PURPOSE: This study was performed to investigate the course of the mandibular canal on panoramic radiography and the visibility of this canal on both panoramic radiography and cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT). MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study consisted of panoramic radiographs and CBCT images from 262 patients. The course of the mandibular canal, as seen in panoramic radiographs, was classified into four types: linear, elliptical, spoon-shaped, and turning curves. The visibility of this canal from the first to the third molar region was evaluated by visually determining whether the mandibular canal was clearly visible, probably visible, or invisible. The visibihlity of the canal on panoramic radiographs was compared with that on CBCT images. RESULTS: Elliptical curves were most frequently observed along the course of the mandibular canal. The percentage of clearly visible mandibular canals was the highest among the spoon-shaped curves and the lowest among the linear curves. On panoramic radiographs, invisible mandibular canals were found in 22.7% of the examined sites in the first molar region, 11.8% in the second molar region, and 1.3% in the third molar region. On CBCT cross-sectional images, the mandibular canal was invisible in 8.2% of the examined sites in the first molar region, 5.7% in the second molar region, and 0.2% in the third molar region. CONCLUSION: The visibility of this canal was lower in the first molar region than in the third molar region. The mandibular canal presented better visibility on CBCT images than on panoramic radiographs.