An In Vitro Study of Implant-Tooth-Supported Connections Using a Robot Test System

[+] Author and Article Information
L. Wang

Center for Robotics and Manufacturing Systems, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508

J. P. Sadler

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506

L. C. Breeding

Department of Oral Health Practice, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506

D. L. Dixon

Department of Restorative Dentistry, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL 35294

J Biomech Eng 121(3), 290-297 (Jun 01, 1999) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2798322 History: Received September 18, 1997; Revised December 14, 1998; Online October 30, 2007


Many unsolved problems in dental implant research concern the interfacial stress distributions between the implant components, as well as between the implant surface and contacting bone. To obtain a mechanical understanding of how vertical and horizontal occlusal forces are distributed in this context, it is crucial to develop in vitro testing systems to measure the force transmission between dental implants and attached prostheses. A new approach to such testing, involving a robotic system, is described in this investigation. The system has been designed to produce simulated mandibular movements and occlusal contact forces so that various implant designs and procedures can be thoroughly tested and evaluated before animal testing or human clinical trials. Two commonly used fixed prosthesis designs used to connect an implant and a tooth, a rigid connection and a nonrigid connection, were fabricated and used for experimental verification. The displacement and force distributions generated during simulated chewing activities were measured in vitro. Force levels, potentially harmful to human bone surrounding the connected dental implant and tooth, were analyzed. These results are useful in the design of prostheses and connecting components that will reduce failures and limit stress transfer to the implant/bone interface.

Copyright © 1999 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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