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, 94 (6), 520-9

Finite Element Analysis of Mechanism of Cervical Lesion Formation in Simulated Molars During Mastication and Parafunction


Finite Element Analysis of Mechanism of Cervical Lesion Formation in Simulated Molars During Mastication and Parafunction

Beata Dejak et al. J Prosthet Dent.


Statement of problem: The mechanical theory of cervical lesion formation is popular; however, the mechanism of formation of these lesions is not fully explained.

Purpose: The aim of this study was calculation of the stresses and Tsai-Wu strength ratio in the cervical area of the mandibular molar during grinding, clenching, and mastication, as well as theoretical investigation of the mechanism of cervical lesion formation in teeth.

Material and methods: A 2-dimensional finite element model of the mandibular first molar and crown of the opposing maxillary molar in the frontal section was developed. Computational simulation of mastication of a bolus with high elastic modulus, including grinding and clenching, was performed. Pairs of contact elements were used between the bolus and occlusal surfaces of the teeth. The analysis was nonlinear. During these simulations, the pressure exerted on the occlusal surface and the state of stresses in the mandibular molar were calculated. To evaluate the strength of anisotropic tooth tissues, the Tsai-Wu failure criterion was applied. This criterion considers the difference in strength of materials due to tensile, compressive, and shear stresses.

Results: Significant pressures were exerted on lingual cusps of the mandibular molar model during computer simulations of physiological and pathological load. In enamel elements close to the buccal cemento-enamel junction (CEJ) of the studied tooth, tensile stresses were observed which exceeded the strength of the enamel. In this area, the Tsai-Wu strength ratio reached values higher than 1. According to the Tsai-Wu criterion, these elements were damaged and, thus, were removed from the computer tooth model. During subsequent modeling of the tooth with the initiated cervical lesion, the Tsai-Wu ratio exceeded 1 along the dentino-enamel junction (DEJ), creating an overhang of enamel in the cervical area. Application of minimal horizontal force caused a fracture of this fragile, unsupported enamel fragment.

Conclusions: Overloading of theoretical teeth by computer simulation resulted in enamel damage at the CEJ and led to initiation of a cervical lesion. Subsequent overloading resulted in enamel destruction along the DEJ. The overhanging enamel fragment may easily be chipped. This process was repeated during subsequent tooth overloading and caused enlarging of the lesion.

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