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Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2003 Apr;123(4):367-73.

The transfer of occlusal forces through the maxillary molars: a finite element study.

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Department of Orthodontics, Royal Dental College, University of Aarhus, Denmark.


The morphology of the skeleton is known to reflect functional demand. A change in the intramaxillary position of molars can be expected to influence the transfer of occlusal forces to the facial skeleton. A finite element analysis allows us to simulate the displacement of a molar in relation to the well-defined morphology of the maxilla. Three 3-dimensional unilateral models of a maxilla from a skull with skeletal Class I and neutral molar relationships were produced based on CT-scan data. The maxillary first molar was localized so that the contour of the mesial root continued into the infrazygomatic crest. When the molar was loaded with occlusal forces, the stresses were transferred predominantly through the infrazygomatic crest. This changed when mesial and distal displacements of the molars were simulated. In the model with mesial molar displacement, a larger part of the bite forces were transferred through the anterior part of the maxilla, resulting in the buccal bone being loaded in compression. In the model with distal molar displacement, the posterior part of the maxilla was deformed through compression; this resulted in higher compensatory tensile stresses in the anterior part of the maxilla and at the zygomatic arch. This distribution of the occlusal forces might contribute to the posterior rotation often described as the orthopedic effect of extraoral traction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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