Objective: We experimentally compared the effects of compressive and tractional mechanical stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) of rabbits to assess the etiology of progressive condylar resorption. Materials and Methods: We performed a cortical osteotomy using custom-made devices that were lengthened by 0.25 mm every 12 h for 1 week after surgery. During this time, the rabbit TMJ was under compressive or tractional mechanical stress. The samples in each group were examined using micro-computed tomography and histological staining. Results: Scores for the area of bone resorption were higher in the compressive group than in the tractional group. Moreover, scores for the depth of bone resorption were higher in the compressive group than those in the tractional group. We observed a significantly higher prevalence of resorption in the subcondylar bone in the compressive group than in the tractional group. There were substantially more cells that were positive for tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase in the compressive group than in the control and tractional groups. Conclusions: The outcomes here suggest that excessive mechanical stress, particularly compressive mechanical stress, may significantly affect morphological bone change findings in the TMJ.
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