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Inclusion of periodontal ligament fibres in mandibular finite element models leads to an increase in alveolar bone strains

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


Steven W. McCormack

Ulrich Witzel

Michael J. Fagan

Flora Gröning


Stan Gronthos


Alveolar bone remodelling is vital for the success of dental implants and orthodontic treatments. However, the underlying biomechanical mechanisms, in particular the function of the periodontal ligament (PDL) in bone loading and remodelling, are not well understood. The PDL is a soft fibrous connective tissue that joins the tooth root to the alveolar bone and plays a critical role in the transmission of loads from the tooth to the surrounding bone. However, due to its complex structure, small size and location within the tooth socket it is difficult to study in vivo. Finite element analysis (FEA) is an ideal tool with which to investigate the role of the PDL, however inclusion of the PDL in FE models is complex and time consuming, therefore consideration must be given to how it is included. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of including the PDL and its fibrous structure in mandibular finite element models. A high-resolution model of a human molar region was created from micro-computed tomography scans. This is the first time that the fibrous structure of the PDL has been included in a model with realistic tooth and bone geometry. The results show that omission of the PDL creates a more rigid model, reducing the strains observed in the mandibular corpus which are of interest when considering mandibular functional morphology. How the PDL is modelled also affects the strains. The inclusion of PDL fibres alters the strains in the mandibular bone, increasing the strains in the tooth socket compared to PDL modelled without fibres. As strains in the alveolar bone are thought to play a key role in bone remodelling during orthodontic tooth movement, future FE analyses aimed at improving our understanding and management of orthodontic treatment should include the fibrous structure of the PDL.


McCormack, S. W., Witzel, U., Watson, P. J., Fagan, M. J., & Gröning, F. (2017). Inclusion of periodontal ligament fibres in mandibular finite element models leads to an increase in alveolar bone strains. PLoS ONE, 12(11), e0188707.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 10, 2017
Online Publication Date Nov 30, 2017
Publication Date Nov 30, 2017
Deposit Date Jan 16, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal PLOS ONE
Print ISSN 1932-6203
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 11
Article Number e0188707
Pages e0188707
Keywords General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; General Agricultural and Biological Sciences; General Medicine
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Copyright Statement
© 2017 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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