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The biomechanical function of periodontal ligament fibres in orthodontic tooth movement

McCormack, Steven W.; Witzel, Ulrich; Watson, Peter J.; Fagan, Michael J.; Gröning, Flora


Steven W. McCormack

Ulrich Witzel

Peter J. Watson

Michael J. Fagan

Flora Gröning


Sudha Agarwal


Orthodontic tooth movement occurs as a result of resorption and formation of the alveolar bone due to an applied load, but the stimulus responsible for triggering orthodontic tooth movement remains the subject of debate. It has been suggested that the periodontal ligament (PDL) plays a key role. However, the mechanical function of the PDL in orthodontic tooth movement is not well understood as most mechanical models of the PDL to date have ignored the fibrous structure of the PDL. In this study we use finite element (FE) analysis to investigate the strains in the alveolar bone due to occlusal and orthodontic loads when PDL is modelled as a fibrous structure as compared to modelling PDL as a layer of solid material. The results show that the tension-only nature of the fibres essentially suspends the tooth in the tooth socket and their inclusion in FE models makes a significant difference to both the magnitude and distribution of strains produced in the surrounding bone. The results indicate that the PDL fibres have a very important role in load transfer between the teeth and alveolar bone and should be considered in FE studies investigating the biomechanics of orthodontic tooth movement. © 2014 McCormack et al.


McCormack, S. W., Witzel, U., Watson, P. J., Fagan, M. J., & Gröning, F. (2014). The biomechanical function of periodontal ligament fibres in orthodontic tooth movement. PLoS ONE, 9(7), e102387.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 18, 2014
Online Publication Date Jul 18, 2014
Publication Date Jul 18, 2014
Deposit Date Oct 27, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal PLoS ONE
Print ISSN 1932-6203
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 7
Article Number ARTN e102387
Pages e102387
Keywords Teeth, Alveolar bone, Orthodontics, Bone remodelling, Bone resorption, Material properties, Bending, Bone development
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Copy of article first published in: PLoSOne, 2014, v.9, issue 7


Article.pdf (4.1 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2014 McCormack et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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