Mandibular incisors, alveolar bone, and symphysis after orthodontic treatment a retrospective study

Author(s): Wehrbein H, Bauer W, Diedrich P


The mandible of a deceased 19-year-old young woman who had been treated with an edgewise appliance was removed during autopsy. The overall tooth movements during the 19 months of treatment were reconstructed (treatment documents) and compared with the macroscopic, radiologic, and micromorphologic findings of the incisor/alveolar bone/symphysis complex of the dry mandible. The initial lateral cephalogram revealed an extremely narrow and high symphysis, with an incisor position straight above the thin bone. During treatment, the incisors had been moved to lingual (lingual root torque) and derotated. Morphologic evaluation of the dry mandible revealed lingual (oral) aspects of the roots reaching some millimeters out of the lingual alveolar bone and largely without cortical plate covering. Lateral dental contact radiographs of any bone/incisor segment showed the sagittal alveolar bone width to be smaller than the labiolingual (orobuccal) diameter of the incisor roots. A comparison of the approximate pretherapeutic alveolar bone height, which was assessed by measuring the distance from the cementoenamel junction to the most coronal margin of any root resorption in scanning electron microscopy, with that of the specimen showed a calculated bone loss on the lingual aspect extending from 2.3 to 6.9 mm. On the labial (buccal) aspect, bone loss was far less pronounced. These results suggest that in the case of a narrow and high symphysis, pronounced sagittal incisor movements and derotation during routine orthodontic treatment with a fixed appliance may be critical and lead to progressive bone loss of lingual and labial cortical plates.

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