Aims: The greater palatine artery (GPA) is one of the most important anatomical structure for free gingival grafts or connective-tissue grafts during soft tissue surgery for dental implants. Several studies have identified the approximate location of the GPA, but it is impossible to detect its exact location during surgery due to large variability between individuals. The authors, therefore, investigated the course of the GPA using intraoral ultrasonography to determine the feasibility of using real-time nonionizing ultrasonography for implant surgery. Materials and methods: This study included 40 healthy young participants. The courses of the GPA were identified using intraoral ultrasound probes from the first premolar to the second molar. The distance from the gingival margin to the GPA (GM-GPA) and the depth of the palatal gingiva from the GPA (PG-GPA) were measured by two independent examiners. Measurements were analyzed statistically, and interexaminer reliability was determined. Results: The distance of the GM-GPA and the mean depth of the PG-GPA were 14.8 ± 1.6 mm and 4.10 ± 0.51 mm (mean ± SD), respectively. GM-GPA decreased when the GPA ran from the second molar to the first molar, and GM-GPA was significantly shorter in females (P < 0.05). PG-GPA increased when the GPA ran to the posterior teeth. Interexaminer measurement agreements were excellent, with intraclass correlation coefficient values of 0.983 and 0.918 for GM-GPA and PG-GPA, respectively. Conclusions: Using an intraoral ultrasound probe, real-time GPA tracking is possible, which is expected to help reduce the possibility of bleeding during surgery.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature.
- Gingival thickness
- Greater palatine artery
- Intraoral probe