Effect of Archwire Stiffness and Friction on Maxillary Posterior Segment Displacement During Anterior Segment Retraction: A Three-Dimensional Finite Element Analysis

Korean J Orthod. 2019 Nov;49(6):393-403. doi: 10.4041/kjod.2019.49.6.393. Epub 2019 Nov 26.


Objective: Sliding mechanics using orthodontic miniscrews is widely used to stabilize the anchorage during extraction space closure. However, previous studies have reported that both posterior segment displacement and anterior segment displacement are possible, depending on the mechanical properties of the archwire. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of archwire stiffness and friction change on the displacement pattern of the maxillary posterior segment during anterior segment retraction with orthodontic miniscrews in sliding mechanics.

Methods: A three-dimensional finite element model was constructed. The retraction point was set at the archwire level between the lateral incisor and canine, and the orthodontic miniscrew was located at a height of 8 mm from the archwire between the second premolar and first molar. Archwire stiffness was simulated with rectangular stainless steel wires and a rigid body was used as a control. Various friction levels were set for the surface contact model. Displacement patterns for the posterior and anterior segments were compared between the conditions.

Results: Both the anterior and posterior segments exhibited backward rotation, regardless of archwire stiffness or friction. Among the conditions tested in this study, the least undesirable rotation was found with low archwire stiffness and low friction.

Conclusions: Posterior segment displacement may be unavoidable but reducing the stiffness and friction of the main archwire may minimize unwanted rotations during extraction space closure.

Keywords: Archwire stiffness; Finite element method; Friction; Orthodontic miniscrews.