Purpose: The aim of this study was to measure vertical masticatory forces in vivo using a method that should be insensitive to the location of bite force impact. Materials and Methods: Two exchangeable implant abutments were equipped with strain gauges. In nine patients, the abutments were attached to implants supporting three-unit fixed partial dentures (FPD) in one mandibular chewing center. The signals of the two abutments were summed to give a force reading that was independent of the location of force impact along the FPD. In two subjects, an additional strain gauge was fixed under the pontic. With both setups, masticatory forces were measured in chewing of winegum. Results: Total masticatory force displayed by the sum signal proved to be independent of the site of force application. Pontic strain gauges indicated only 42% or 84% of the force measured simultaneously by the corresponding sum signal of the abutments. In all nine patients, a mean total masticatory force of 220 N, with a maximum of 450 N, was found. The single abutments experienced mean loads of 91 N (anterior) and 129 N (posterior),
with a maximum of 314 N. Conclusion: Measuring chewing force via bending of a pontic involves the risk of underestimation. Masticatory forces obtained with a method that was insensitive to the site of force application were higher than forces found with some other setups. Int J Prosthodont 2002;15:20–27.