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Quintessence Publishing: Journals: JCD

 

International Journal of Computerized Dentistry

Edited by B. Reiss, K. Wiedhahn, and O. Schenk

Official publication of the International Society of Computerized Dentistry

ISSN 1463-4201

Publication:

Fall 2008
Volume 11 , Issue 3

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Mandibular Finite Element Simulation as a Tool for Trauma Surgery

Kober, C. / Stübinger, s. / Hellmich, C. / Sader, R. / Zeilhofer, H.-F.

Pages: 175 - 181

Purpose: Despite remarkable progress within the last decade, the treatment of mandibular fractures is still a highly discussed topic in oral and cranio-maxillofacial surgery. The possible traumatologic scenarios are characterized by high variability. A current project is focused on esimulation of traumatologic cases given by clinical radiographs by means of finite element method. Methods: The applied finite element model of the mandible is very refined, providing detailed dental anatomy especially of the periodontal ligament. The mandible was modelled as inhomogeneous and anisotropic. The temporomandibular joints were realized as simplified joint capsules, wherein the mandibular condyles are freely mobile with certain limitations. The user has the choice of 5 regions on the mandibular surface where the virtual injury can be inflicted. Power and direction of the impact force vector can be set at will. The masticatoy system including the digastrics and the mylohyoid muscles can be activated. Results: The situations given by radiographs could be eproduced by a simulation scenario characterized by high compressive strain at the location of fractures. If masticatory muscles were activated and teeth clenched, the stress/strain profiles were qualitatively changed. Discussion: The approach may be of benefit for optimized behavior with regard to certain sports or vocations. For forensic analysis, the method will contribute by elimination of scenarios not matching the given fracture locations. Nevertheless, the immediate purpose of our approach is a better understanding of the injured organ’s condition. Fractures of bone as an adaptive biological tissue differ fundamentally from mechanical failure in engineering. Many of our trauma simulations showed elevated stress/strain around the fracture, leading to the suggestion of weakened bone there. This finding was confirmed by surgical observation.

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