating local anaesthesia for diagnostic, surgical or operative procedures.
Aims: To determine the shape, position, symmetry of MF and its continuity with the inferior dental canal (IDC) on a digital panoramic view and to find its correlation with Angle’s molar relations in three Indian subpopulations. The study also determines the correlation of inter-foramen distance in both the genders of three Indian subpopulations.
Subjects and Methods: One hundred and twenty digital panoramic radiographs were evaluated from three Indian subpopulations (Punjab, Rajasthan and Northeast [NE]). The assessment of occlusion was based on Angle’s molar relationships. The data obtained were statistically analysed.
Results: The commonest position of MF in Rajasthan and NE populations was position 4 bilaterally while in the Punjab population, it was position 3 on the right and position 4 on the left side. The majority of the MF was round in shape followed by oval. The mean distance between two MF was highest among the Punjab male population and least among the NE female population. The most frequent pattern of MF continuity with IDC was diffuse in Rajasthan population, separated in NE and continuous in Punjab. Correlation between Angle’s molar relation with the MF position was significant for Classes I and II but not for Class III. Correlation of inter-foramen distance between genders was highly significant in the NE and Punjab populations.
Conclusion: The commonest MF position was aligned with the 1st premolar and between the 1st and 2nd premolar.