Experimental validation of a finite element model of the temporomandibular joint

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2001 Jul;59(7):775-8. doi: 10.1053/joms.2001.24292.


Purpose: A 2-dimensional finite model of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) was previously developed to provide a way of studying the specific roles of individual components as well as the overall dynamics of joint motion. This study was undertaken to show that the previously reported finite element model provides results that are consistent with the experimentally obtained results.

Materials and methods: The upper compartment of a TMJ of a fresh cadaver specimen was exposed to allow the insertion of a small strip of pressure-sensitive film. Measured loads were applied to the chin and angle of the mandible, pressing the condyle into the glenoid fossa. The resulting stresses in the joint stained the film, providing a way to determine their magnitude. Similar loads were applied to the finite element model and the stresses in the TMJ were mathematically calculated.

Results: Experimental results were successfully obtained in 4 separate attempts, recording maximum stresses of 5.6, 8.6, 6.4, and 9.9 MPa (megapascals), respectively. The corresponding finite element model predictions were 7.3, 6.9, 6.4, and 8.2 MPa, respectively.

Conclusions: This study indicates that the results of the previously reported finite element model of the TMJ provide a reasonable approximation of the actual physical situation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cadaver
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Finite Element Analysis*
  • Humans
  • Mandibular Condyle / physiology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Pressure
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Temporal Bone / physiology
  • Temporomandibular Joint / physiology*
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disc / physiology