Secondary retention of permanent molars: an assessment of ankylosis by scanning electron and light microscopy.
Secondary retention refers to the cessation of eruption of a tooth after emergence. This may be the result of pathological changes in the periodontal ligament. The aim of this study was to describe the morphological and histological aspects of the radicular surface of secondarily retained permanent molars. The roots of 12 secondarily retained molars and two control molars, were examined by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and light microscopy (LM) in order to analyse the occurrence and localisation of ankylosis. With SEM it was observed that the root surface of retained molars showed local areas covered with bonelike tissue. LM of these areas showed that this tissue was bone in direct contact with the root surface (ankylosis). In 11 cases, the areas of ankylosis were observed in the bifurcation area and at the interradicular root surface. In the remaining case, ankylosis was located at the outer root surface. The results of this study endorse the assumption that focal ankylosis is an important factor in secondary retention. Treatment recommendations must be based on this fundamental principle, because orthodontic movement of ankylotic molars is not possible.
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