The alveolar process is a pattern on bones that are involved in bearing teeth. It is a thick ridge like process. It is also referred to as the alveolar bone.
The alveolar process occurs in the mandible and the maxilla since those are the two bones that bear teeth. It is composed of the mineral substance hydroxyapatite which is also the base substance in the enamel of teeth.
The alveolar process on the maxilla is present on the inferior surface and forms the thickes region of the maxilla. Whereas on the mandible the process is on the superior surface.
The alveolar process consists of a bundle bone region that possesses compact bone arrangement. This is called the lamina dura. It lies next to the periodontal ligament that is essential to provide connective fibres that attach a tooth to the alveolar process on the bone. This joint is called the gomphosis. The lamina dura is necessary to root the teeth in the bone via the Sharpey’s fibres. Healthy teeth bear rigid and intact lamina dura. This region is important for remodeling teeth.
The buccinator muscle is present in between the mandible and the maxilla. It remains associated with the alveolar process of both the bones. It is essential for association of the cheek with the teeth during chewing, smiling and whistling.
Fracture of the alveolar process can occur due to an infliction or shift at the site of application of force. The alveolar process/bone of the upper jaw is more susceptible to breakage. A fracture in the alveolar process usually leads to fracture or dislocation of teeth.
The common types of fractures that occur in the alveolar process are partial, part and complete. In the first type the line of fracture occurs along the outer part of the alveolar process outside the compact disc. In the second the line of fracture runs in the form of numerous cracks along the entire area of the alveolar process. In the third there are two vertical lines of fracture connected by a horizontal line along the length of the alveolar process.