There is no available data on the occurrence rate of a converged alveolar canal, the detailed three-dimensional (3D) courses of alveolar canals/grooves (ACGs), or the contribution of each superior alveolar nerve to each area in the maxilla. This study aimed to clarify the 3D courses of ACGs, the relationship between ACGs and superior alveolar nerves, and the contribution of posterior superior alveolar nerves (PSANs) using computed tomography (CT) with histological analysis.
During the gross anatomy course at Niigata University, we investigated nine human cadavers.
All anterior and posterior ACGs converged into the common alveolar canal, which contained blood vessels and several nerve bundles surrounded by perineurium, located at the nasal floor near the pyriform aperture. Histometrical analysis clarified that 16.3% of the nerve bundles in this canal were derived from PSANs, and 67% of the bundles were dispersed while they coursed down to the nasal floor. There seems to be no relationship between the density of nerve bundles in the canal and the number of remaining anterior teeth.
Data obtained from observing the detailed 3D courses of anterior and posterior ACGs, and their relationship with superior alveolar nerves, suggest that PSANs partially contribute to the nociception of the anterior teeth.