Journal of biomechanics

Functional cues in the development of osseous tooth support in the pig, Sus scrofa.

PMID 19501361


Alveolar bone supports teeth during chewing through a ligamentous interface with tooth roots. Although tooth loads are presumed to direct the development and adaptation of these tissues, strain distribution in the alveolar bone at different stages of tooth eruption and periodontal development is unknown. This study investigates the biomechanical effects of tooth loading on developing alveolar bone as a tooth erupts into occlusion. Mandibular segments from miniature pigs, Sus scrofa, containing M(1) either erupting or in functional occlusion, were loaded in compression. Simultaneous recordings were made from rosette strain gages affixed to the lingual alveolar bone and the M(2) crypt. Overall, specimens with erupting M(1)s were more deformable than specimens with occluding M(1)s (mean stiffness of 246 vs. 944 MPa, respectively, p=0.004). The major difference in alveolar strain between the two stages was in orientation. The vertically applied compressive loads were more directly reflected in the alveolar bone strains of erupting M(1)s, than those of occluding M(1)s, presumably because of the mediation of a more mature periodontal ligament (PDL) in the latter. The PDL interface between occluding teeth and alveolar bone is likely to stiffen the system, allowing transmission of occlusal loads. Alveolar strains may provide a stimulus for bone growth in the alveolar process and crest.

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