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Radiology/MRI/panoramic dental xray in detecting jaw issues


Hello.  I have had ongoing fullness and pain in my right ear & neck.  My ENT sent me for a MRI of the orbit/face/neck.  With the exception of small volume right mastoid disease the report listed all areas as unremarkable & could not find a cause for the pain.  I am still having pain in the same areas but now I am experiencing tingling in my lips that occasionally spreads to my right cheek.  My questions are: 1) would the MRI have detected any problems (i.e. Tumor or cyst) in my jaw and 2) would a panoramic dental xray be sufficient for detecting problems with my jaw?  

Thank you in advance for your assistance.


I am sorry for the delay...just got too busy with life.

Re MRI detection of the lesions in the jaw: well that depends if the protocol that technologists used included the lower jaw (mandible). by the description (orbit/face/neck) it should include that and more. It would definitely show masses or cysts.

Re panoramic xray: these are pretty much useless for any significant pathology.  yes they may show some cyst but really these are used by dentists for dental carries...and that is what they are good for.

One thought that I had reading about your symptoms is what is called trigeminal neuralgia.  It is basically some benign form of inflammation of the trigeminal nerve that begins in the brain.  Most of the time, the cause for it remains unknown but some times it may be caused by vascular compression.  Basically, it means that right near the nerve there is a normal arterial vessel and because the vessels pulsates it sometimes irritates the nerve.  The MRI that you had should show be able to identify if you do have a vessel next to your nerve...but depending on how thick each image is on that MRI, you may need a different MRI with thinner slices to catch that relationship.  I would see a neurologist.

Hope this is helpful.



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Michael K.


Almost any kind of questions regarding any types of radiology exams, procedures, meaning of radiology reports etc...


12 year experience in the field of radiology

American Society of Neuroradiology, Senior Member Society of Pediatric Radiology, Active Member

Radiology Seminars in pediatric neurology American Journal of Roentgenology American Journal of Neuroradiology

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