Finite element analysis (FEA) was used to generate 3-dimensional models of a human mandible with impacted third molars. The aim was to analyze the effects of removing various amounts of bone around an impacted mandibular third molar and to predict the possibility of iatrogenic fracture. Materials and Methods: Data were acquired from cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scans of a patient using numerically calculated mechanical parameters. Virtual surgery was then performed on the mandibular models, and standardized chewing forces were applied to the resulting simulations. Results: The modelling showed that the highest stress during normal clenching occurred if the surgical procedure involved the external oblique ridge. The peak stress occurred at the site of removal of the third molar, during contralateral loading of the mandible. Discussion: Use of CBCT allowed production of high-quality models of an individual patient and simulation of various surgical scenarios. FEA identified the accumulation of stress and strain at specific parts of the mandible and predicted the responses of bone to mechanical activity. FEA could prove useful to dental practitioners in the future to predict the likelihood of iatrogenic fracture of the jaws after surgical removal of mandibular bone, such as occurs when the third molar is removed. This may allow dentists to change their approach to tooth removal in certain cases.
|Journal||Journal of the Canadian Dental Association|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1 2010|
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