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We discuss in detail the multiphoton absorption theory for wide bandgap dielectrics that we have implemented in the framework of the time-dependent Nth order perturbation theory. In particular, we have carried out calculations on the N-photon absorption coefficient KN and interband transition rate WN for a perfect sapphire crystal (α-Al2O3). Furthermore, we derive an expression on the laser-pulse induced seed electron density n0. Application of this theory on sapphire shows that n0, induced by the ultrashort laser pulse with pulse duration of 30 ps, wavelength of 1 μm, and peak intensity of 5 × 1011W/cm2 at the focus point, cannot lead to multiphoton-based ablation. Indeed, our calculations show that the laser pulse in the N = 7 order absorption process generates a conduction electron density n0 ≈ 6 × 1013 cm-3 that is far too small compared with the required critical density ncr ≈ 1019 - 1021 cm-3. This is in agreement with the extremely small value of the probability (Pind ≈ 2 × 10-9) that we have estimated for a valence electron to be transferred to the conduction band under the influence of the abovementioned laser-pulse conditions. Therefore, we need to seek other mechanisms than multiphoton absorption, to explain ablation in sapphire. However, we show that by using larger photon energies and smaller order N values, it is possible to induce large enough multiphoton absorption excited electron densities, which will lead to ablation in sapphire, even for the abovementioned laser beam intensity. Finally, we discuss the Keldysh adiabatic parameter y and its interpretation in the case of our experimental pulse-laser setup.