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J Periodontol. 1992 Apr;63(4):290-6.

Tooth morphology following root resection procedures in maxillary first molars.

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Department of Periodontology and Oral Biology, Boston University, Henry, MA.


The Disto-Buccal root is the most commonly resected root in maxillary molars. This root resection procedure results in a unique environment dictated by the contours of the remaining roots and the residual furcation between them. Tooth morphology was evaluated in 50 extracted maxillary first molars after disto-buccal root resection. The following measurements were studied: 1) The maximum concavity (D) on the distal aspect of the resected molar; 2) the minimum mesio-distal dimension (d) of tooth structure between the two remaining roots; 3) the width (s) of the residual interradicular septum; and 4) the distance (p) from the pulp chamber floor to the root separation on the distal aspect of the resected molar. The mean measurements were (D) = 2.47 mm, (d) = 3.67 mm, (s) = 3.33 mm and (p) = 2.70 mm. The value of (p) was equal to or less than 3 mm in 86% of the teeth; this means that the distance from the finish line to the interradicular osseous peak is less than 2.04 mm (average biologic width), if the finish line is placed on solid tooth structure about 1 mm below the pulp floor. Six percent of the resected molars had an overall topography easily amenable to periodontal maintenance and restorative procedures with (D) less than 2 mm, (d) greater than 3 mm, (s) greater than 3 mm, and (p) greater than 3 mm. Poor root anatomy of the remaining roots after removal of the disto-buccal root in maxillary first molars may be considered as a contraindication for root resection procedures. Unfortunately, this poor topography can be ascertained only during the surgery and after removal of the disto-buccal root.

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