Finite element model of load adaptive remodelling induced by orthodontic forces

Jasna Leder Horina, Bert van Rietbergen, Tanja Jurčević Lulić

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Many hypotheses have been formulated to explain orthodontic tooth movement. However, none of them can satisfactorily explain how small static orthodontic forces can induce bone remodelling. Our hypothesis assumes that small orthodontic forces do not lead to bone remodelling response directly, but rather indirectly by offsetting the tooth, leading to changes in bone loading during chewing that far exceed the changes caused by the orthodontic force alone. We developed a finite element model of a tooth with the periodontal ligament and the surrounding bone, and calculated the changes in strain energy density caused by the chewing force alone, the orthodontic force alone, and the combined action of the chewing and orthodontic forces. The results (average strain energy density 0.0005–0.01 kPa) demonstrate that the orthodontic loading alone does not produce strain energy density values in a range that is expected to induce remodelling (0.016–1.6 kPa). However, when the chewing and orthodontic forces are applied together, the highest values for the average strain energy density (0.02–0.99 kPa) as well as large changes in the bone tissue strain energy density (31.19–166.65%) are obtained. We conclude that the proposed hypothesis can indeed explain the observed bone remodelling that agrees with Wolff's law.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-68
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Engineering & Physics
Early online date20 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Alveolar bone
  • Finite element method
  • Orthodontic tooth movement
  • Patient specific model
  • Periodontal ligament
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Tooth Movement Techniques
  • Humans
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Weight-Bearing
  • Bone Remodeling


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