The alveolar process following single-tooth extraction: a study of maxillary incisor and premolar sites in man

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The present investigation was performed to determine some dimensional alterations that occur in the alveolar process of the incisor and premolar sites of the maxilla following tooth removal.

Material and methods:

Computer-assisted cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scans were obtained from the maxilla using an iCAT unit, and involved edentulous and contralateral tooth sites. For each site included in the study, parasagittal and axial reconstructions, 1 mm apart, were made and measurements of different variables (cross-sectional area, height, and width) performed.


The study involved 69 subjects and disclosed that the cross-sectional area and the height and width of the alveolar process of the lateral incisor site were the smallest and those of the second premolar the largest. All parameters had been significantly reduced after the completion of the ≥1 year of healing. Thus, the overall (i) cross-sectional area was reduced from 99.1 to 65.0 mm2, (ii) the height from 11.5 to 9.5 mm, and (iii) the width from 8.5 to 3.2 mm (marginal 1/3rd), 8.9 to 4.8 mm (middle portion), and 9.0 to 5.7 mm (apical portion).


The removal of single tooth caused marked hard tissue diminution. The loss of hard tissue was most pronounced in the buccal and marginal portions of the edentulous ridge that in most sites had acquired a triangular shape.

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