Differential alveolar bone modeling after orthodontic retraction

Chooryung J. Chung, Woowon Jang, Christian Piers, Dong Won Lee, Soonshin Hwang, Kyung Ho Kim, William R. Proffit, Tung Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Distinct, irregular, and hard nodular protuberances similar to the morphologic features of exostoses can occasionally be noted on the labial surface of the alveolar bone after orthodontic retraction of anterior teeth in adults. These have long been believed to be exostoses developed in response to loading. However, specific characterization of this phenomenon has not been documented. Case Descriptions: Three cases of patients displaying multiple irregular labial bony protuberances after retraction of anterior teeth are reported. These protuberances appeared during retraction and became more prominent with additional retraction. Serial clinical photographs, lateral cephalograms, digital models, and cone-beam computed tomography scans were evaluated. On the basis of 3-dimensional superimpositions of digital models and cone-beam computed tomographic scans, the irregular protuberances appear to be the result of differential alveolar bone modeling, with more resorption of bone covering the tooth root than that of interdental bone, and not of true bone overgrowth or deposition (that is, exostoses). Conclusion and Practical Implications: Orthodontic patients often seek treatment to improve occlusion as well as esthetics. Although this study shows that these protuberances are the result of differential modeling, they may still be perceived by patients as “outgrowths,” which may cause concerns related to esthetics or comfort. Clinicians should note that these protuberances are a possible outcome when large amounts of bodily retraction and root movement of anterior teeth are planned. Patients who experience psychosocial problems with this phenomenon may be candidates for alveoloplasty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-320
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Dental Association

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Dentistry


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