Vestibular Surgical Access to the Palatine Root of the Superior First Molar: “Low-dose Cone-beam” CT Analysis of the Pathway and its Anatomic Variations

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Apicoectomy of the superior first molar palatine root until recently involved relatively destructive and laborious surgery because of the palatal access route, which not only necessitates an extensive flap, but also the readying of procedures required to deal with a possible hemorrhage from the palatine artery. With the advent of operative microscopy, endodontic surgery has become more precise and less invasive and its technical potential has increased; a possible innovative surgical technique may entail vestibular root access. The possibility of using low-dose, low-cost computed tomography (CT) dedicated to the jaw to obtain anatomic information to plan apicoectomy via the vestibular approach was evaluated; 31 patients were referred to CT with the NewTom apparatus. In 43 superior first molars, the mean distance of the palatine root from the external vestibular cortex was measured, and the frequency that the maxillary sinus lateral recess lay between the roots was determined. The mean root apex-vestibular cortex distance was 9.73 mm. In 25% of cases the maxillary sinus recessus lay between vestibular and palatine roots. CT may play an important role in optimizing palatine root apicoectomy through vestibular access, with regard to precision and preventing complications, with relatively low biological and economic cost, also possibly contributing to the affirmation of this new surgical procedure.

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