Edition V15N05 | Year 2010 | Editorial Article | Pages 98 to 108
Objective: To develop and validate a three-dimensional (3D) numerical model of a maxillary central incisor to simulate tooth movement using the Finite Element Method (FEM). Methods: This model encompasses the tooth, alveolar bone and periodontal ligament. It allows the simulation of different tooth movements and the establishment of centers of rotation and resistance. It limits the movement into the periodontal space, recording the direction, quantifying tooth displacement and initial stress in the periodontal ligament. Results: By assessing tooth displacements and the areas that receive initial stress it is possible to determine the different types of tooth movement. Orthodontic forces make it possible to quantify stress magnitude in each tooth area, in the periodontal ligament and in the alveolar bone. Based on the axial stress along the periodontal ligament and the stress in the capillary blood vessel (capillary blood stress) it is theoretically possible to predict the areas where bone remodeling is likely to occur. Conclusions: The model was validated by determining the modulus of elasticity of the periodontal ligament in a manner consistent with experimental data in the literature. The methods used in building the model enabled the creation of a complete model for a dental arch, which allows a number of simulations involving orthodontic mechanics.