Occlusal forces and mandibular bone strain: is the primate jaw "overdesigned"?
Finite element modelling of the function of the periodontium and surrounding alveolar bone suggests these tissues are subjected to unusually large strains in comparison with the bone of the basal mandibular corpus. These studies, in addition to certain experimental investigations, have led to the suggestion that the strains experienced in the basal mandibular corpus are not functionally important. Under this view, size and shape of the basal corpus are not functionally linked to masticatory forces. Since previous comparative investigations have been premised on the assumption that masticatory strains in the basal corpus are functionally important, the assertion that masticatory stresses are concentrated primarily in the alveolar process undermines the credibility of this body of work. The hypothesis that the biomechanical effects of masticatory forces are localized in the alveolar process can be evaluated by reference to a number of bone strain investigations, as well as through consideration of current understanding of bone biology and behavior. Experimental studies indicate that the effects of occlusal forces during mastication are quite apparent in alveolar bone, although relatively large strains are also observed in regions well-removed from a loaded alveolus. It is also apparent that both alveolar and basal mandibular bone are subject to bending and twisting strains associated not only with occlusal forces, but also with muscular and condylar reaction forces. The result is that strain levels in alveolar vs. basal bone may be roughly similar, in contradiction to some published theoretical models. Based on empirical evidence and theoretical considerations, it is premature to conclude that mandibular corpus size and shape are not functionally linked to the biomechanics of chewing and biting.
Daegling, DJ; Hylander, WL
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