Case of the Week: Rarefying osteitis

This week I am showing a case of rarefying osteitis, specifically a lateral rarefying osteitis.  Rarefying osteitis is a term describing loss of bone due to inflammation.  When associated with a tooth it applies to three histopathological entities; an abscess, a cyst (radicular), and/or a granuloma.  Any of these three entities or a combination of them produces the bone loss that is visible on radiographs as rarefying osteitis.  Lateral rarefying osteitis is when the loss of bone is on the the lateral aspect of a tooth and most commonly associated with a lateral canal.  This is a case of lateral rarefying osteitis on a maxillary canal.  Note the well-defined radiolucent area near the apex on the mesial aspect.

For more radiographic examples of rarefying osteitis and it is commonly described on radiographs check out my page on rarefying osteitis.