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J Prosthet Dent. 2003 Dec;90(6):539-46.

Finite element analysis to determine implant preload.

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Department of Prosthodontics, University of Texas Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry, San Antonio 78229-3900, USA.



The nature of the forces used to clamp implant components together, and how they are generated and sustained, is lacking in the literature.


This study examined the dynamic nature of developing the preload in an implant complex using finite element analysis.


The implant complex was modeled in accordance with the geometric designs for the Nobel Biocare implant systems. A thread helix design for the abutment screw and implant screw bore was modeled to create the geometric design for these units of the implant systems. Using the software programs HyperWorks and LS3D-Dyna, 2 3-dimensional finite element models of (1) a Branemark System 3.75 x 10-mm titanium Mark III implant, a CeraOne titanium abutment, a Unigrip gold alloy abutment screw, and (2) a Replace Select System 4.30 x 10-mm titanium implant, a Straight Esthetic titanium abutment, and a TorqTite titanium abutment screw were created. Modeling the threads to the machining specifications permitted simulation of screw tightening. The abutment screws were subjected to a tightening torque in increments of 1 Ncm from 0 to 64 Ncm using ABAQUS software. Using these models, the effect of the coefficient of friction on the development of preload amount in the implant complex during and after abutment screw tightening was determined. In the first experiment, the coefficient of friction was set to 0.20 between the titanium bearing surface of the abutments and the implant bearing surfaces, and 0.26 between the gold abutment screw and the titanium implant screw bore. In the second experiment, the coefficient of friction was varied; the titanium implant and titanium abutment bearing surfaces were set to a coefficient of friction of 0.20, whereas the Mark III gold and the Replace Select titanium abutment screws and their respective titanium screw bores in the implants were set to 0.12. The preload amount (N) was determined from the finite element analysis.


The stress distribution pattern clearly demonstrated a transfer of preload force from the screw to the implant during tightening. A preload of 75% of the yield strength of the abutment screw was not established using the recommended tightening torques.


Using finite element analysis, a torque of 32 Ncm applied to the abutment screws in the implant assemblies studied in the presence of a coefficient of friction of 0.26 resulted in a lower than optimum preload for the abutment screws. To reach the desired preload of 75% of the yield strength, using a torque of 32 Ncm applied to the abutment screws in the implant assemblies studied, the coefficient of friction between the implant components should be 0.12.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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