Micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) offers significant potential for identifying mineralized structures. However, three-dimensional (3-D) micro-CT of alveolar bone has not been adapted readily for quantification. Moreover, conventional methods are not highly sensitive for analyzing bone loss or bone gain following periodontal disease or reconstructive therapy. The objective of this investigation was to develop a micro-CT methodology for quantifying tooth-supporting alveolar bone in 3-D following experimental preclinical situations of periodontitis or reconstructive therapy.Methods:
Experimental in vivo bone loss or regeneration situations were developed to validate the micro- CT imaging techniques. Twenty mature Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into two groups: bone loss (Porphyromonas gingivalis lipopolysaccharide-mediated bone resorption) and regenerative therapy. Micro-CT and software digitized specimens were reconstructed three-dimensionally for linear and volumetric parameter assessment of alveolar bone (linear bone height, bone volume, bone volume fraction, bone mineral content, and bone mineral density). Intra- and interexaminer reproducibility and reliability were compared for methodology validation.Results:
The results demonstrated high examiner reproducibility for linear and volumetric parameters with high intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and coefficient of variation (CV). The ICC showed that the methodology was highly reliable and reproducible (ICC >0.99; 95% confidence interval, 0.937 to 1.000; CV <1.5%), suggesting that 3-D measurementsmay provide better alveolar bone analysis than conventional 2-D methods.Conclusions:
The developed methods allow for highly accurate and reproducible static measurements of tooth-supporting alveolar bone following preclinical situations of bone destruction or regeneration. Future investigations should focus on using in vivo micro-CT imaging for real-time assessments of alveolar bone changes. J Periodontol 2007;78:273-281.