Home About us Editorial board Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Search Contacts Login 
  • Users Online: 124
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page


 
 Table of Contents  
FORENSIC ODONTOLOGY SECTION: ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 358-361

Nutrient Canals of the Alveolar Process as an Anatomical Feature for Age and Gender Determination


1 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Dental Institute, Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India
2 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, People Dental Academy, Peoples University, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Date of Submission14-Sep-2017
Date of Acceptance30-Jan-2018
Date of Web Publication15-Feb-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Prashant Gupta
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences – Dental Institute, Ranchi, Jharkhand
India
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jiaomr.jiaomr_85_17

Rights and Permissions
   Abstract 

Introduction: Nutrient canals are anatomic structures of the alveolar bone through which neurovascular elements transit to supply teeth and supporting structures. Dental identification using nutrient canal of the mandibular alveolar process as the most compelling anatomic feature for antemortem–postmortem radiographic comparison can be potentially used in forensic identification. Aim: The aim of the present study was to investigate the correlation between the appearance of nutrient canals as a potential clue to age and gender determination. Materials and Methods: One hundred and twenty patients, 60 males and 60 females, were selected in the 11–60-year age group. Systemic disease, especially hypertension, was ruled out in the patients. Periapical radiographs were taken from mandibular anterior cuspid central incisor region because nutrient canals are commonly observed in this area. Data obtained was analyzed by SPSS software and various statistical analysis were carried out. Results: Study revealed nutrient canals to be commonly seen in females compared to males. Males had maximum canals in the age group of 21–30-year whereas females in the age group of 31–40 years had the maximum canals. Conclusion: Significant correlation was seen between the gender and nutrient canals whereas no significant correlation existed between the age and presence of nutrient canals.

Keywords: Intraoral periapical radiograph, mandibular anterior region, nutrient canals


How to cite this article:
Gupta P, Naik SR, Tiwari A, Gupta M. Nutrient Canals of the Alveolar Process as an Anatomical Feature for Age and Gender Determination. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol 2017;29:358-61

How to cite this URL:
Gupta P, Naik SR, Tiwari A, Gupta M. Nutrient Canals of the Alveolar Process as an Anatomical Feature for Age and Gender Determination. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Aug 21];29:358-61. Available from: http://www.jiaomr.in/text.asp?2017/29/4/358/225568




   Introduction Top


Nutrient canals as the name suggests carry vessels and nerves required for tissue growth and repair. They are more commonly seen in the mandibular anterior segment but are also present elsewhere in the jaws. Nutrient canals are the vertical anatomic structures of the alveolar bone through which neurovascular elements transit to supply teeth and supporting structures. They are also called as vascular canals, circulatory canals, or interdental canals.[1] According to literature presence of nutrient canals has been correlated with the presence of pathologic conditions such as periodontal disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, tuberculosis, rickets, calcium deficiency, disuse atropy, and coarctation of aorta. Several studies have found differences in the nutrient canals according to gender as well.[2] A similar radiographic study done on 1040 patients by Bilge et al. found significant correlation between age and the presence of nutrient canals, although no correlation with sex was found.[3] Various factors govern the appearance of nutrient canals such as above average bone density with small diminutive trabecular spaces, thickness of the alveolar bone, quality of both cortical and cancellous bone, and loss of mandibular teeth. Hence, nutrient canals are commonly seen in patients with periodontal disease, older age people, and edentulous patients.[4]

Aims and objectives

Nutrient canals are detected in every radiograph taken from the mandibular anterior region. The anatomy of mandibular anterior region makes it good for visualization. Its prevalence has been correlated commonly with hypertension and diabetes mellitus. This study was done as a research program for fellowship in forensic odontology to correlate the presence of nutrient canals with age and gender, and to establish if nutrient canals can be used as a significant anatomical feature for forensic age and gender determination.


   Materials and Methods Top


This study was a case control study and certain exclusion criteria were set like patients with hypertension, diabetes mellitus, aggressive periodontitis, edentulous patients, periapical pathology, and calcium deficiency. This narrowed the wide availability of sample size. Total 120 samples were studied including 60 males and 60 females who were randomly selected. These patients consented prior to radiographic examination, and an anterior periapical radiograph was obtained by paralleling cone technique, using Kodak E speed films and X-ray unit of 70 kV peak and 10 mA. These were observed by the investigator in an illumination box using a magnifying mirror.

Each radiograph was visualized and counted for the number of nutrient canals in the mandibular anterior region and data was entered as such. Only one examiner counted the number to avoid interobserver variability, and a master chart was prepared. Statistical analysis was done using statistical software statistical package of social sciences (SPSS) version 16.0 IBM, U.S. Chi-square test and degree of freedom was assessed for the presence of nutrient canals.


   Results Top


Results were tabulated and interpreted under the following headings.

Nutrient canals in males and females

The total nutrient canals in both males and females were calculated. A total of 168 canals were visualized. Sixty-seven canals were seen in males whereas 101 canals were seen in females. Females had a higher incidence of nutrient canals compared to males. Among males, 63% exhibited canals and 37% did not show any canals. Among females, 83% showed nutrient canals and 17% did not show any nutrient canals [Table 1].
Table 1: Total NCs observed in males and females

Click here to view


Correlation of nutrient canals in males with age

When the presence of nutrient canals was correlated with age in males, 24 canals were seen in the age group of 21–30 years, 12 canals were seen in the age group of 51–60 years, 9 canals in the age group of 31–40 years, and 8 each in the age group of 41–50 and 61–70 years [Table 2].
Table 2: Age-wise distribution of total nutrient canals in males and females

Click here to view


Correlation of nutrient canals in females with age

Among females, the graph was straighter, and 21 canals were seen in the age group of 31–40 years, 18 in the age group of 21–30 years, 17 in the age group of 51–60 years, and 15 each in the age group of 11–20, 41–50, and 61–70 years [Table 2].

Correlation of total nutrient canals with age

A total of 168 canals were detected in both males and females; 42 canals were seen in the age group of 21–30 years, 30 in the age group of 31–40 years, 29 in the age group of 51–60 years, 23 each in the age groups of 41–50 years and 61–70 years, and 21 in the age group of 11–20 years. The Chi-square value for this correlation was 8.09 with degree of freedom of 5 that gave a P value of 0.151, which was not significant [Table 2].

Correlation of total nutrient canals with age and gender

When the presence of nutrient canals and age and gender together were considered, 11–20-year-old included 6 males and 15 females, 21–30-year-old included 24 males and 18 females, 31–40-year-old included 9 males and 21 females, 41–50-year-old included 8 males and 15 females, 51–60-year-old included 12 males and 17 females, and 61–70-year-old included 8 males and 15 females [Table 2].

Nutrient canals in males and females

A total of 60 males were included in study, 38 had nutrient canals and 22 did not show any nutrient canals. Among 60 females, 50 showed nutrient canals and 10 did not show nutrient canals. The Chi-square value was 6.14 which gave a degree of freedom of 1, with a significant P value of 0.13 [Table 1].

Correlation of presence of nutrient canals in age groups and gender

Curves showing the presence of nutrient canals with age and gender revealed a flatter version for female group when compared to male group whereas in males a peak was seen.


   Discussion Top


Nutrient canals as the name suggests carries nutrients. These are the canals that contains nutrient vessels/blood vessels and nerves. They are not detected in all the radiographs, but mandibular anterior radiographs best visualize the nutrient canals.[2] Nutrient canals are the radiolucent spaces in bone which gives way for blood vessels and nerves that supply the surrounding structures. They were first described by Hirshfeld in 1923 who called them as interdental canals.[5] They are more commonly seen in mandibular anterior region followed by premolar and wall of maxillary sinus.[5] Periapical dental radiograph is the best projection to identify the nutrient canals in the anterior mandible.[6]

It is considered to be normal by few authors and others have correlated its presence to be associated with pathologic conditions such as periodontal diseases, hypertension, diabetes, tuberculosis, rickets, calcium deficiency, disuse atrophy, and coarctation of aorta.[7] Incidence of nutrient canals were found to be more in individuals more than 40 years of age and less in people aged less than 30 years and more than 60 years.[6]

A total of 168 canals were visualized in males and females. Sixty-seven canals were seen in males whereas 101 canals were seen in females [Table 1]. Females had higher incidence of nutrient canals compared to males. Among males, 63% exhibited canals and 37% did not show any canals [Table 1] and [Graph 1]. Among females, 83% showed nutrient canals and 17% did not show any nutrient canals [Table 1] and [Graph 2]. This reveals that nutrient canals could be more commonly seen in females when compared to males; and these results were statistically significant.



When the presence of nutrient canals was correlated with age in males [Table 2] and [Graph 3], 24 canals were seen in the age group of 21–30 years, 12 canals were seen in the age group of 51–60 years, 9 canals in the age group of 31–40 years, and 8 each in the age groups of 41–50 and 61–70 years. Among females [Table 2] and [Graph 4], the graph was straighter, and 21 canals were seen in the age group of 31–40 years, 18 in the age group of 21–30 years, 17 in the age group of 51–60 years, and 15 each in the age groups of 11–20, 41–50, and 61–70 years. However, these findings were not significant. When males and females were compared, females had a straighter graph without much variations between age and presence of nutrient canals. Whereas in males there was a peak at the age of 21–30 years and the rest of the age groups were almost constant [Graph 5].



Of the total 60 males included in the study, 38 had nutrient canals and 22 did not show any nutrient canals. Among 60 females, 50 had shown nutrient canals and 10 did not show nutrient canals [Table 1] and [Graph 6]. The Chi-square value was 6.14 which gave a degree of freedom of 1 with a significant P value of 0.13. This is suggestive of females having more incidences of nutrient canals when compared to males and adds up to the above evidence.



A total of 168 canals were detected in both males and females; 42 canals were seen in the age group of 21–30 years, 30 in the age group of 31–40 years, 29 in the age group of 51–60 years, 23 each in the age groups of 41–50 years and 61–70 years, and 21 in the age group of 11–20 years [Graphs 7] and [Graphs 8]. This data signifies the presence of nutrient canals in the younger age group. The Chi-square value for this correlation was 8.09 with a degree of freedom of 5 that gave a P value of 0.151, which was not significant.




   Conclusion Top


There was a significant correlation between the presence of canals and gender determination, hence, nutrient canals can be used for gender determination. There was no significant correlation between the total number of canals and various age groups. There was no significant correlation between the presence of canals and various age groups. This study was an attempt to trace any correlation between nutrient canals and age and gender determination since radiography of the skull and full mouth radiography is used as a routine protocol for forensic odontology. A much clearer picture could be obtained by using cone beam computed tomography for nutrient canals. This forms a future prospective of the study.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Harorli A, Yilmaz AB, Akgül HM. Interpretation of radiography. Fundamentals of Radiology and Radiodiagnostics in Dentistry. 1st ed. Erzurum: Atatürk University; 2001. p. 217-46.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Abdar-Esfahani M, Mehdizade M. Mandibular anterior nutrient canals in periapical radiography in relation to hypertension. Nephro Urol 2014;6:e15292.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Bilge OM, Harorli AB, Yilmaz AB. Radiographic study of mandibular nutrient canals. Ann Dent 1992;51:17-21.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Kishi K, Nagaoka T, Gotoh T, Imai K, Fujiki Y. Radiographic study of mandibular nutrient canals. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 1982;54:118-22.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Kumar VR, Naik RM, Singh RT, Guruprasad Y. Incidence of nutrient canals in hypertensive patients: A radiographic study. J Nat Sci Bio Med 2014;5:164-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Brit GN. A study of human mandibular nutrient canals. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 1977;44:635-45.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Jaju PP, Suvarna PV, Parikh NJ. Incidence of mandibular canals in hypertensive patients: A radiographic study. Indian J Dent Res 2007;18:181-5.  Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]



 

Top
 
 
  Search
 
Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

   Abstract Introduction Materials and Me... Results Discussion Conclusion Article Tables
  In this article
 References

 Article Access Statistics
    Viewed559    
    Printed2    
    Emailed0    
    PDF Downloaded132    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal


[TAG2]
[TAG3]
[TAG4]