Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 553–561 | Cite as

Evaluation of a possible association between a history of dentoalveolar injury and the shape and size of the nasopalatine canal

  • Valerie G. A. Suter
  • Reinhilde Jacobs
  • Marcia R. Brücker
  • Alberto Furher
  • Jim Frank
  • Thomas von Arx
  • Michael M. BornsteinEmail author
Original Article



Maxillary incisors (MI) are often affected by dentoalveolar injury resulting in tooth devitalization and apical periodontitis. The aim of the present study was to analyze any association between a history of dentoalveolar injury and the shape and size of the nasopalatine canal (NC) using cone beam computed tomography (CBCT).

Material and methods

Patients were allocated to the trauma group if they had a history of dentoalveolar injury and a root filling in at least one MI and/or one missing MI. As controls, 100 matched-controlled (age and gender) patients were selected. NC dimensions including length, width at midway, and diameter of incisal and nasal foramen were measured in sagittal and axial CBCT planes. Furthermore, an evaluation of NC bulging signs, apical osteolysis of MI, and its fusion with NC was performed.


In the trauma group (n = 96), 31.3 % had at least one missing MI, and 95.8 % had a root filling in a MI. The antero-posterior dimension of the incisive foramen (p = 0.02) and of the NC at midway (p = 0.04) was significantly larger in the trauma group. Significantly more cases with a bulging sign were found in the trauma (n = 19) than in the control group (n = 3, p = 0.001). An apical osteolysis was identified in 5.1 % of MI, and 12/38 did show a fusion with the NC.


Wider dimensions of the NC and a bulging sign may suggest a former dentoalveolar injury to the anterior maxilla. Periapical osteolysis of central MI over 5 mm in diameter tends to fuse with the NC.

Clinical relevance

In patients with a history of dentoalveolar injury and/or apical periodontitis, the NC should be evaluated on available CBCT images. Any inflammatory processes in the neighboring teeth should be recognized and eliminated as they may initiate bulging of the NC and/or the formation of a nasopalatine duct cyst (NPDC). NC with bulging signs should be monitored clinically and radiographically to diagnose a NPDC in an early stage.


Anterior maxilla Nasopalatine canal Incisive canal Incisive foramen Periapical lesion Cone beam computed tomography Dentoalveolar injury 



The authors thank Mr. Lukas Martig, Institute of Mathematical Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Bern, for his assistance during the statistical analysis and Mrs. Bernadette Rawyler, medical illustrator, School of Dental Medicine, University of Bern, for the preparation of Figs. 1, 2, and 4.

Ethical approval

The study protocol was submitted and reviewed by the local ethical committee of the University Hospitals Leuven (S57587) but was exempt from formal approval due to its retrospective nature.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valerie G. A. Suter
    • 1
  • Reinhilde Jacobs
    • 2
  • Marcia R. Brücker
    • 3
  • Alberto Furher
    • 2
  • Jim Frank
    • 2
    • 4
  • Thomas von Arx
    • 1
  • Michael M. Bornstein
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Oral Surgery and Stomatology, School of Dental MedicineUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.OMFS IMPATH Research Group, Department of Imaging and Pathology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Radiologic Center, School of DentistryPontifical Catholic UniversityPorto AlegreBrazil
  4. 4.Department of Oral Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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