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Volume 8 , Issue 2
Spring 1994

Pages 178-189

Mandibular forces during simulated tooth clenching


PMID: 7920353

Differential, functional loading of the mandibular condyles has been suggested by several human morphologic studies and by animal strain experiments. To describe articular loading and the simultaneous forces on the dental arch, static bites on a three-dimensional finite element model of the human mandible were simulated. Five clenching tasks were modeled: in the intercuspal position; during left lateral group effort; during left lateral group effort with balancing contact; during incisal clenching; and during right molar clenching. The model’s predictions confirmed that the human mandibular condyles are load-bearing, with greater force magnitudes being transmitted bilaterally during intercuspal and incisal clenching, as well as through the balancing-side articulation during unilateral biting. Differential condylar loading depended on the clenching task. Whereas higher forces were found on the lateral and lateroposterior regions of the condyles during intercuspal clenching, the model predicted higher loads on the medial condylar regions during incisal clenching. The inclusion of a balancing-side occlusal contact seemed to decrease the forces on the balancing-side condyle. Whereas the predicted occlusal reaction forces confirmed the lever action of the mandible, the simulated force gradients along the tooth row suggest a complex bending behavior of the jaw.

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