The present study was aimed to investigate the effects of latency period on alveolar ridge distraction using the intraoral distraction device. Nine adult mongrel dogs of either sex, weighing about 15kg, were used. They were divided into 3-day, 5-day, and 7-day groups according to the latency period. The left upper and lower premolars and first molars were extracted. Twelve weeks after the extraction, an osteotomy was performed and the distraction device was applied. After the latency period, the distraction was applied at a rate of 1.2mm for 8 days. The distraction device was left in place for 2 weeks to allow consolidation and was then removed. The animals were sacrified at 8 weeks after completion of distraction and were examined macroscopically, radiographically, and histologically. After completion of the distraction, the alveolar crest protruded prominently, showing the vertical augmentation of the alveolar bone. Soft tissues were broken down after the 6th day of distraction in 3-day latency group, and premature union occurred on the 7th day of distraction in the 7-day latency group. The average distance was 9.40+/-0.3mm in 3-day latency group, 9.35+/-0.1mm in 5-day latency group, and 8.85+/-0.1mm in 7-day latency group. In the radiograph taken at 8 weeks after distraction, there was slight bone resorption around the medial and distal edges of the alveolar bone segment, and a new bone deposition was observed in the neighboring alveolar crest area in all groups. Fibrous tissues were present in a part of the buccal cortical bone area of the distraction gap, and the woven and lamellar bones were observed in the distracted gap. There were bony bridges in the distraction gap in all animals examined. These results suggest that optimal time of latency period on alveolar ridge distraction using the intraoral distraction device is about 5 days in dogs, and about 7days in human beings.