The aim was to explore the relation between radiographic bone quality on panoramic radiographs and relative alveolar bone level. Digital panoramic radiographs of 94 female patients were analysed (mean age, 44.5; range, 35-74). Radiographic density of the alveolar bone in the premolar region was determined using Agfa Musica(R) software. Alveolar bone level and bone quality index (BQI) were also assessed. Relationships between bone density and BQI on one hand and the relative loss of alveolar bone level on the other were assessed. Mandibular bone density and loss of alveolar bone level were weakly but significantly negatively correlated for the lower premolar area (r = -.27). The BQI did not show a statistically significant relation to alveolar bone level. Radiographic mandibular bone density on panoramic radiographs shows a weak but significant relation to alveolar bone level, with more periodontal breakdown for less dense alveolar bone.