JOURNAL ARTICLE

Quantitative evaluation of maxillary alveolar cortical bone thickness and density using computed tomography imaging

Henry Ohiomoba, Andrew Sonis, Alfa Yansane, Bernard Friedland
American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics 2017, 151 (1): 82-91
28024789

INTRODUCTION: Primary stability is essential to the success of orthodontic mini-implants (OMIs) and heavily depends on the mechanical retention between OMIs and their supporting bone. Alveolar cortical bone commonly serves as the supporting bone for OMIs during treatment. The purposes of this study were to characterize alveolar cortical bone thickness and density in the maxilla and to explore patient factors that may significantly affect these bone properties.

METHODS: Sixty medical computed tomography scans of the maxilla were analyzed from a selected sample of patients seen at the Radiology Department of Boston Children's Hospital. Interradicular alveolar bone thickness and density were measured at 2, 4, 6, and 8 mm from the buccal and palatal alveolar bone crests using the Synapse 3D software (version 4.1; FUJIFILM Medical Systems USA, Stamford, Conn). Analyses were conducted with STATA /1C (version 12.0 for Windows; StataCorp, College Station, Tex) using multivariate mixed-effects regression models and paired t tests.

RESULTS: Mean age and body mass index of the study sample were 17.88 years and 22.94 kg/m2 , respectively. Cortical bone density and thickness significantly increased from the coronal (2 mm) to the apical (8 mm) regions of the alveolar bone (P <0.05). At 8 mm from the alveolar crest, interradicular buccal cortical bone was thickest (1 mm) and densest (1395 Hounsfield units) between the first and second molars. On the palatal side, the thickest bone (1.15 mm) was found between the canine and first premolar; it was similarly densest (1406 Hounsfield units) between the first premolar and canine, and between the first premolar and second premolar interradicular bones. On average, palatal cortical bone was thicker and denser compared with buccal; this difference was statistically significant (P <0.01) in the anterior and middle maxilla, with the anterior maxillary region showing the greatest difference. Female subjects have significantly denser bone compared with male subjects; however, sex is not significantly associated with bone thickness. Body mass index and age are positively associated with bone thickness and density. Radiologic absence of bone was more commonly seen in the anterior maxilla.

CONCLUSIONS: Alveolar bone properties vary in the maxilla in patterns that could guide clinicians in selecting sites best suited for placement of OMIs.

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