Anatomy, Head and Neck, Tooth Eruption

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


Tooth eruption is when a developing tooth moves from its initial nonfunctional position within the alveolar bone to its final functional location within the oral cavity. Notably, the term eruption should not be mistaken for emergence, as the latter refers explicitly to the point at which any portion of the tooth's crown becomes visible through the gingiva.

Tooth eruption results from bone remodeling processes involving bone formation and resorption mechanisms. Experimental research has demonstrated that the dental follicle (see Image. Microscopic View of a Tooth Bud) is pivotal in transforming these changes within the alveolar bone. Moreover, the dental follicle gives rise to the periodontal ligament—a structure believed to have a significant role in facilitating tooth eruption during the supraosseous stage.

The phenomenon of bone resorption offers a distinct pathway for the correct emergence and alignment of a developing tooth. The force propelling the tooth toward the occlusal plane along this path is believed to originate from bone apposition occurring apically to the developing tooth. The onset of eruptive movements typically coincides with the initiation of root formation. Root growth is not the primary cause of tooth eruption, although it may have a role in the process. This is evident as teeth can still erupt without fully formed roots.

The periodontal ligament is believed to mediate supraosseous events during tooth eruption. In contrast, intraosseous events, which involve changes within the bone itself, are not directly influenced or regulated by the actions of the periodontal ligament. These events primarily involve bone remodeling mechanisms and the creation of the eruption pathway.

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