Effect of surgical denervation on orthodontic tooth movement in rats

James R. Miller, Julian E. Davila, James S. Hodges, Michael J Tulkki, Patricia M. Vayda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Introduction: Tooth movement through bone depends on local inflammatory reactions of the dentoalveolar tissues. Mechanical signals cause sensory afferent nerves to liberate inflammatory peptides around the teeth, creating local inflammation. Relationships between neurogenic inflammation and tooth movement are poorly understood. The objective of this study was to measure the differences in orthodontic tooth movement between rats treated with and without surgical transection of the maxillary nerve. Methods: Forty-two Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 3 groups: (1) those with surgical transection of the maxillary nerve, (2) those with sham surgeries, and (3) those without surgery. After a 2-week healing period, a closed-coil spring appliance was activated to produce a 50 g mesial tipping force on the maxillary first molar. Diastema sizes distal to the first molar were measured in triplicate by using vinyl polysiloxane impression material and stone model pour-ups at 14 and 28 days of tooth movement. Images were captured and measured with a charge coupled device (CCD) microscope camera (Leeds Precision, Minneapolis, Minn) and Optimas measurement software (Media Cybernetics, Newburyport, Mass), respectively. Two-way repeated-measures ANOVA was used for statistical analysis. Results: Both weight and diastema size increased for all animals throughout the study. Although there were no significant differences between groups at any time point (log diastema, P = .43), the maxillary nerve transection surgery group had a significantly smaller increase in log diastema from 14 to 28 days than either the sham surgery or the nonsurgery group (P = .045). Conclusions: This study suggests that surgical denervation causes little net effect on orthodontic tooth movement at these force levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)620-626
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2007


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