When a dental implant and the jawbone meet

Dental implants are one of the most common solutions for missing teeth in modern dentistry. Upon placement of the implant (into the bone), a process called osseointegration takes place over several weeks through the interface between the bone and the implant.

All the mechanical and biological communication takes place through this interface, whose mechanical properties are of prime importance for the determination of the future success of the operation. However, until today, little is known about the mechanical properties of the interface.

A multidisciplinary team of Engineers and Clinicians from Beijing Institute of Technology, University of Gothenburg, Tel Aviv University and Technion recently developed a novel numerical model (stochastic finite element) of the bone-implant interface that bridges length scales, from micro to macro, starting at the elementary microstructural unit all the way up to the macroscopic interfacial scale.

This model is designed to predict the evolution over time of the mechanical stiffness of the said interface. This is the first step towards the development of more sophisticated future biologically-informed models that will guide clinicians, engineers, and materials scientists in optimizing the geometry and physico-chemical characteristics of bone-anchored implants with increased chances of success. The results were published in the prestigious journal Acta Biomaterialia.

Jing Xie, Daniel Rittel, Keren Shemtov-Yona, Furqan A Shah, Anders Palmquist. A stochastic micro to macro mechanical model for the evolution of bone-implant interface stiffness. Acta Biomater. (2021). doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2021.06.019.