Chronic Inflammation on the Right Side of the Maxilla

preoperative periapical radiographs
The following Case Challenge is provided in conjunction with the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.

This case challenge presents a patient with a problem that has been unresolved for 18 years.

A 30-year old male was referred by a dental practitioner to the Department of Oral Radiology at the University of Lund, Sweden, for a radiological evaluation of chronic symptoms of inflammation on the right side of the maxilla. According to the patient, at age 12 he had surgery to remove a non-erupted maxillary right second premolar. Postoperatively, a draining sinus tract appeared on the buccal aspect of the alveolar process. Thirteen years later, at age 25, surgery was again performed and the sinus tract reappeared. Intermittent discharge of exudate from the sinus tract occurred since the second surgery.

Clinical and radiological examinations were conducted prior to a third surgery. The clinical examination revealed pus draining from the tract located on the buccal aspect of the alveolar process between the right maxillary first molar and first premolar. The radiological examination included periapical radiographs of the right maxillary first premolar and canine, a panoramic radiograph, and frontal tomograms of the maxillary right premolar area.

After you have finished reviewing the available diagnostic information, make the diagnosis.