Three-dimensional modelling and finite element analysis of the human mandible during clenching

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Journal Article
Australian Dental Journal, 2005, 50 (1), pp. 42 - 48
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Background: Until recently, very few papers have been published concerning the development, analysis and experimental verification of three-dimensional, finite element modelling of the human adult edentulous mandible. The purpose of this study was to improve the method of modelling by using computer-aided engineering (CAE) and computer-aided design (CAD) methods and to utilize the model in analyzing maxillofacial problems. Methods: The model geometry was derived from position measurements taken from 28 diamond blade cut cross-sections of an average size human adult edentulous mandible and generated using a special sequencing method. Data on anatomical, structural, functional aspects and material properties were obtained from measurements and published data. The materials were idealized as transversely isotropic. The complete model consisted of 258 solid elements and 1635 nodes. Results: The model was solved for displacements and stresses during clenching. In general, the observed displacement and stresses (tensile and compressive) were highest around the condylar region. Compressive stress was also observed around the premolar and molar bite points. Conclusion: This investigation has shown that the use of computer-aided modelling in conjunction with the finite element analysis could be effectively utilized in biomechanical analysis of the mandible. It could help to investigate many functional problems and could reduce the time of extensive experimentations.
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