On the FEM modeling of craniofacial changes during rapid maxillary expansion.Med Eng Phys. 2007 Jun; 29(5):566-79.ME
This paper discusses several aspects related to the development of a reliable finite element model to simulate the craniofacial changes during rapid maxillary expansion treatment. The mechanical model concerns the entire human skull (bony structure and sutures) as well as the jackscrew device; the latter transforms the manual openings into orthodontic forces usually applied to the two maxillary halves through the first premolars and first permanent molars, which are the support points of the appliance. A sensitivity analysis of an approximate finite element model is performed in order to investigate the influence of the model size, the influence of the degree of sutural ossification by assigning different mechanical properties to the sutures and the influence of bone relaxation concerning the effects of dentofacial orthopaedics. Moreover, a more accurate model including the aforementioned teeth and their periodontal ligament as solid elastic structures was analysed in order to evaluate the orthodontic effects induced. Results refer to the opening pattern and associated stresses/displacements/strains on the cranium, the maxillae and the periodontal ligament.