The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of dexamethasone after delayed tooth replantation with specific regard to root resorption and ankylosis. In addition, the study was planned to elucidate further the usefulness of the model. Fifty-two maxillary first molar teeth were extracted from 26 Sprague-Dawley white female rats fed 0.4% β-aminoproprionitrile for 3 days to facilitate the extraction. After extraction, the mesiobuccal root canals were endodontically treated under a microscope to prevent subsequent inflammatory resorption of pulpal origin and were assigned to three groups. Teeth in group 1, the dexamethasone group (n = 22), were demineralized in citric acid (1 min), washed, soaked in 1000 nM dexamethasone solution (3 min), air-dried, and replanted in the original sockets. Total extraoral treatment time for each tooth was controlled to 30 min. Teeth in group 2, the dried-only group (n = 22), were air-dried for 30 min after obturation without any surface treatment and replanted. Teeth in group 3, the immediate group (n = 8), were extracted, not root-filled and replanted immediately into their sockets. All experimental animals were killed at 3 weeks after replantation and evaluated histologically. Forty-three of the 52 teeth were available for histological interpretation. They consisted of six immediate, 18 dried-only, and 19 dexamethasone-treated teeth. The degree of progressive root resorption was significantly less in the dexamethasone-treated group than in the dried-only group (p < 0.05). The dexamethasone-treated group exhibited significantly more bone ankylosis than the dried-only group (p < 0.05). These results indicate that the topical use of dexamethasone may be of value in reducing the degree or rate of progressive root resorption secondary to traumatic avulsion and that the rat is a reasonable model for tooth replantation.
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