Objective: To study dimensional alterations of the alveolar ridge that occurred following tooth extraction as well as processes of bone modelling and remodelling associated with such change.
Material and Methods: Twelve mongrel dogs were included in the study. In both quadrants of the mandible incisions were made in the crevice region of the 3rd and 4th premolars. Minute buccal and lingual full thickness flaps were elevated. The four premolars were hemi-sected. The distal roots were removed. The extraction sites were covered with the mobilized gingival tissue. The extractions of the roots and the sacrifice of the dogs were staggered in such a manner that all dogs contributed with sockets representing 1, 2, 4 and 8 weeks of healing. The animals were sacrificed and tissue blocks containing the extraction socket were dissected, decalcified in EDTA, embedded in paraffin and cut in the buccal–lingual plane. The sections were stained in haematoxyline–eosine and examined in the microscope.
Results: It was demonstrated that marked dimensional alterations occurred during the first 8 weeks following the extraction of mandibular premolars. Thus, in this interval there was a marked osteoclastic activity resulting in resorption of the crestal region of both the buccal and the lingual bone wall. The reduction of the height of the walls was more pronounced at the buccal than at the lingual aspect of the extraction socket. The height reduction was accompanied by a “horizontal” bone loss that was caused by osteoclasts present in lacunae on the surface of both the buccal and the lingual bone wall.
Conclusions: The resorption of the buccal/lingual walls of the extraction site occurred in two overlapping phases. During phase 1, the bundle bone was resorbed and replaced with woven bone. Since the crest of the buccal bone wall was comprised solely of bundle this modelling resulted in substantial vertical reduction of the buccal crest. Phase 2 included resorption that occurred from the outer surfaces of both bone walls. The reason for this additional bone loss is presently not understood.